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Status: Proposed
Registry Provider: Verisign
Type: Generic
Category: Education

More information: NTLDStatsLogo.png

.courses is a proposed TLD in ICANN's New gTLD Program. The applicant is OPEN UNIVERSITIES AUSTRALIA PTY LTD.[1]

The application was issued a GAC Early Warning from the representative of Australia and GAC Chair, Heather Dryden. The warning system is noted as a strong recommendation on behalf of national governments to the ICANN Board that a given TLD application should be denied as it stands. Applicants are encouraged to work with objecting GAC members.[2]

The warning states that the applicant is "seeking exclusive access to a common generic string .. that relates to a broad market sector," which Ms. Dryden notes could have unintended consequences and a negative impact on competition.[3]

Application Details

The following is excerpted from the applicant's response to question #18:

"The .courses gTLD will create a new generation gTLD serving the interests of end users by providing an authoritative internet space where information, services and resources of Open Universities Australia Pty Ltd (OUA) will be closely controlled by it. The majority of the anticipated domain name registrations in the .courses gTLD will be used in the promotion and communication of OUA’s open online courses. A subset of domain names has the potential to be created and used for user engagement purposes and to regulate the education sector from a digital perspective, with internet users assured of brand authenticity.

OUA is a not-for-profit company committed to the provision of quality online education. OUA is owned by 7 major public universities in Australia, such as Monash University and University of South Australia, and is the national leader in providing access to quality online higher education for Australian students. Since its establishment in 1993, OUA has helped over 144,000 students, across over 100 countries including Middle East, Singapore, Hong Kong, UK and China, who might otherwise not have gained access to quality education to achieve their educational and career goals. OUA aims to extend its national leadership in providing students flexible online access to quality higher education and enhance professional development through distance education. OUA is committed to providing access to the largest choice of quality online tertiary education options and services with over 1400 study topics and 170 qualifications online, all taught by 20 leading Australian universities and tertiary education providers. OUA recognises that one education system does not fit all and seeks to help students find smarter and flexible ways to learn by providing educational opportunities that are in line with their changing needs. For example, OUA offers a unique model which enables its students to study individual study topics and to commence courses, in most cases, without the need for a previous study via open entry. In this regard, the .courses gTLD will cater to OUA’s commitment to open its online courses to anyone, anytime and anywhere. These objectives will be further complemented by OUA’s separate application for .study to strengthen OUA’s profile as a leading online learning services provider in the education sector.


Given the restricted nature of the .courses gTLD, the projected number of registration is likely to be limited. It is anticipated that around 50 domain names will be registered in the first year. However, over the next few years, the number of registrations is likely to increase to about 1000 domain names as OUA develops and implements new online courses services.

As the new .courses gTLD expands and evolves, OUA may at a later date consider offering personalised domains to its students such as studentname.courses to interact with OUA. OUA expects that this will provide an opportunity for students to develop their digital skills and in the building of their own domain property resulting in students innovating in the use of the internet. In this endeavour, OUA will retain control over these spaces and it will continue to comply with all operational, technical and policy requirements, as well as maintaining consumer trust and the stability of the internet. OUA will keep ICANN reasonably informed of any material developments relating to the .courses gTLD including compliance with the continued operations instrument obligations as set out in Specification 8 of the Registry Agreement.

OUA is a well-recognised education brand in Australia with an extensive trademark and domain name portfolio relating to the courses it offers. OUA’s key domain names are in the .edu.au domain space, which is only available to recognised educational organisations in Australia. OUA’s trademarks are registered in categories, such as Electrical and scientific apparatus (Class 9); Paper goods and printed matter (Class 16) and Education and entertainment (Class 41), which are all relating to the multiple disciplines of study that OUA provides.

OUA is owned by Australia’s most respected universities, each with a significant global reputation as a provider of education, teaching, research and study. On this note, OUA has a longstanding tradition and relationship with the term “courses”. OUA believes that the .courses gTLD is unlikely to cause confusion with either a generic term or any existing TLDs. Although the word “courses” may have several meanings, OUA will use the .courses gTLD only in respect of its studying options and education services. OUA also plans to use the proposed .courses gTLD to bring the whole education sector together in a centric place and to promote the benefits of open online learning to the global stage more effectively."[4]