Application Preview

Application number: 1-1161-52785 for Annco, Inc.

Generated on 11 06 2012


Applicant Information


1. Full legal name

Annco, Inc.

2. Address of the principal place of business

7 Times Square
New York 10036
US

3. Phone number

212 541 3300

4. Fax number

212 541 3379

5. If applicable, website or URL

http:⁄⁄www.loft.com

Primary Contact


6(a). Name

Michael Adams

6(b). Title

Attorney of Record

6(c). Address


6(d). Phone Number

312 701 8713

6(e). Fax Number


6(f). Email Address

[email protected]

Secondary Contact


7(a). Name

Barbara Eisenberg

7(b). Title

Executive Vice President, General Counsel and Secretary

7(c). Address


7(d). Phone Number

212 536 4253

7(e). Fax Number


7(f). Email Address

[email protected]

Proof of Legal Establishment


8(a). Legal form of the Applicant

corporation

8(b). State the specific national or other jursidiction that defines the type of entity identified in 8(a).

Annco, Inc. is a Delaware corporation

8(c). Attach evidence of the applicant's establishment.

Not Available

9(a). If applying company is publicly traded, provide the exchange and symbol.


9(b). If the applying entity is a subsidiary, provide the parent company.

Annco, Inc. is a wholly-owned subsidiary of AnnTaylor, Inc., a Delaware corporation. AnnTaylor, Inc. is a wholly-owned subsidiary of ANN INC., a Delaware corporation (NYSE: ANN)

9(c). If the applying entity is a joint venture, list all joint venture partners.

Not applicable

Applicant Background


11(a). Name(s) and position(s) of all directors

Barbara EisenbergMember of the Board of Directors
Kay KrillMember of the Board of Directors
Michael J. NicholsonMember of the Board of Directors

11(b). Name(s) and position(s) of all officers and partners

Barbara EisenbergExecutive Vice President, General Counsel and Secretary
Kay KrillPresident and Chief Executive Officer
Michael J. NicholsonExecutive Vice President, Chief Financial Officer and Treasurer

11(c). Name(s) and position(s) of all shareholders holding at least 15% of shares


11(d). For an applying entity that does not have directors, officers, partners, or shareholders: Name(s) and position(s) of all individuals having legal or executive responsibility


Applied-for gTLD string


13. Provide the applied-for gTLD string. If an IDN, provide the U-label.

loft

14(a). If an IDN, provide the A-label (beginning with "xn--").


14(b). If an IDN, provide the meaning or restatement of the string in English, that is, a description of the literal meaning of the string in the opinion of the applicant.


14(c). If an IDN, provide the language of the label (in English).


14(c). If an IDN, provide the language of the label (as referenced by ISO-639-1).


14(d). If an IDN, provide the script of the label (in English).


14(d). If an IDN, provide the script of the label (as referenced by ISO 15924).


14(e). If an IDN, list all code points contained in the U-label according to Unicode form.


15(a). If an IDN, Attach IDN Tables for the proposed registry.

Not Available

15(b). Describe the process used for development of the IDN tables submitted, including consultations and sources used.


15(c). List any variant strings to the applied-for gTLD string according to the relevant IDN tables.


16. Describe the applicant's efforts to ensure that there are no known operational or rendering problems concerning the applied-for gTLD string. If such issues are known, describe steps that will be taken to mitigate these issues in software and other applications.

Based on extensive experience in operating a robust e-commerce platform, including operation of the www.loft.com domain name, Applicant is not aware of any rendering, operational, or end-user issues or problems that would impact the applied-for .loft string.  To date, Applicant has not experienced any significant or abnormal rendering, operational, or end-user issues with the www.loft.com domain name.  Like the characters in the applied-for .loft string, the characters in Applicant’s www.loft.com domain name are from the ISO basic Latin alphabet.  In light of the current resolution and rendering success of an identical “loft” string, Applicant does not anticipate any rendering or resolution issues with the .loft string.  

Furthermore, Applicant has consulted with its selected backend provider, Neustar, which has successfully launched a number of new gTLDs over the last decade.  Like Applicant, Neustar does not foresee any rendering or operational problems concerning the .loft string.  In reaching this determination, Neustar analyzed the following data:

•	ICANN’s Security Stability Advisory Committee (SSAC) entitled Alternative TLD Name Systems and Roots: Conflict, Control and Consequences (SAC009);
•	IAB - RFC3696 “Application Techniques for Checking and Transformation of Names”;
•	Known software issues which Neustar has encountered during the last decade launching new gTLDs;
•	Character type and length;
•	ICANN supplemental notes to Question 16; and
•	ICANN’s presentation during its Costa Rica regional meeting on TLD Universal Acceptance.

Finally, in the unlikely event that any rendering or operational issues occur, Applicant will work with Neustar to take all steps necessary to resolve those issues.

17. (OPTIONAL) Provide a representation of the label according to the International Phonetic Alphabet (http://www.langsci.ucl.ac.uk/ipa/).


Mission/Purpose


18(a). Describe the mission/purpose of your proposed gTLD.

18(a) Mission⁄Purpose 

AnnTaylor, Inc. and ANN INC. are the parent companies for Applicant, Annco, Inc. (collectively, “Ann”). Since 1954, Ann has served as a leading specialty retailer of women’s apparel, shoes, and accessories. For nearly 60 years, Ann has enjoyed significant popularity for its fashionable and high-quality merchandise and its position as a trusted personal stylist for women. The Ann mission has been to inspire and connect with women to put forth their best selves every day. This is evident in Ann’s great brands as well as in its commitment to operating its business responsibly and thoughtfully. This commitment means that the Ann client can look great and feel great about the clothes she wears, and it means that as a business, Ann holds itself to high standards. Ann forges strong partnerships with its suppliers so that products are made ethically, and it invests in new programs and innovation to minimize its impact on the environment.

Ann and its core brands, “LOFT” and “ANN TAYLOR,” have achieved worldwide fame for the quality of products offered through Ann’s e-commerce channels and over 900 retail stores. As a direct reflection of its worldwide popularity and quality of product, Ann saw net sales totaling $2.2 billion in 2011, $2.0 billion in 2010, $1.8 billion in 2009, and $2.2 billion in 2008

Recognizing the potential of the .loft gTLD as a trusted namespace and its ability to enhance Ann’s brand and already robust e-commerce platform, Ann has decided to file this application and bring the .loft gTLD to market. To this end, the intended mission and purpose of the .loft gTLD is to serve as a trusted and intuitive namespace for consumers to view LOFT products and information, interact with peers regarding LOFT offerings, and purchase authentic LOFT products at trusted and secured sites.

Ann is still analyzing potential options for the type of second-level domain names that it will use within the .loft gTLD in order to best develop a namespace that will foster an intuitive, trusted, and marketable environment for Internet users and consumers while having access to authorized content and up-to-date brand information. To achieve this goal of a secure and trusted environment, Ann will operate the .loft gTLD as a closed single-registrant registry to ensure that all second-level domain names operating within the gTLD will be controlled by Ann and its affiliates.

18(b). How proposed gTLD will benefit registrants, Internet users, and others

18(b) Benefits

18(b).1 Consumer Benefits and User Experience

The intended mission and purpose of the .loft gTLD is to serve as a trusted and intuitive namespace for consumers and Internet users seeking to purchase authentic, specialty products from Ann and its affiliates, and obtain information regarding the LOFT brand and the Ann companies.

The .loft gTLD will also benefit from the fame and predictability of Ann’s LOFT and related brands that have developed through years of prestigious use in the marketplace. Indeed, unlike most generic gTLDs that ICANN has approved over the last decade, Ann is an established international company with the ability to leverage its existing network of clients and businesses in the retail space to increase the profile of the .loft gTLD. While most registries have primarily been dependent upon ICANN-accredited registrars to market and promote their gTLDs and fund their operations, Ann provides the ability to leverage its large market share, strong reputation and existing relationships with various consumers and businesses in the specialty apparel and accessories industry.

In the end, Ann believes that the proposed .loft gTLD has the potential to offer at least the following benefits to Internet users and consumers:
1) Establish a trusted online marketplace and source of authorized information for the millions of consumers that purchase authentic LOFT products on the Internet;

2) Provide Ann with short and memorable domain names that will facilitate the ease by which consumers can locate products or critical information online;

3) Minimize the social costs and harm to Internet users by ensuring fewer incidents of phishing and malware often associated with typographical errors existing in the top-level domain name space;

4) Minimize the social costs and harm to consumers by giving them access to authorized and authentic products and information via a trusted and reputable namespace in .loft; and

5) Minimize the harm to third party rights holders within the .loft space by implementing all of ICANN’s consensus policies and other Rights Protection Mechanisms (RPMs).

18(b).2 Consumer Protection Mechanisms

As a closed single-registrant registry, Ann will be able to ensure that it, or its affiliates, are the sole source of product information and services within the .loft space. Moreover, based upon Ann’s commitment and established track record in providing a safe ecosystem for consumers and Internet users through its existing e-commerce efforts, Ann intends to provide best in class consumer protection mechanisms that will evolve over time (such as its Security Policies attached to this application in response to Question 30). While these are the initial policies that Ann will adopt for the operation of the .loft gTLD, it recognizes that protecting the safety of consumers in the .loft namespace will require diligence and a continued evolution of the policies, and Ann is committed to continuously monitoring and adapting its policies in order to create the highest level of consumer and user safety within the namespace.

While some of ICANN’s new gTLDs have previously been the subject of claims regarding increased spam and phishing activities, .loft from its launch will be a closed single-registrant registry and trusted source of Ann’s authentic goods and services for consumers. Ann looks to follow the established good business practices of its parent companies—such as the Security Policies attached to this application in response to Question 30—and to work with government agencies to create a marketplace with safeguards designed to minimize fraud and other illegal activity.

18(b).3 User Data

Because every second-level domain name will be registered by Ann or its affiliates, no third party user data will be associated with the TLD, and Ann will have a vested interest in ensuring that accurate and current domain name information is readily available in connection with each .loft second-level domain name. Notwithstanding the above, as a global leader in the women’s retail industry, with operations in many legal jurisdictions and on the Internet, Ann will employ a variety of physical, electronic, contractual, and managerial safeguards, which will be no less restrictive than the precautions currently taken in Ann’s stores and websites.

To further protect its own data, Ann intends to incorporate contractual language in its registrar agreements modeled after language which has been included in the template Registry Agreement and which has been successfully utilized by existing ICANN gTLD registry operators. In addition, Ann shall take reasonable steps to protect its data from loss, misuse, unauthorized disclosure, alteration, or destruction. Ann shall not use or authorize the use of its data in any way that is incompatible with ICANN policies or applicable law.

18(c). Describe operating rules to eliminate or minimize social costs or financial resource costs, various types of consumer vulnerabilities.

18(c) Operating Rules

18(c).1 Rules to Eliminate⁄Minimize Social Costs

Over the past decade, ICANN has approved numerous new gTLDs, which have historically been classified as either generic (.info, .biz, .name) or sponsored (.asia, coop, .travel, .jobs, etc.) gTLDs. It is anticipated that in this current new gTLD application round, many large international corporations will take the opportunity to register generic strings as top-level domains. This is a new approach to the operation of a gTLD, and the business plan relies on three important distinctions between it and the gTLDs that were approved in the 2001 and 2004 rounds of expansion.

First, there are now approximately ten small gTLDs that have fewer than 300,000 registrations and that offer clear models of successful operation; second, at least three experienced technical backend suppliers (i.e., SRS⁄DNS services) are in place; and third, with many new gTLDs, well-understood registry operations will be fully supported by an established and financially sound business operating a gTLD in addition to and as an extension of its primary business.

Against this backdrop, the present .loft gTLD minimizes the risk and uncertainty of prior gTLDs by drawing upon more than a decade of gTLD industry development and by relying upon the established online track record of Ann. Ann believes that the safeguards set forth in the Applicant Guidebook and RPMs identified in Section 18(b) are primary drivers to minimize potential negative social costs. Moreover, Ann intends to operate a closed single-registrant registry, which will ensure that only Ann or its affiliates are entrusted to register second-level domain names. This operating rule to prevent all third party registration will help to establish this trusted online environment for consumers to access authoritative online content directly from Ann or its affiliates, and by default, will minimize social costs. This verified ecosystem also will provide consumers with a single, trusted source for Ann’s goods, services, and information with a substantially lower risk of fraud and⁄or malicious third party conduct.

18(c).2 Other Steps to Minimize Negative Consequences

Ann believes that the proposed operation of the closed .loft gTLD as set forth in this application has minimum known negative consequences or cost implications to consumers. To the contrary, the proposed operation of this registry will likely lead to direct and quantifiable benefits to consumers.

Due to the closed single-registrant nature of the .loft gTLD, there will be no cybersquatting or other malicious behavior in the gTLD, as registration will be limited to Ann and its affiliates. Following the core business ethics Ann has established over its nearly 60 years of operations, including a robust intellectual property program, it will be able to provide real value to consumers, and minimize any potential negative consequences and costs.

Similarly, as the operator of a closed single-registrant registry, Ann does not envision third-party applicants for any second-level domain names (outside of Ann or its affiliates). While inapplicable as a closed single-registrant registry, Ann understands that if instances were to arise in the future where there are multiple third-party second-level domain name applications, the most prudent path forward would be a phased equitable allocation approach modeled after those that ICANN has previously approved in connection with numerous ICANN Registry Service Evaluation Process (“RSEP”) requests, (e.g., RFP, auction, and then first-come, first-serve).

Finally, Ann does not envision any advantageous pricing, introductory discounts or bulk registration discounts because these marketing⁄commercial initiatives are not applicable to the mission and purpose of the closed .loft gTLD.

Community-based Designation


19. Is the application for a community-based TLD?

No

20(a). Provide the name and full description of the community that the applicant is committing to serve.


20(b). Explain the applicant's relationship to the community identified in 20(a).


20(c). Provide a description of the community-based purpose of the applied-for gTLD.


20(d). Explain the relationship between the applied-for gTLD string and the community identified in 20(a).


20(e). Provide a description of the applicant's intended registration policies in support of the community-based purpose of the applied-for gTLD.


20(f). Attach any written endorsements from institutions/groups representative of the community identified in 20(a).

Not Available

Geographic Names


21(a). Is the application for a geographic name?

No

Protection of Geographic Names


22. Describe proposed measures for protection of geographic names at the second and other levels in the applied-for gTLD.

The .loft gTLD will be a closed single-registrant registry and, as such, no second-level domain names—geographic or otherwise—will be assigned to third party end-users. As the sole user of second-level domain names within the .loft gTLD, Ann and its affiliates will strictly comply with all GAC and ICANN requirements and will not register any geographic name set forth in ISO 3166-1 or ISO 3166-2. 

Registry Services


23. Provide name and full description of all the Registry Services to be provided.

23 Registry Services

23.1 Introduction

Applicant has elected to partner with Neustar to provide back-end services for the proposed gTLD. In making this decision, Applicant recognized that Neustar already possesses a production-proven registry system that can be quickly deployed and smoothly operated over its robust, flexible, and scalable world-class infrastructure. The existing registry services will be leveraged for the .loft registry. The following section describes the registry services to be provided.

23.2 Standard Technical and Business Components

Neustar will provide the highest level of service while delivering a secure, stable and comprehensive registry platform. Applicant will use Neustar’s Registry Services platform to deploy the .loft registry, by providing the following Registry Services (none of these services are offered in a manner that is unique to .loft):

• Registry-Registrar Shared Registration Service (SRS);
• Extensible Provisioning Protocol (EPP);
• Domain Name System (DNS);
• WHOIS;
• DNSSEC;
• Data Escrow;
• Dissemination of Zone Files using Dynamic Updates;
• Access to Bulk Zone Files;
• Dynamic WHOIS Updates;
• IPv6 Support; and
• Rights Protection Mechanisms.

SRS

Neustar’s secure and stable SRS is a production-proven, standards-based, highly reliable, and high-performance domain name registration and management system. The SRS includes an EPP interface for receiving data from registrars for the purpose of provisioning and managing domain names and name servers. The response to Question 24 provides specific SRS information.

EPP

The .loft registry will use the Extensible Provisioning Protocol (EPP) for the provisioning of domain names. The EPP implementation will be fully compliant with all RFCs. Registrars will be provided with access via an EPP API and an EPP-based Web GUI. With more than 10 gTLD, ccTLD, and private TLDs implementations, Neustar has extensive experience building EPP-based registries. Additional information on the EPP approach is presented in the response to Question 25.

DNS

Applicant will leverage Neustar’s world-class DNS network of geographically distributed nameserver sites to provide the highest level of DNS service. The service utilizes “Anycast” routing technology, and supports both IPv4 and IPv6. The DNS network is highly proven and currently provides service to over 20 TLDs and thousands of enterprise companies. Additional discussion on the DNS solution is presented in the response to Questions 35.

WHOIS

Neustar’s existing standard WHOIS solution will be used for the .loft gTLD. The service provides support for near real-time dynamic updates. The design and construction is agnostic with regard to data display policy and is flexible enough to accommodate any data model. In addition, a searchable WHOIS service that complies with all ICANN requirements will be provided. The following WHOIS options will be provided:

• Standard WHOIS (Port 43);
• Standard WHOIS (Web); and
• Searchable WHOIS (Web).

DNSSEC

An RFC-compliant DNSSEC implementation will be provided using existing DNSSEC capabilities. Neustar is an experienced provider of DNSSEC services and currently manages signed zones for three large TLDs: .biz, .us, and .co. Registrars are provided with the ability to submit and manage DS records using EPP, or through a web GUI. Additional information on DNSSEC, including the management of security extensions, is found in the response to Question 43.

Data Escrow

Data escrow will be performed in compliance with all ICANN requirements in conjunction with an approved data escrow provider. As discussed in the response to Question 38, data escrow service will:

• Protect against data loss;
• Follow industry best practices;
• Ensure easy, accurate, and timely retrieval and restore capability in the event of a hardware failure; and
• Minimizes the impact of software or business failure.

Dissemination of Zone Files using Dynamic Updates

Dissemination of zone files will be provided through a dynamic, near real-time process. Updates will be performed within the specified performance levels. The proven technology ensures that updates are pushed to all nodes within a few minutes of the changes being received by the SRS. Additional information on the DNS updates may be found in the response to Question 35.

Access to Bulk Zone Files

Applicant will provide third-party access to the bulk zone file in accordance with Specification 4, Section 2 of the Registry Agreement. Credentialing and dissemination of the zone files will be facilitated through the Central Zone Data Access Provider.

Dynamic WHOIS Updates

Updates to records in the WHOIS database will be provided via dynamic, near real-time updates. Guaranteed delivery message oriented middleware is used to ensure each individual WHOIS server is refreshed with dynamic updates. This component ensures that all WHOIS servers are kept current as changes occur in the SRS, while also decoupling WHOIS from the SRS. Additional information on WHOIS updates is presented in response to Question 26.

IPv6 Support

The .loft registry will provide IPv6 support in the following registry services: SRS; WHOIS; and DNS⁄DNSSEC. In addition, the registry supports the provisioning of IPv6 AAAA records. A detailed description on IPv6 is presented in the response to Question 36.

Required Rights Protection Mechanism

As discussed in Question 29, Applicant will provide all ICANN required Rights Mechanisms, including:

• Trademark Claims Service;
• Trademark Post-Delegation Dispute Resolution Procedure (PDDRP);
• Registration Restriction Dispute Resolution Procedure (RRDRP);
• UDRP;
• URS; and
• Sunrise service.

23.3 Unique Services

Applicant will not be offering services that are unique to .loft.

23.4 Security or Stability Concerns

All services offered are standard registry services that have no known security or stability concerns. Neustar has demonstrated a strong track record of security and stability within the industry.

Demonstration of Technical & Operational Capability


24. Shared Registration System (SRS) Performance

24 Shared Registration System (SRS)

24.1 Introduction

Applicant has partnered with Neustar, Inc, an experienced TLD registry operator, for the operation of the .loft Registry. Applicant is confident that the plan in place for the operation of a robust and reliable Shared Registration System (SRS) as currently provided by Neustar will satisfy the criterion established by ICANN.

Neustar built its SRS from the ground up as an EPP based platform and has been operating it reliably and at scale since 2001. The software currently provides registry services to five TLDs (.biz, .us, .tel, .co and .travel) and is used to provide gateway services to the .cn and .tw registries. Neustar’s state of the art registry has a proven track record of being secure, stable, and robust. It manages more than 6 million domains, and has over 300 registrars connected today. The following describes a detailed plan for a robust and reliable SRS that meets all ICANN requirements, including compliance with Specifications 6 and 10.

24.2 The Plan for Operation of a Robust and Reliable SRS

High-level SRS System Description

The SRS to be used for .loft will leverage a production-proven, standards-based, highly reliable and high-performance domain name registration and management system that fully meets or exceeds the requirements as identified in the new gTLD Application Guidebook.

The SRS is the central component of any registry implementation and its quality, reliability and capabilities are essential to the overall stability of the TLD. Neustar has a documented history of deploying SRS implementations with proven and verifiable performance, reliability and availability. The SRS adheres to all industry standards and protocols. By leveraging an existing SRS platform, Applicant is mitigating the significant risks and costs associated with the development of a new system. Highlights of the SRS include:

• State-of-the-art, production proven multi-layer design;
• Ability to rapidly and easily scale from low to high volume as a TLD grows;
• Fully redundant architecture at two sites;
• Support for IDN registrations in compliance with all standards;
• Use by over 300 Registrars; and
• EPP connectivity over IPv6.

Performance being measured using 100% of all production transactions (not sampling).

SRS Systems, Software, Hardware, and Interoperability

The systems and software that the registry operates on are a critical element to providing a high quality of service. If the systems are of poor quality, if they are difficult to maintain and operate, or if the registry personnel are unfamiliar with them, the registry will be prone to outages. Neustar has a decade of experience operating registry infrastructure to extremely high service level requirements. The infrastructure is designed using best of breed systems and software. Much of the application software that performs registry-specific operations was developed by the current engineering team and a result the team is intimately familiar with its operations.

The architecture is highly scalable and provides the same high level of availability and performance as volumes increase. It combines load balancing technology with scalable server technology to provide a cost effective and efficient method for scaling.

The Registry is able to limit the ability of any one registrar from adversely impacting other registrars by consuming too many resources due to excessive EPP transactions. The system uses network layer 2 level packet shaping to limit the number of simultaneous connections registrars can open to the protocol layer.

All interaction with the Registry is recorded in log files. Log files are generated at each layer of the system. These log files record at a minimum:

• The IP address of the client;
• Timestamp;
• Transaction Details; and
• Processing Time.

In addition to logging of each and every transaction with the SRS Neustar maintains audit records, in the database, of all transformational transactions. These audit records allow the Registry, in support of the applicant, to produce a complete history of changes for any domain name.

SRS Design

The SRS incorporates a multi-layer architecture that is designed to mitigate risks and easily scale as volumes increase. The three layers of the SRS are:

• Protocol Layer;
• Business Policy Layer; and
• Database.

Each of the layers is described below.

• Protocol Layer: The first layer is the protocol layer, which includes the EPP interface to registrars. It consists of a high availability farm of load-balanced EPP servers. The servers are designed to be fast processors of transactions. The servers perform basic validations and then feed information to the business policy engines as described below. The protocol layer is horizontally scalable as dictated by volume. The EPP servers authenticate against a series of security controls before granting service, as follows:
o The registrar’s host exchanges keys to initiates a TLS handshake session with the EPP server.
o The registrar’s host must provide credentials to determine proper access levels.
o The registrar’s IP address must be preregistered in the network firewalls and traffic-shapers.
• Business Policy Layer: The Business Policy Layer is the “brain” of the registry system. Within this layer, the policy engine servers perform rules-based processing as defined through configurable attributes. This process takes individual transactions, applies various validation and policy rules, persists data and dispatches notification through the central database in order to publish to various external systems. External systems fed by the Business Policy Layer include backend processes such as dynamic update of DNS, WHOIS and Billing. Similar to the EPP protocol farm, the SRS consists of a farm of application servers within this layer. This design ensures that there is sufficient capacity to process every transaction in a manner that meets or exceeds all service level requirements. Some registries couple the business logic layer directly in the protocol layer or within the database. This architecture limits the ability to scale the registry. Using a decoupled architecture enables the load to be distributed among farms of inexpensive servers that can be scaled up or down as demand changes. The SRS today processes over 30 million EPP transactions daily.
• Database: The database is the third core components of the SRS. The primary function of the SRS database is to provide highly reliable, persistent storage for all registry information required for domain registration services. The database is highly secure, with access limited to transactions from authenticated registrars, trusted application-server processes, and highly restricted access by the registry database administrators. A full description of the database can be found in response to Question 33.

Figure 24-1 attached hereto depicts the overall SRS architecture including network components:

Number of Servers

As depicted in the SRS architecture diagram above, Neustar operates a high availability architecture where at each level of the stack there are no single points of failures. Each of the network level devices runs with dual pairs as do the databases. For the .loft registry, the SRS will operate with 8 protocol servers and 6 policy engine servers. These expand horizontally as volume increases due to additional TLDs, increased load, and through organic growth. In addition to the SRS servers described above, there are multiple backend servers for services such as DNS and WHOIS. These are discussed in detail within those respective response sections.

Description of Interconnectivity with Other Registry Systems

The core SRS service interfaces with other external systems via Neustar’s external systems layer. The services that the SRS interfaces with include:

• WHOIS;
• DNS;
• Billing; and
• Data Warehouse (Reporting and Data Escrow).

Other external interfaces may be deployed to meet the unique needs of a TLD. At this time there are no additional interfaces planned for .loft.

The SRS includes an “external notifier” concept in its business policy engine as a message dispatcher. This design allows time-consuming backend processing to be decoupled from critical online registrar transactions. Using an external notifier solution, the registry can utilize “control levers” that allow it to tune or to disable processes to ensure optimal performance at all times. For example, during the early minutes of a TLD launch, when unusually high volumes of transactions are expected, the registry can elect to suspend processing of one or more back end systems in order to ensure that greater processing power is available to handle the increased load requirements. This proven architecture has been used with numerous TLD launches, some of which have involved the processing of over tens of millions of transactions in the opening hours. The following are the standard three external notifiers used the SRS:

• WHOIS External Notifier: The WHOIS external notifier dispatches a work item for any EPP transaction that may potentially have an impact on WHOIS. It is important to note that, while the WHOIS external notifier feeds the WHOIS system, it intentionally does not have visibility into the actual contents of the WHOIS system. The WHOIS external notifier serves just as a tool to send a signal to the WHOIS system that a change is ready to occur. The WHOIS system possesses the intelligence and data visibility to know exactly what needs to change in WHOIS. See response to Question 26 for greater detail.
• DNS External Notifier: The DNS external notifier dispatches a work item for any EPP transaction that may potentially have an impact on DNS. Like the WHOIS external notifier, the DNS external notifier does not have visibility into the actual contents of the DNS zones. The work items that are generated by the notifier indicate to the dynamic DNS update sub-system that a change occurred that may impact DNS. That DNS system has the ability to decide what actual changes must be propagated out to the DNS constellation. See response to Question 35 for greater detail.
• Billing External Notifier: The billing external notifier is responsible for sending all billable transactions to the downstream financial systems for billing and collection. This external notifier contains the necessary logic to determine what types of transactions are billable. The financial systems use this information to apply appropriate debits and credits based on registrar.

Data Warehouse

The data warehouse is responsible for managing reporting services, including registrar reports, business intelligence dashboards, and the processing of data escrow files. The Reporting Database is used to create both internal and external reports, primarily to support registrar billing and contractual reporting requirement. The data warehouse databases are updated on a daily basis with full copies of the production SRS data.

Frequency of Synchronization between Servers

The external notifiers discussed above perform updates in near real-time, well within the prescribed service level requirements. As transactions from registrars update the core SRS, update notifications are pushed to the external systems such as DNS and WHOIS. These updates are typically live in the external system within 2-3 minutes.

Synchronization Scheme (e.g., hot standby, cold standby)

Neustar operates two hot databases within the data center that is operating in primary mode. These two databases are kept in sync via synchronous replication. Additionally, there are two databases in the secondary data center. These databases are updated real time through asynchronous replication. This model allows for high performance while also ensuring protection of data. See response to Question 33 for greater detail.

Compliance with Specification 6 Section 1.2

The SRS implementation for .loft is fully compliant with Specification 6, including section 1.2. EPP Standards are described and embodied in a number of IETF RFCs, ICANN contracts and practices, and registry-registrar agreements. Extensible Provisioning Protocol or EPP is defined by a core set of RFCs that standardize the interface that make up the registry-registrar model. The SRS interface supports EPP 1.0 as defined in the following RFCs shown in Table 24-1 attached hereto:

Additional information on the EPP implementation and compliance with RFCs can be found in the response to Question 25.

Compliance with Specification 10

Specification 10 of the New TLD Agreement defines the performance specifications of the TLD, including service level requirements related to DNS, RDDS (WHOIS), and EPP. The requirements include both availability and transaction response time measurements. As an experienced registry operator, Neustar has a long and verifiable track record of providing registry services that consistently exceed the performance specifications stipulated in ICANN agreements. This same high level of service will be provided for the .loft Registry. The following section describes Neustar’s experience and its capabilities to meet the requirements in the new agreement.

To properly measure the technical performance and progress of TLDs, Neustar collects data on key essential operating metrics. These measurements are key indicators of the performance and health of the registry. Neustar’s current .biz SLA commitments are among the most stringent in the industry today, and exceed the requirements for new TLDs. Table 24-2 attached hereto compares the current SRS performance levels compared to the requirements for new TLDs, and clearly demonstrates the ability of the SRS to exceed those requirements.

Their ability to commit and meet such high performance standards is a direct result of their philosophy towards operational excellence. See response to Question 31 for a full description of their philosophy for building and managing for performance.

24.3 Resourcing Plans

The development, customization, and on-going support of the SRS are the responsibility of a combination of technical and operational teams, including:

• Development⁄Engineering;
• Database Administration;
• Systems Administration; and
• Network Engineering.

Additionally, if customization or modifications are required, the Product Management and Quality Assurance teams will be involved in the design and testing. Finally, the Network Operations and Information Security play an important role in ensuring the systems involved are operating securely and reliably.

The necessary resources will be pulled from the pool of operational resources described in detail in the response to Question 31. Neustar’s SRS implementation is very mature, and has been in production for over 10 years. As such, very little new development related to the SRS will be required for the implementation of the proposed registry. The following resources are available from those teams:

• Development⁄Engineering – 19 employees;
• Database Administration- 10 employees;
• Systems Administration – 24 employees; and
• Network Engineering – 5 employees.

The resources are more than adequate to support the SRS needs of all the TLDs operated by Neustar, including the .loft registry.

25. Extensible Provisioning Protocol (EPP)

25 Extensible Provisioning Protocol (EPP)

25.1 Introduction

Applicant’s back-end registry operator, Neustar, has over 10 years of experience operating EPP based registries. They deployed one of the first EPP registries in 2001 with the launch of .biz. In 2004, they were the first gTLD to implement EPP 1.0. Over the last ten years Neustar has implemented numerous extensions to meet various unique TLD requirements. Neustar will leverage its extensive experience to ensure Applicant is provided with an unparalleled EPP based registry. The following discussion explains the EPP interface which will be used for the .loft registry. This interface exists within the protocol farm layer as described in Question 24 and is depicted in Figure 25-1 attached hereto.

25.2 EPP Interface

Registrars are provided with two different interfaces for interacting with the registry. Both are EPP based, and both contain all the functionality necessary to provision and manage domain names. The primary mechanism is an EPP interface to connect directly with the registry. This is the interface registrars will use for most of their interactions with the registry.

However, an alternative web GUI (Registry Administration Tool) that can also be used to perform EPP transactions will be provided. The primary use of the Registry Administration Tool is for performing administrative or customer support tasks.

The main features of the EPP implementation are:

• Standards Compliance: The EPP XML interface is compliant to the EPP RFCs. As future EPP RFCs are published or existing RFCs are updated, Neustar makes changes to the implementation keeping in mind of any backward compatibility issues.
• Scalability: The system is deployed keeping in mind that it may be required to grow and shrink the footprint of the Registry system for a particular TLD.
• Fault-tolerance: The EPP servers are deployed in two geographically separate data centers to provide for quick failover capability in case of a major outage in a particular data center. The EPP servers adhere to strict availability requirements defined in the SLAs.
• Configurability: The EPP extensions are built in a way that they can be easily configured to turn on or off for a particular TLD.
• Extensibility: The software is built ground up using object oriented design. This allows for easy extensibility of the software without risking the possibility of the change rippling through the whole application.
• Auditable: The system stores detailed information about EPP transactions from provisioning to DNS and WHOIS publishing. In case of a dispute regarding a name registration, the Registry can provide comprehensive audit information on EPP transactions.
• Security: The system provides IP address based access control, client credential-based authorization test, digital certificate exchange, and connection limiting to the protocol layer.

25.3 Compliance with RFCs and Specifications

The registry-registrar model is described and embodied in a number of IETF RFCs, ICANN contracts and practices, and registry-registrar agreements. As shown in Table 25-1 attached hereto, EPP is defined by the core set of RFCs that standardize the interface that registrars use to provision domains with the SRS. As a core component of the SRS architecture, the implementation is fully compliant with all EPP RFCs.

Neustar ensures compliance with all RFCs through a variety of processes and procedures. Members from the engineering and standards teams actively monitor and participate in the development of RFCs that impact the registry services, including those related to EPP. When new RFCs are introduced or existing ones are updated, the team performs a full compliance review of each system impacted by the change. Furthermore, all code releases include a full regression test that includes specific test cases to verify RFC compliance.

Neustar has a long history of providing exceptional service that exceeds all performance specifications. The SRS and EPP interface have been designed to exceed the EPP specifications defined in Specification 10 of the Registry Agreement and profiled in Table 25-2 attached hereto. Evidence of Neustar’s ability to perform at these levels can be found in the .biz monthly progress reports found on the ICANN website.

EPP Toolkits

Toolkits, under open source licensing, are freely provided to registrars for interfacing with the SRS. Both Java and C++ toolkits will be provided, along with the accompanying documentation. The Registrar Tool Kit (RTK) is a software development kit (SDK) that supports the development of a registrar software system for registering domain names in the registry using EPP. The SDK consists of software and documentation as described below.

The software consists of working Java and C++ EPP common APIs and samples that implement the EPP core functions and EPP extensions used to communicate between the registry and registrar. The RTK illustrates how XML requests (registration events) can be assembled and forwarded to the registry for processing. The software provides the registrar with the basis for a reference implementation that conforms to the EPP registry-registrar protocol. The software component of the SDK also includes XML schema definition files for all Registry EPP objects and EPP object extensions. The RTK also includes a “dummy” server to aid in the testing of EPP clients.

The accompanying documentation describes the EPP software package hierarchy, the object data model, and the defined objects and methods (including calling parameter lists and expected response behavior). New versions of the RTK are made available from time to time to provide support for additional features as they become available and support for other platforms and languages.

25.4 Proprietary EPP Extensions

The .loft registry will not include proprietary EPP extensions. Neustar has implemented various EPP extensions for both internal and external use in other TLD registries. These extensions use the standard EPP extension framework described in RFC 5730. Table 25-3 attached hereto provides a list of extensions developed for other TLDs. Should the .loft registry require an EPP extension at some point in the future, the extension will be implemented in compliance with all RFC specifications including RFC 3735.

The full EPP schema to be used in the .loft registry is attached hereto as the document titled “EPP Schema.”

25.5 Resourcing Plans

The development and support of EPP is largely the responsibility of the Development⁄Engineering and Quality Assurance teams. As an experience registry operator with a fully developed EPP solution, on-going support is largely limited to periodic updates to the standard and the implementation of TLD specific extensions.

The necessary resources will be pulled from the pool of available resources described in detail in the response to Question 31. The following resources are available from those teams:

• Development⁄Engineering – 19 employees; and
• Quality Assurance - 7 employees.

These resources are more than adequate to support any EPP modification needs of the .loft registry.

26. Whois

26 Whois

26.1 Introduction

The .loft gTLD recognizes the importance of an accurate, reliable, and up-to-date WHOIS database to governments, law enforcement, intellectual property holders and the public as a whole and is firmly committed to complying with all of the applicable WHOIS specifications for data objects, bulk access, and lookups as defined in Specifications 4 and 10 to the Registry Agreement. Applicant’s back-end registry services provider, Neustar, has extensive experience providing ICANN and RFC-compliant WHOIS services for each of the TLDs that it operates both as a Registry Operator for gTLDs, ccTLDs and back-end registry services provider. As one of the first “thick” registry operators in the gTLD space, Neustar’s WHOIS service has been designed from the ground up to display as much information as required by a TLD and respond to a very stringent availability and performance requirement.

Some of the key features of the .loft solution include:

• Fully compliant with all relevant RFCs including 3912;
• Production proven, highly flexible, and scalable with a track record of 100% availability over the past 10 years;
• Exceeds current and proposed performance specifications;
• Supports dynamic updates with the capability of doing bulk updates;
• Geographically distributed sites to provide greater stability and performance; and
• In addition, Applicant’s thick-WHOIS solution also provides for additional search capabilities and mechanisms to mitigate potential forms of abuse as discussed below (e.g., IDN, registrant data).

26.2 Software Components

The WHOIS architecture comprises the following components:

• An in-memory database local to each WHOIS node: To provide for the performance needs, the WHOIS data is served from an in-memory database indexed by searchable keys.
• Redundant servers: To provide for redundancy, the WHOIS updates are propagated to a cluster of WHOIS servers that maintain an independent copy of the database.
• Attack resistant: To ensure that the WHOIS system cannot be abused using malicious queries or DOS attacks, the WHOIS server is only allowed to query the local database and rate limits on queries based on IPs and IP ranges can be readily applied.
• Accuracy auditor: To ensure the accuracy of the information served by the WHOIS servers, a daily audit is done between the SRS information and the WHOIS responses for the domain names which are updated during the last 24-hour period. Any discrepancies are resolved proactively.
• Modular design: The WHOIS system allows for filtering and translation of data elements between the SRS and the WHOIS database to allow for customizations.
• Scalable architecture: The WHOIS system is scalable and has a very small footprint. Depending on the query volume, the deployment size can grow and shrink quickly.
• Flexible: It is flexible enough to accommodate thin, thick, or modified thick models and can accommodate any future ICANN policy, such as different information display levels based on user categorization.
• SRS master database: The SRS database is the main persistent store of the Registry information. The Update Agent computes what WHOIS updates need to be pushed out. A publish-subscribe mechanism then takes these incremental updates and pushes to all the WHOIS slaves that answer queries.

26.3 Compliance with RFC and Specifications 4 and 10

Neustar has been running thick-WHOIS Services for over 10+ years in full compliance with RFC 3912 and with Specifications 4 and 10 of the Registry Agreement.RFC 3912 is a simple text based protocol over TCP that describes the interaction between the server and client on port 43. Neustar built a home-grown solution for this service. It processes millions of WHOIS queries per day. Table 26-1 attached hereto describes Neustar’s compliance with Specifications 4 and 10.

Neustar ensures compliance with all RFCs through a variety of processes and procedures. Members from the engineering and standards teams actively monitor and participate in the development of RFCs that impact the registry services, including those related to WHOIS. When new RFCs are introduced or existing ones are updated, the team performs a full compliance review of each system impacted by the change. Furthermore, all code releases include a full regression test that includes specific test cases to verify RFC compliance.

26.4 High-level WHOIS System Description

26.4.1 WHOIS Service (port 43)

The WHOIS service is responsible for handling port 43 queries. Neustar’s WHOIS is optimized for speed using an in-memory database and master-slave architecture between the SRS and WHOIS slaves.

The WHOIS service also has built-in support for IDN. If the domain name being queried is an IDN, the returned results include the language of the domain name, the domain name’s UTF-8 encoded representation along with the Unicode code page.

26.4.2 Web Page for WHOIS queries

In addition to the WHOIS Service on port 43, Neustar provides a web based WHOIS application (www.whois.loft). It is an intuitive and easy to use application for the general public to use. WHOIS web application provides all of the features available in the port 43 WHOIS. This includes full and partial search on:

• Domain names;
• Nameservers;
• Registrant, Technical and Administrative Contacts; and
• Registrars.

It also provides features not available on the port 43 service. These include:

• Redemption Grace Period calculation: Based on the registry’s policy, domains in pendingDelete can be restorable or scheduled for release depending on the date⁄time the domain went into pendingDelete. For these domains, the web based WHOIS displays “Restorable” or “Scheduled for Release” to clearly show this additional status to the user;
• Extensive support for international domain names (IDN);
• Ability to perform WHOIS lookups on the actual Unicode IDN;
• Display of the actual Unicode IDN in addition to the ACE-encoded name;
• A Unicode to Punycode and Punycode to Unicode translator;
• An extensive FAQ; and
• A list of upcoming domain deletions.

26.5 IT and Infrastructure Resources

As described above the WHOIS architecture uses a workflow that decouples the update process from the SRS. This ensures SRS performance is not adversely affected by the load requirements of dynamic updates. It is also decoupled from the WHOIS lookup agent to ensure the WHOIS service is always available and performing well for users. Each of Neustar’s geographically diverse WHOIS sites use:

• Firewalls, to protect this sensitive data;
• Dedicated servers for MQ Series, to ensure guaranteed delivery of WHOIS updates;
• Packetshaper for source IP address-based bandwidth limiting;
• Load balancers to distribute query load; and
• Multiple WHOIS servers for maximizing the performance of WHOIS.

The WHOIS service uses HP BL 460C servers, each with 2 X Quad Core CPU and a 64GB of RAM. The existing infrastructure has 6 servers, but is designed to be easily scaled with additional servers should it be needed. Figure 26-1 attached hereto depicts the different components of the WHOIS architecture.

26.6 Interconnectivity with Other Registry System

As described in Question 24 about the SRS and further in response to Question 31, “Technical Overview,” when an update is made by a registrar that impacts WHOIS data, a trigger is sent to the WHOIS system by the external notifier layer. The update agent processes these updates, transforms the data if necessary and then uses messaging oriented middleware to publish all updates to each WHOIS slave. The local update agent accepts the update and applies it to the local in-memory database. A separate auditor compares the data in WHOIS and the SRS daily and monthly to ensure accuracy of the published data.

26.7 Frequency of Synchronization between Servers

Updates from the SRS, through the external notifiers, to the constellation of independent WHOIS slaves happens in real-time via an asynchronous publish⁄subscribe messaging architecture. The updates are guaranteed to be updated in each slave within the required SLA of 95% ≤ 60 minutes. Please note that Neustar’s current architecture is built towards the stricter SLAs (95% ≤ 15 minutes) of .BIZ. The vast majority of updates tend to happen within 2-3 minutes.

26.8 ICANN Requirement for Two Points: Provision for Searchable WHOIS Capabilities

Neustar will create a new web-based service to address the new search features based on requirements specified in Specification 4 Section 1.8. The application will enable users to search the WHOIS directory using any one or more of the following fields:

• Domain name;
• Registrar ID;
• Contacts and registrant’s name;
• Contact and registrant’s postal address, including all the sub-fields described in EPP (e.g., street, city, state, or province, etc.);
• Name server name and name server IP address; and
• The system will also allow search using non-Latin character sets which are compliant with IDNA specification.

The user will choose one or more search criteria, combine them by Boolean operators (AND, OR, NOT) and provide partial or exact match regular expressions for each of the criterion name-value pairs. The domain names matching the search criteria will be returned to the user. Figure 26-2 attached hereto shows an architectural depiction of the new service.

To mitigate the risk of this powerful search service being abused by unscrupulous data miners, a layer of security will be built around the query engine which will allow the registry to identify rogue activities and then take appropriate measures. Potential abuses include, but are not limited to:

• Data Mining;
• Unauthorized Access;
• Excessive Querying; and
• Denial of Service Attacks.

To mitigate the abuses noted above, Neustar will implement any or all of these mechanisms as appropriate:

• Username-password based authentication;
• Certificate based authentication;
• Data encryption;
• CAPTCHA mechanism to prevent robo invocation of Web query; and
• Fee-based advanced query capabilities for premium customers.

The searchable WHOIS application will adhere to all privacy laws and policies of the .loft registry.
26.9 Resourcing Plans

As with the SRS, the development, customization, and on-going support of the WHOIS service is the responsibility of a combination of technical and operational teams. The primary groups responsible for managing the service include:

• Development⁄Engineering – 19 employees;
• Database Administration – 10 employees;
• Systems Administration – 24 employees; and
• Network Engineering – 5 employees.

Additionally, if customization or modifications are required, the Product Management and Quality Assurance teams will also be involved. Finally, the Network Operations and Information Security play an important role in ensuring the systems involved are operating securely and reliably. The necessary resources will be pulled from the pool of available resources described in detail in the response to Question 31. Neustar’s WHOIS implementation is very mature, and has been in production for over 10 years. As such, very little new development will be required to support the implementation of the .loft registry. The resources are more than adequate to support the WHOIS needs of all the TLDs operated by Neustar, including the .loft registry.

27. Registration Life Cycle

27 Registration Life Cycle

27.1 Introduction

Applicant will follow the lifecycle and business rules found in the majority of gTLDs today. Applicant’s back-end operator, Neustar, has over ten years of experience managing numerous TLDs that utilize standard and unique business rules and lifecycles. This section describes the business rules, registration states, and the overall domain lifecycle that will be used for .loft.

Domain Lifecycle – Description

The registry will use the EPP 1.0 standard for provisioning domain names, contacts and hosts. Each domain record is comprised of three registry object types: domain, contacts, and hosts.

Domains, contacts and hosts may be assigned various EPP defined statuses indicating either a particular state or restriction placed on the object. Some statuses may be applied by the Registrar; other statuses may only be applied by the Registry. Statuses are an integral part of the domain lifecycle and serve the dual purpose of indicating the particular state of the domain and indicating any restrictions placed on the domain. The EPP standard defines 17 statuses, however only 14 of these statuses will be used in the .loft registry per the defined .loft business rules.

The following is a brief description of each of the statuses. Server statuses may only be applied by the Registry, and client statuses may be applied by the Registrar.

• OK: Default status applied by the Registry.
• Inactive: Default status applied by the Registry if the domain has less than 2 nameservers.
• PendingCreate: Status applied by the Registry upon processing a successful Create command, and indicates further action is pending. This status will not be used in the .loft registry.
• PendingTransfer: Status applied by the Registry upon processing a successful Transfer request command, and indicates further action is pending.
• PendingDelete: Status applied by the Registry upon processing a successful Delete command that does not result in the immediate deletion of the domain, and indicates further action is pending.
• PendingRenew: Status applied by the Registry upon processing a successful Renew command that does not result in the immediate renewal of the domain, and indicates further action is pending. This status will not be used in the .loft registry.
• PendingUpdate: Status applied by the Registry if an additional action is expected to complete the update, and indicates further action is pending. This status will not be used in the .loft registry.
• Hold: Removes the domain from the DNS zone.
• UpdateProhibited: Prevents the object from being modified by an Update command.
• TransferProhibited: Prevents the object from being transferred to another Registrar by the Transfer command.
• RenewProhibited: Prevents a domain from being renewed by a Renew command.
• DeleteProhibited: Prevents the object from being deleted by a Delete command.

The lifecycle of a domain begins with registration of the domain. All registrations must follow the EPP standard, as well as the specific business rules described in the response to Question 18 above. Upon registration a domain will either be in an active or inactive state. Domains in an active state are delegated and have their delegation information published to the zone. Inactive domains either have no delegation information or their delegation information in not published in the zone. Following initial registration of a domain, one of five actions may occur during its lifecycle:

• Domain may be updated;
• Domain may be deleted, either within or after the add-grace period;
• Domain may be renewed at anytime during the term;
• Domain may be auto-renewed by the Registry; or
• Domain may be transferred to another registrar.

Each of these actions may result in a change in domain state. This is described in more detail in the following section. Every domain must eventually be renewed, auto-renewed, transferred, or deleted. A registrar may apply EPP statuses described above to prevent specific actions such as updates, renewals, transfers, or deletions.

27.1.2 Registration States

Domain Lifecycle – Registration States

As described above the .loft registry will implement a standard domain lifecycle found in most gTLD registries today. There are five possible domain states:

• Active;
• Inactive;
• Locked;
• Pending Transfer; and
• Pending Delete.

All domains are always in either an Active or Inactive state, and throughout the course of the lifecycle may also be in a Locked, Pending Transfer, and Pending Delete state. Specific conditions such as applied EPP policies and registry business rules will determine whether a domain can be transitioned between states. Additionally, within each state, domains may be subject to various timed events such as grace periods, and notification periods.

Active State

The active state is the normal state of a domain and indicates that delegation data has been provided and the delegation information is published in the zone. A domain in an Active state may also be in the Locked or Pending Transfer states.

Inactive State

The Inactive state indicates that a domain has not been delegated or that the delegation data has not been published to the zone. A domain in an Inactive state may also be in the Locked or Pending Transfer states. By default all domain in the Pending Delete state are also in the Inactive state.

Locked State

The Locked state indicates that certain specified EPP transactions may not be performed to the domain. A domain is considered to be in a Locked state if at least one restriction has been placed on the domain; however up to eight restrictions may be applied simultaneously. Domains in the Locked state will also be in the Active or Inactive, and under certain conditions may also be in the Pending Transfer or Pending Delete states.

Pending Transfer State

The Pending Transfer state indicates a condition in which there has been a request to transfer the domain from one registrar to another. The domain is placed in the Pending Transfer state for a period of time to allow the current (losing) registrar to approve (ack) or reject (nack) the transfer request. Registrars may only nack requests for reasons specified in the Inter-Registrar Transfer Policy.

Pending Delete State

The Pending Delete State occurs when a Delete command has been sent to the Registry after the first 5 days (120 hours) of registration. The Pending Delete period is 35-days during which the first 30-days the name enters the Redemption Grace Period (RGP) and the last 5-days guarantee that the domain will be purged from the Registry Database and available to public pool for registration on a first come, first serve basis.

27.1.3 Typical Registration Lifecycle Activities

Domain Creation Process

The creation (registration) of domain names is the fundamental registry operation. All other operations are designed to support or compliment a domain creation. The following steps occur when a domain is created.

• Contact objects are created in the SRS database. The same contact object may be used for each contact type, or they may all be different. If the contacts already exist in the database this step may be skipped.
• Nameservers are created in the SRS database. Nameservers are not required to complete the registration process; however any domain with less than 2 name servers will not be resolvable.
• The domain is created using the each of the objects created in the previous steps. In addition, the term and any client statuses may be assigned at the time of creation.

The actual number of EPP transactions needed to complete the registration of a domain name can be as few as one and as many as 40. The latter assumes seven distinct contacts and 13 nameservers, with Check and Create commands submitted for each object.

Update Process

Registry objects may be updated (modified) using the EPP Modify operation. The Update transaction updates the attributes of the object.

For example, the Update operation on a domain name will only allow the following attributes to be updated:

• Domain statuses;
• Registrant ID;
• Administrative Contact ID;
• Billing Contact ID;
• Technical Contact ID;
• Nameservers;
• AuthInfo; and
• Additional Registrar provided fields.

The Update operation will not modify the details of the contacts. Rather it may be used to associate a different contact object (using the Contact ID) to the domain name. To update the details of the contact object the Update transaction must be applied to the contact itself. For example, if an existing registrant wished to update the postal address, the Registrar would use the Update command to modify the contact object, and not the domain object.

Renew Process

The term of a domain may be extended using the EPP Renew operation. ICANN policy general establishes the maximum term of a domain name to be 10 years, and Neustar recommends not deviating from this policy. A domain may be renewed⁄extended at any point time, even immediately following the initial registration. The only stipulation is that the overall term of the domain name may not exceed 10 years. If a Renew operation is performed with a term value will extend the domain beyond the 10 year limit, the Registry will reject the transaction entirely.

Transfer Process

The EPP Transfer command is used for several domain transfer related operations:

• Initiate a domain transfer;
• Cancel a domain transfer;
• Approve a domain transfer; and
• Reject a domain transfer.

To transfer a domain from one Registrar to another the following process is followed:

• The gaining (new) Registrar submits a Transfer command, which includes the AuthInfo code of the domain name.
• If the AuthInfo code is valid and the domain is not in a status that does not allow transfers the domain is placed into pendingTransfer status.
• A poll message notifying the losing Registrar of the pending transfer is sent to the Registrar’s message queue.
• The domain remains in pendingTransfer status for up to 120 hours, or until the losing (current) Registrar Acks (approves) or Nack (rejects) the transfer request.
• If the losing Registrar has not Acked or Nacked the transfer request within the 120 hour timeframe, the Registry auto-approves the transfer
• The requesting Registrar may cancel the original request up until the transfer has been completed.

A transfer adds an additional year to the term of the domain. In the event that a transfer will cause the domain to exceed the 10 year maximum term, the Registry will add a partial term up to the 10 year limit. Unlike with the Renew operation, the Registry will not reject a transfer operation.

Deletion Process

A domain may be deleted from the SRS using the EPP Delete operation. The Delete operation will result in either the domain being immediately removed from the database or the domain being placed in pendingDelete status. The outcome is dependent on when the domain is deleted. If the domain is deleted within the first five days (120 hours) of registration, the domain is immediately removed from the database. A deletion at any other time will result in the domain being placed in pendingDelete status and entering the Redemption Grace Period (RGP). Additionally, domains that are deleted within five days (120) hours of any billable (add, renew, transfer) transaction may be deleted for credit.

27.1.4 Applicable Time Elements

The following section explains the time elements that are involved.

Grace Periods

There are six grace periods:

• Add-Delete Grace Period (AGP);
• Renew-Delete Grace Period;
• Transfer-Delete Grace Period;
• Auto-Renew-Delete Grace Period;
• Auto-Renew Grace Period; and
• Redemption Grace Period (RGP).

The first four grace periods listed above are designed to provide the Registrar with the ability to cancel a revenue transaction (add, renew, or transfer) within a certain period of time and receive a credit for the original transaction. The following describes each of these grace periods in detail.

• Add-Delete Grace Period: The APG is associated with the date the Domain was registered. Domains may be deleted for credit during the initial 120 hours of a registration, and the Registrar will receive a billing credit for the original registration. If the domain is deleted during the Add Grace Period, the domain is dropped from the database immediately and a credit is applied to the Registrar’s billing account.
• Renew-Delete Grace Period: The Renew-Delete Grace Period is associated with the date the Domain was renewed. Domains may be deleted for credit during the 120 hours after a renewal. The grace period is intended to allow Registrars to correct domains that were mistakenly renewed. It should be noted that domains that are deleted during the renew grace period will be placed into pendingDelete and will enter the RGP (see below).
• Transfer-Delete Grace Period: The Transfer-Delete Grace Period is associated with the date the Domain was transferred to another Registrar. Domains may be deleted for credit during the 120 hours after a transfer. It should be noted that domains that are deleted during the renew grace period will be placed into pendingDelete and will enter the RGP. A deletion of domain after a transfer is not the method used to correct a transfer mistake. Domains that have been erroneously transferred or hijacked by another party can be transferred back to the original registrar through various means including contacting the Registry.
• Auto-Renew-Delete Grace Period: The Auto-Renew-Delete Grace Period is associated with the date the Domain was auto-renewed. Domains may be deleted for credit during the 120 hours after an auto-renewal. The grace period is intended to allow Registrars to correct domains that were mistakenly auto-renewed. It should be noted that domains that are deleted during the auto-renew delete grace period will be placed into pending Delete and will enter the RGP.
• Auto-Renew Grace Period: The Auto-Renew Grace Period is a special grace period intended to provide registrants with an extra amount of time, beyond the expiration date, to renew their domain name. The grace period lasts for 45 days from the expiration date of the domain name. Registrars are not required to provide registrants with the full 45 days of the period.
• Redemption Grace Period: The RGP is a special grace period that enables Registrars to restore domains that have been inadvertently deleted but are still in pendingDelete status within the Redemption Grace Period. All domains enter the RGP except those deleted during the AGP. The RGP period is 30 days, during which time the domain may be restored using the EPP RenewDomain command as described below. Following the 30day RGP period the domain will remain in pendingDelete status for an additional five days, during which time the domain may NOT be restored. The domain is released from the SRS, at the end of the 5 day non-restore period. A restore fee applies and is detailed in the Billing Section. A renewal fee will be automatically applied for any domain past expiration. Neustar has created a unique restoration process that uses the EPP Renew transaction to restore the domain and fulfill all the reporting obligations required under ICANN policy. The following describes the restoration process.

27.5 State Diagram

Figure 27-1 attached hereto provides a description of the registration lifecycle.

The different states of the lifecycle are active, inactive, locked, pending transfer, and pending delete. Please refer to section 27.1.1 for detail description of each of these states. The lines between the states represent triggers that transition a domain from one state to another. The details of each trigger are described below:

• Create: Registry receives a create domain EPP command.
• WithNS: The domain has met the minimum number of nameservers required by registry policy in order to be published in the DNS zone.
• WithOutNS: The domain has not met the minimum number of nameservers required by registry policy. The domain will not be in the DNS zone.
• Remove Nameservers: Domainʹs nameserver(s) is removed as part of an update domain EPP command. The total nameserver is below the minimum number of nameservers required by registry policy in order to be published in the DNS zone.
• Add Nameservers: Nameserver(s) has been added to domain as part of an update domain EPP command. The total number of nameservers has met the minimum number of nameservers required by registry policy in order to be published in the DNS zone.
• Delete: Registry receives a delete domain EPP command.
• DeleteAfterGrace: Domain deletion does not fall within the add grace period.
• DeleteWithinAddGrace: Domain deletion falls within add grace period.
• Restore: Domain is restored. Domain goes back to its original state prior to the delete command.
• Transfer: Transfer request EPP command is received.
• Transfer Approve⁄Cancel⁄Reject: Transfer requested is approved or cancel or rejected.
• TransferProhibited: The domain is in clientTransferProhibited and⁄or serverTranferProhibited status. This will cause the transfer request to fail. The domain goes back to its original state.
• DeleteProhibited: The domain is in clientDeleteProhibited and⁄or serverDeleteProhibited status. This will cause the delete command to fail. The domain goes back to its original state.

Note that the locked state is not represented as a distinct state on the diagram as a domain may be in a locked state in combination with any of the other states: inactive, active, pending transfer, or pending delete.

27.6 EPP RFC Consistency

As described above, the domain lifecycle is determined by ICANN policy and the EPP RFCs. Neustar has been operating ICANN TLDs for the past 10 years consistent and compliant with all the ICANN policies and related EPP RFCs.

27.7 Resources

The registration lifecycle and associated business rules are largely determined by policy and business requirements; as such the Product Management and Policy teams will play a critical role in working Applicant to determine the precise rules that meet the requirements of the TLD. Implementation of the lifecycle rules will be the responsibility of Development⁄Engineering team, with testing performed by the Quality Assurance team. Neustar’s SRS implementation is very flexible and configurable, and in many case development is not required to support business rule changes.
The .loft registry will be using standard lifecycle rules, and as such no customization is anticipated. However should modifications be required in the future, the necessary resources will be pulled from the pool of available resources described in detail in the response to Question 31. The following resources are available from those teams:

• Development⁄Engineering – 19 employees; and
• Registry Product Management – 4 employees.

These resources are more than adequate to support the development needs of all the TLDs operated by Neustar, including the .loft registry.

28. Abuse Prevention and Mitigation

28 Abuse Prevention and Mitigation

28.1 Introduction

By its very nature of being a closed single-registrant registry and one intended to benefit Internet users by ensuring increased trust, convenience, and confidence through the elimination of user confusion and brand authenticity, the .loft gTLD is already a space designed to prevent abuse. As stated in response to Question 18, it is intended that the .loft gTLD will only have a limited number of domain names registered to Applicant and its affiliates, and it will not be available to the general public. Strict rules will be in place on the use that these entities may make of the domain names and they will have to all live up to the highest of corporate standards that are in place with respect to corporate domain name registrations in general. All domain name registrations shall be subject to immediate take down in the event that those corporate standards are violated.

Notwithstanding the above, Applicant’s negotiated arrangement with Neustar ensures that it will meet all required ICANN procedures —even for open registries. Indeed, Applicant will have at its disposal the extensive policies, resources, personnel, and expertise in place to combat any abusive DNS practices even for open registrant registries. Neustar is at the forefront of the prevention of such as abusive practices and is one of the few operators of domain name registries to have actually developed and implemented an active “domain takedown” policy. In the end, while Applicant notes that many of the below policies are unnecessary—and indeed largely inapplicable—to its closed single-registrant registry, Applicant nonetheless considers it important to ensure that it meets all ICANN requirements regardless of the current structure of the .loft gTLD.

Abuse Prevention Mechanisms

Strong abuse prevention of a new gTLD is an important benefit to the Internet community. Applicant and its registry operator and back-end registry services provider, Neustar, agree that a registry must not only aim for the highest standards of technical and operational competence, but also needs to act as a steward of the space on behalf of the Internet community and ICANN in promoting the public interest. Neustar brings extensive experience establishing and implementing registration policies. This experience will be leveraged to help .loft combat abusive and malicious domain activity within the new gTLD space.

One of those public interest functions for a responsible domain name registry includes working towards the eradication of abusive domain name registrations, including, but not limited to, those resulting from:

• Illegal or fraudulent actions;
• Spam;
• Phishing;
• Pharming ;
• Distribution of malware;
• Fast flux hosting;
• Botnets;
• Distribution of child pornography; and
• Online sale or distribution of illegal pharmaceuticals.

More specifically, although traditionally botnets have used Internet Relay Chat (IRC) servers to control registry and the compromised PCs, or bots, for DDoS attacks and the theft of personal information, an increasingly popular technique, known as fast-flux DNS, allows botnets to use a multitude of servers to hide a key host or to create a highly-available control network. This ability to shift the attacker’s infrastructure over a multitude of servers in various countries creates an obstacle for law enforcement and security researchers to mitigate the effects of these botnets. But a point of weakness in this scheme is its dependence on DNS for its translation services. By taking an active role in researching and monitoring these sorts of botnets, Applicant’s partner, Neustar, has developed the ability to efficiently work with various law enforcement and security communities to begin a new phase of mitigation of these types of threats.

Policies and Procedures to Minimize Abusive Registrations

A registry must have the policies, resources, personnel, and expertise in place to combat such abusive DNS practices. As the .loft registry provider, Neustar is at the forefront of the prevention of such abusive practices and is one of the few registry operators to have actually developed and implemented an active “domain takedown” policy. A strong program is essential given that registrants have a reasonable expectation that they are in control of the data associated with their domains, especially its presence in the DNS zone. Because domain names are sometimes used as a mechanism to enable various illegitimate activities on the Internet often the best preventative measure to thwart these attacks is to remove the names completely from the DNS before they can impart harm, not only to the domain name registrant, but also to millions of unsuspecting Internet users.

Removing the domain name from the zone has the effect of shutting down all activity associated with the domain name, including the use of all websites and e-mail. The use of this technique should not be entered into lightly. Neustar has an extensive, defined, and documented process for taking the necessary action of removing a domain from the zone when its presence in the zone poses a threat to the security and stability of the infrastructure of the Internet or the registry.

Abuse Point of Contact

As required by the Registry Agreement, a single abuse point of contact responsible for addressing inquiries from law enforcement and the public related to malicious and abusive conduct will be established and published. Such information will also be provided to ICANN prior to the delegation of any domain names in the TLD. This information shall consist of, at a minimum, a valid e-mail address dedicated solely to the handling of malicious conduct complaints, and a telephone number and mailing address for the primary contact. This information will be kept accurate and up to date and will be provided to ICANN if and when changes are made. In addition, with respect to inquiries from ICANN-Accredited registrars, Applicant’s registry services provider, Neustar, shall have an additional point of contact, as it does today, handling requests by registrars related to abusive domain name practices.

28.2 Policies Regarding Abuse Complaints

One of the key policies each new gTLD registry will need to have is an Acceptable Use Policy that clearly delineates the types of activities that constitute “abuse” and the repercussions associated with an abusive domain name registration. In addition, the policy will be incorporated into the applicable Registry-Registrar Agreement and reserve the right for the registry to take the appropriate actions based on the type of abuse. This will include locking down the domain name preventing any changes to the contact and nameserver information associated with the domain name, placing the domain name “on hold” rendering the domain name non-resolvable, transferring to the domain name to another registrar, and⁄or in cases in which the domain name is associated with an existing law enforcement investigation, substituting name servers to collect information about the DNS queries to assist the investigation.

If it becomes applicable, Applicant will adopt an Acceptable Use Policy that clearly defines the types of activities that will not be permitted in the gTLD and reserves the right of the Applicant to lock, cancel, transfer or otherwise suspend or take down domain names violating the Acceptable Use Policy and allow the registry where and when appropriate to share information with law enforcement. Each ICANN-Accredited Registrar must agree to pass through the Acceptable Use Policy to its Resellers (if applicable) and ultimately to the TLD registrants. Below is the registry’s initial Acceptable Use Policy that Applicant will use in connection with the .loft gTLD.

.loft Acceptable Use Policy

This Acceptable Use Policy gives the Registry the ability to quickly lock, cancel, transfer or take ownership of any .loft domain name, either temporarily or permanently, if the domain name is being used in a manner that appears to threaten the stability, integrity or security of the Registry, or any of its registrar partners – and⁄or that may put the safety and security of any registrant or user at risk. The process also allows the Registry to take preventive measures to avoid any such criminal or security threats.
The Acceptable Use Policy may be triggered through a variety of channels, including, among other things, private complaint, public alert, government or enforcement agency outreach, and the on-going monitoring by the Registry or its partners. In all cases, the Registry or its designees will alert Registry’s registrar partners about any identified threats, and will work closely with them to bring offending sites into compliance. The following are some (but not all) activities that may be subject to rapid domain compliance:

• Phishing: the attempt to acquire personally identifiable information by masquerading as a website other than .loft.
• Pharming: the redirection of Internet users to websites other than those the user intends to visit, usually through unauthorized changes to the Hosts file on a victim’s computer or DNS records in DNS servers.
• Dissemination of Malware: the intentional creation and distribution of ʺmaliciousʺ software designed to infiltrate a computer system without the owner’s consent, including, without limitation, computer viruses, worms, key loggers, and Trojans.
• Fast Flux Hosting: a technique used to shelter Phishing, Pharming and Malware sites and networks from detection and to frustrate methods employed to defend against such practices, whereby the IP address associated with fraudulent websites are changed rapidly so as to make the true location of the sites difficult to find.
• Botnetting: the development and use of a command, agent, motor, service, or software which is implemented: (1) to remotely control the computer or computer system of an Internet user without their knowledge or consent, (2) to generate direct denial of service (DDOS) attacks.
• Malicious Hacking: the attempt to gain unauthorized access (or exceed the level of authorized access) to a computer, information system, user account or profile, database, or security system.
• Child Pornography: the storage, publication, display and⁄or dissemination of pornographic materials depicting individuals under the age of majority in the relevant jurisdiction.

The Registry reserves the right, in its sole discretion, to take any administrative and operational actions necessary, including the use of computer forensics and information security technological services, among other things, in order to implement the Acceptable Use Policy. In addition, the Registry reserves the right to deny, cancel or transfer any registration or transaction, or place any domain name(s) on registry lock, hold or similar status, that it deems necessary, in its discretion; (1) to protect the integrity and stability of the registry; (2) to comply with any applicable laws, government rules or requirements, requests of law enforcement, or any dispute resolution process; (3) to avoid any liability, civil or criminal, on the part of Registry as well as its affiliates, subsidiaries, officers, directors, and employees; (4) per the terms of the registration agreement or (5) to correct mistakes made by the Registry or any Registrar in connection with a domain name registration. Registry also reserves the right to place upon registry lock, hold or similar status a domain name during resolution of a dispute.

Taking Action Against Abusive and⁄or Malicious Activity

If it becomes applicable, Applicant is committed to ensuring that any domain names associated with abuse or malicious conduct in violation of the Acceptable Use Policy are dealt with in a timely and decisive manner. These include taking action against those domain names that are being used to threaten the stability and security of the TLD, or is part of a real-time investigation by law enforcement.

Once a complaint is received from a trusted source, third-party, or detected by the Registry, the Registry will use commercially reasonable efforts to verify the information in the complaint. If that information can be verified to the best of the ability of the Registry, the sponsoring registrar will be notified and be given 12 hours to investigate the activity and either take down the domain name by placing the domain name on hold or by deleting the domain name in its entirety or providing a compelling argument to the Registry to keep the name in the zone. If the registrar has not taken the requested action after the 12-hour period (i.e., is unresponsive to the request or refuses to take action), the Registry will place the domain on “ServerHold.” Although this action removes the domain name from the TLD zone, the domain name record still appears in the TLD WHOIS database so that the name and entities can be investigated by law enforcement should they desire to get involved.

Coordination with Law Enforcement

With the assistance of Neustar as its back-end registry services provider, Applicant can meet its obligations under Section 2.8 of the Registry Agreement where required to take reasonable steps to investigate and respond to reports from law enforcement and governmental and quasi-governmental agencies of illegal conduct in connection with the use of its TLD. The Registry will respond to legitimate law enforcement inquiries within one business day from receiving the request. Such response shall include, at a minimum, an acknowledgement of receipt of the request, Questions or comments concerning the request, and an outline of the next steps to be taken by Applicant for rapid resolution of the request.

In the event such request involves any of the activities which can be validated by the Registry and involves the type of activity set forth in the Acceptable Use Policy, the sponsoring registrar is then given 12 hours to investigate the activity further and either take down the domain name by placing the domain name on hold or by deleting the domain name in its entirety or providing a compelling argument to the registry to keep the name in the zone. If the registrar has not taken the requested action after the 12-hour period (i.e., is unresponsive to the request or refuses to take action), the Registry will place the domain on “serverHold.”

28.4 ICANN Requirement for Two Points: Measures to Promote WHOIS Accuracy

As the .loft gTLD will only be available to Applicant and its affiliates, the only data in the WHOIS database for these initial registrations will be that of Applicant and its affiliated entities, which will be accurate by its very nature. There will be little or no personal information in that database and the data will be that of the businesses themselves. Contact information for Applicant and its affiliates is already widely known and there is no incentive, unlike in other gTLDs, for the provision of false or inaccurate WHOIS data.

Notwithstanding the above, Applicant acknowledges that ICANN has developed a number of mechanisms over the past decade that are intended to address the issue of inaccurate WHOIS information. Such measures alone have not proven to be sufficient and, if it becomes necessary, Applicant will offer a mechanism whereby third parties can submit complaints directly to the Applicant (as opposed to ICANN or the sponsoring Registrar) about inaccurate or incomplete WHOIS data. Such information shall be forwarded to the sponsoring Registrar, who shall be required to address those complaints with their registrants. Thirty days after forwarding the complaint to the registrar, Applicant will examine the current WHOIS data for names that were alleged to be inaccurate to determine if the information was corrected, the domain name was deleted, or there was some other disposition. If the Registrar has failed to take any action, or it is clear that the Registrant was either unwilling or unable to correct the inaccuracies, Applicant reserves the right to suspend the applicable domain name(s) until such time as the Registrant is able to cure the deficiencies.

In addition, Applicant shall on its own initiative, no less than twice per year, perform a manual review of a random sampling of .loft domain names to test the accuracy of the WHOIS information. Although this will not include verifying the actual information in the WHOIS record, Applicant will be examining the WHOIS data for prima facie evidence of inaccuracies. In the event that such evidence exists, it shall be forwarded to the sponsoring Registrar, who shall be required to address those complaints with their registrants. Thirty days after forwarding the complaint to the registrar, the Applicant will examine the current WHOIS data for names that were alleged to be inaccurate to determine if the information was corrected, the domain name was deleted, or there was some other disposition. If the Registrar has failed to take any action, or it is clear that the Registrant was either unwilling or unable to correct the inaccuracies, Applicant reserves the right to suspend the applicable domain name(s) until such time as the Registrant is able to cure the deficiencies.

28.4.1 Authentication of Registrant Information

Applicant will only allow domain name registrations from its own corporate entity and from other affiliated entities which it has authenticated. All information will be verified by Applicant as complete and accurate at the time of registration.

28.4.2 Monitoring of Registration Data

As a restricted gTLD, initially, Applicant will ensure that all registration data is kept accurate, reliable and up-to-date.

28.5 Resourcing Plans

Responsibility for abuse mitigation rests with a variety of functional groups. The Abuse Monitoring team is primarily responsible for providing analysis and conducting investigations of reports of abuse. The customer service team also plays an important role in assisting with the investigations, responded to customers, and notifying registrars of abusive domains. Finally, the Policy⁄Legal team is responsible for developing the relevant policies and procedures.

The necessary resources will be pulled from the pool of available resources described in detail in the response to Question 31. The following resources are available from those teams:

• Customer Support – 12 employees; and
• Policy⁄Legal – 2 employees.

The resources are more than adequate to support the abuse mitigation procedures of the .loft registry.

29. Rights Protection Mechanisms

29. Rights Protection Mechanisms

29.1 Introduction and ICANN Requirement for Two Points

Applicant is firmly committed to the protection of Intellectual Property rights and to implementing the mandatory rights protection mechanisms contained in the Applicant Guidebook and detailed in Specification 7 of the Registry Agreement. By its very nature of being a closed single-registrant registry to Applicant and its affiliated entities, the need to for extensive rights protection mechanisms above and beyond those set forth in the Applicant Guidebook is minimal.
Nevertheless, Applicant recognizes the importance of rights protection mechanisms with respect to the new gTLD process, and a key motivator for Applicant’s selection of Neustar as its registry services provider is Neustar’s experience in successfully launching a number of TLDs with diverse rights protection mechanisms, including many the ones required in the Applicant Guidebook. Again, while the very nature of the closed .loft gTLD makes many of the following mechanisms inapplicable, Applicant nonetheless desires to have in place, if necessary, all ICANN-required protection systems. Applicant will therefore implement the following rights protection mechanisms in accordance with the Applicant Guidebook as further described below:

• Trademark Clearinghouse: a one-stop shop so that trademark holders can protect their trademarks with a single registration.
• Sunrise and Trademark Claims processes for the TLD.
• Implementation of the Uniform Dispute Resolution Policy to address domain names that have been registered and used in bad faith in the TLD.
• Uniform Rapid Suspension: A quicker, more efficient and cheaper alternative to the Uniform Dispute Resolution Policy to deal with clear cut cases of cybersquatting.
• Implementation of a Thick WHOIS making it easier for rights holders to identify and locate infringing parties.

Further, as discussed in more detail below, Applicant, through its registry services provider, Neustar, will be able to provide additional measures specific to rights protection, such as abusive use policies, takedown procedures, and authentication procedures that meet ICANN’s requirements for two points for Question 29.

Trademark Clearinghouse Including Sunrise and Trademark Claims

The first mandatory rights protection mechanism (“RPM”) required to be implemented by each new gTLD Registry is support for, and interaction with, the trademark clearinghouse. The trademark clearinghouse is intended to serve as a central repository for information to be authenticated, stored and disseminated pertaining to the rights of trademark holders. The data maintained in the clearinghouse will support and facilitate other RPMs, including the mandatory Sunrise Period and Trademark Claims service. Although many of the details of how the trademark clearinghouse will interact with each registry operator and registrars, Applicant is actively monitoring the developments of the Implementation Assistance Group (“IAG”) designed to assist ICANN staff in firming up the rules and procedures associated with the policies and technical requirements for the trademark clearinghouse. In addition, Applicant’s back-end registry services provider, Neustar, is actively participating in the IAG to ensure that the protections afforded by the clearinghouse and associated RPMs are feasible and implementable.

Utilizing the trademark clearinghouse, all operators of new gTLDs must offer: (i) a sunrise registration service for at least 30 days during the pre-launch phase giving eligible trademark owners an early opportunity to register second-level domains in new gTLDs; and (ii) a trademark claims service for at least the first 60 days that second-level registrations are open. The trademark claim service is intended to provide clear noticeʺ to a potential registrant of the rights of a trademark owner whose trademark is registered in the clearinghouse.

Applicant’s registry service provider, Neustar, has already implemented Sunrise and⁄or Trademark Claims programs for numerous TLDs including .biz, .us, .travel, .tel and .co and will implement the both of these services on behalf of Applicant.

Neustar’s Experience in Implementing Sunrise and Trademark Claims Processes

In early 2002, Neustar became the first registry operator to launch a successful authenticated Sunrise process. This process permitted qualified trademark owners to pre-register their trademarks as domain names in the .us TLD space prior to the opening of the space to the general public. Unlike any other “Sunrise” plans implemented (or proposed before that time), Neustar validated the authenticity of Trademark applications and registrations with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO).
Subsequently, as the back-end registry operator for the .tel gTLD and the .co ccTLD, Neustar launched validated Sunrise programs employing processes. These programs are very similar to those that are to be employed by the Trademark Clearinghouse for new gTLDs.

Below is a high level overview of the implementation of the .co Sunrise period that demonstrates Neustar’s experience and ability to provide a Sunrise service and an overview of Neustar’s experience in implementing a Trademark Claims program to trademark owners for the launch of .BIZ. Neustar’s experience in each of these rights protection mechanisms will enable it to seamlessly provide these services on behalf of .loft as required by ICANN.

Sunrise and .co

The Sunrise process for .co was divided into two sub-phases:

• Local Sunrise giving holders of eligible trademarks that have obtained registered status from the Colombian trademark office the opportunity apply for the .co domain names corresponding with their marks; and
• Global Sunrise program giving holders of eligible registered trademarks of national effect, that have obtained a registered status in any country of the world the opportunity apply for the .co domain names corresponding with their marks for a period of time before registration is open to the public at large.

Like the new gTLD process set forth in the Applicant Guidebook, trademark owners had to have their rights validated by a Clearinghouse provider prior to the registration being accepted by the Registry. The Clearinghouse used a defined process for checking the eligibility of the legal rights claimed as the basis of each Sunrise application using official national trademark databases and submitted documentary evidence.

Applicants and⁄or their designated agents had the option of interacting directly with the Clearinghouse to ensure their applications were accurate and complete prior to submitting them to the Registry pursuant to an optional “Pre-validation Process.” Whether or not an applicant was “pre-validated,” the applicant had to submit its corresponding domain name application through an accredited registrar. When the Applicant was pre-validated through the Clearinghouse, each was given an associated approval number that it had to supply the registry. If they were not pre-validated, applicants were required to submit the required trademark information through their registrar to the Registry.

At the registry level, Neustar subsequently either delivered the:

• Approval number and domain name registration information to the Clearinghouse; or
• When there was no approval number, trademark information and the domain name registration information was provided to the Clearinghouse through EPP (as is currently required under the Applicant Guidebook).

Information was then used by the Clearinghouse as either further validation of those pre-validated applications, or initial validation of those that did not go through pre-validation. If the applicant was validated and their trademark matched the domain name applied-for, the Clearinghouse communicated that fact to the Registry via EPP.

When there was only one validated sunrise application, the application proceeded to registration when the .co launched. If there were multiple validated applications (recognizing that there could be multiple trademark owners sharing the same trademark), those were included in the .co Sunrise auction process. Neustar tracked all of the information it received and the status of each application and posted that status on a secure Website to enable trademark owners to view the status of its Sunrise application.

Although the exact process for the Sunrise program and its interaction between the trademark owner, Registry, Registrar, and IP Clearinghouse is not completely defined in the Applicant Guidebook and is dependent on the current RFI issued by ICANN in its selection of a Trademark Clearinghouse provider, Neustar’s expertise in launching multiple Sunrise processes and its established software will implement a smooth and compliant Sunrise process for the new gTLDs.

Trademark Claims Service Experience

With Neustar’s biz TLD launched in 2001, Neustar became the first TLD with a Trademark Claims service. Neustar developed the Trademark Claim Service by enabling companies to stake claims to domain names prior to the commencement of live .biz domain registrations.

During the Trademark Claim process, Neustar received over 80,000 Trademark Claims from entities around the world. Recognizing that multiple intellectual property owners could have trademark rights in a particular mark, multiple Trademark Claims for the same string were accepted. All applications were logged into a Trademark Claims database managed by Neustar.

The Trademark Claimant was required to provide various information about their trademark rights, including the:

• Particular trademark or service mark relied on for the trademark Claim;
• Date a trademark application on the mark was filed, if any, on the string of the domain name;
• Country where the mark was filed, if applicable
• Registration date, if applicable;
• Class or classes of goods and services for which the trademark or service mark was registered; and
• Name of a contact person with whom to discuss the claimed trademark rights.

Once all Trademark Claims and domain name applications were collected, Neustar then compared the claims contained within the Trademark Claims database with its database of collected domain name applications (DNAs). In the event of a match between a Trademark Claim and a domain name application, an e-mail message was sent to the domain name applicant notifying the applicant of the existing Trademark Claim. The e-mail also stressed that if the applicant chose to continue the application process and was ultimately selected as the registrant, the applicant would be subject to Neustar’s dispute proceedings if challenged by the Trademark Claimant for that particular domain name.

The domain name applicant had the option to proceed with the application or cancel the application. Proceeding on an application meant that the applicant wanted to go forward and have the application proceed to registration despite having been notified of an existing Trademark Claim. By choosing to “cancel,” the applicant made a decision in light of an existing Trademark Claim notification to not proceed.

If the applicant did not respond to the e-mail notification from Neustar, or elected to cancel the application, the application was not processed. This resulted in making the applicant ineligible to register the actual domain name. I f the applicant affirmatively elected to continue the application process after being notified of the claimant’s (or claimants’) alleged trademark rights to the desired domain name, Neustar processed the application.

This process is very similar to the one ultimately adopted by ICANN and incorporated in the latest version of the Applicant Guidebook. Although the collection of Trademark Claims for new gTLDs will be by the Trademark Clearinghouse, many of the aspects of Neustar’s Trademark Claims process in 2001 are similar to those in the Applicant Guidebook. This makes Neustar uniquely qualified to implement the new gTLD Trademark Claims process.

Uniform Dispute Resolution Policy (UDRP) and Uniform Rapid Suspension (URS)

UDRP

Prior to joining Neustar, Mr. Jeff Neuman was a key contributor to the development of the Uniform Dispute Resolution Policy (“UDRP”) in 1998. This became the first “Consensus Policy” of ICANN and has been required to be implemented by all domain name registries since that time. The UDRP is intended as an alternative dispute resolution process to transfer domain names from those that have registered and used domain names in bad faith. Although there is not much of an active role that the domain name registry plays in the implementation of the UDRP, Neustar has closely monitored UDRP decisions that have involved the TLDs for which it supports and ensures that the decisions are implemented by the registrars supporting its TLDs. When alerted by trademark owners of failures to implement UDRP decisions by its registrars, Neustar either proactively implements the decisions itself or reminds the offending registrar of its obligations to implement the decision.

URS

In response to complaints by trademark owners that the UDRP was too cost prohibitive and slow, and the fact that more than 70 percent of UDRP cases were “clear cut” cases of cybersquatting, ICANN adopted the IRT’s recommendation that all new gTLD registries be required, pursuant to their contracts with ICANN, to take part in a Uniform Rapid Suspension System (“URS”). The purpose of the URS is to provide a more cost effective and timely mechanism for brand owners than the UDRP to protect their trademarks and to promote consumer protection on the Internet.

The URS is not meant to address Questionable cases of alleged infringement (e.g., use of terms in a generic sense) or for anti-competitive purposes or denial of free speech, but rather for those cases in which there is no genuine contestable issue as to the infringement and abuse that is taking place.

Unlike the UDRP which requires little involvement of gTLD registries, the URS envisages much more of an active role at the registry-level. For example, rather than requiring the registrar to lock down a domain name subject to a UDRP dispute, it is the registry under the URS that must lock the domain within 24hours of receipt of the complaint from the URS Provider to restrict all changes to the registration data, including transfer and deletion of the domain names.

In addition, in the event of a determination in favor of the complainant, the registry is required to suspend the domain name. This suspension remains for the balance of the registration period and would not resolve the original website. Rather, the nameservers would be redirected to an informational web page provided by the URS Provider about the URS.

Additionally, the WHOIS reflects that the domain name will not be able to be transferred, deleted, or modified for the life of the registration. Finally, there is an option for a successful complainant to extend the registration period for one additional year at commercial rates.

Applicant is fully aware of each of these requirements and will have the capability to implement these requirements for new gTLDs. In fact, during the IRT’s development of f the URS, Neustar began examining the implications of the URS on its registry operations and provided the IRT with feedback on whether the recommendations from the IRT would be feasible for registries to implement.

Although there have been a few changes to the URS since the IRT recommendations, Neustar continued to participate in the development of the URS by providing comments to ICANN, many of which were adopted. As a result, Neustar is committed to supporting the URS for all of the registries that it provides back-end registry services.

Implementation of Thick WHOIS

The .loft registry will include a thick WHOIS database as required in Specification 4 of the Registry agreement. A thick WHOIS provides numerous advantages including a centralized location of registrant information, the ability to more easily manage and control the accuracy of data, and a consistent user experience.

Policies Handling Complaints Regarding Abuse

In addition to the Rights Protection Mechanisms addressed above, Nestuar, on behalf ofApplicant, will implement a number of measures to handle complaints regarding the abusive registration of domain names in its TLD as described in Applicant’s response to Question 28.

Registry Acceptable Use Policy

One of the key policies each new gTLD registry is the need to have is an Acceptable Use Policy that clearly delineates the types of activities that constitute “abuse” and the repercussions associated with an abusive domain name registration. The policy must be incorporated into the applicable Registry-Registrar Agreement and reserve the right for the registry to take the appropriate actions based on the type of abuse. This may include locking down the domain name preventing any changes to the contact and nameserver information associated with the domain name, placing the domain name “on hold” rendering the domain name non-resolvable, transferring to the domain name to another registrar, and⁄or in cases in which the domain name is associated with an existing law enforcement investigation, substituting name servers to collect information about the DNS queries to assist the investigation. Applicant’s Acceptable Use Policy, set forth in its response to Question 28, will include prohibitions on phishing, pharming, dissemination of malware, fast flux hosting, hacking, and child pornography. In addition, the policy will include the right of the registry to take action necessary to deny, cancel, suspend, lock, or transfer any registration in violation of the policy.

Monitoring for Malicious Activity

Applicant is committed to ensuring that those domain names associated with abuse or malicious conduct in violation of the Acceptable Use Policy are dealt with in a timely and decisive manner. These include taking action against those domain names that are being used to threaten the stability and security of the TLD, or is part of a real-time investigation by law enforcement.

Once a complaint is received from a trusted source, third-party, or detected by the Registry, the Registry will use commercially reasonable efforts to verify the information in the complaint. If that information can be verified to the best of the ability of the Registry, the sponsoring registrar will be notified and be given 12 hours to investigate the activity and either take down the domain name by placing the domain name on hold or by deleting the domain name in its entirety or providing a compelling argument to the Registry to keep the name in the zone. If the registrar has not taken the requested action after the 12-hour period (i.e., is unresponsive to the request or refuses to take action), the Registry will place the domain on “ServerHold.” Although this action removes the domain name from the TLD zone, the domain name record still appears in the TLD WHOIS database so that the name and entities can be investigated by law enforcement should they desire to get involved.

29.2 Safeguards against Unqualified Registrations

As a closed single-registrant registry, Applicant can sufficiently control any and all registrations to confirm that no unqualified third party second-level domain name registrations are registered within the .loft gTLD. Indeed, Applicant intends that only Applicant and its affiliates will be able to register second-level names within the .loft space.

29.3 Resourcing Plans

The rights protection mechanisms described in the response above involve a wide range of tasks, procedures, and systems. The responsibility for each mechanism varies based on the specific requirements. In general the development of applications such as sunrise and IP claims is the responsibility of the Engineering team, with guidance from the Product Management team. Customer Support and Legal play a critical role in enforcing certain policies such as the rapid suspension process. These teams have years of experience implementing these or similar processes.

The necessary resources will be pulled from the pool of available resources described in detail in the response to Question 31. The following resources are available from those teams:

• Development⁄Engineering – 19 employees;
• Product Management- 4 employees; and
• Customer Support – 12 employees.

The resources are more than adequate to support the rights protection mechanisms of the .loft registry.

30(a). Security Policy: Summary of the security policy for the proposed registry

30(a) Security Policy

Applicant and its back-end operator, Neustar, recognize the vital need to secure the systems and the integrity of the data in commercial solutions. The .loft registry solution will leverage industry-best security practices including the consideration of physical, network, server, and application elements.

Neustar’s approach to information security starts with comprehensive information security policies. These are based on the industry best practices for security including SANS (SysAdmin, Audit, Network, Security) Institute, NIST (National Institute of Standards and Technology), and Center for Internet Security (CIS). Policies are reviewed annually by Neustar’s information security team. The following is a summary of the security policies that will be used in the .loft registry, including:

• Summary of the security policies used in the registry operations;
• Description of independent security assessments;
• Description of security features that are appropriate for .loft; and
• List of commitments made to registrants regarding security levels.

All of the security policies and levels described in this section are appropriate for the .loft registry.

30(a).1 Summary of Security Policies

Neustar, Inc. has developed a comprehensive Information Security Program in order to create effective administrative, technical, and physical safeguards for the protection of its information assets, and to comply with Neustarʹs obligations under applicable law, regulations, and contracts. This Program establishes Neustarʹs policies for accessing, collecting, storing, using, transmitting, and protecting electronic, paper, and other records containing sensitive information. The Program defines:

• The policies for internal users and Neustar clients to ensure the safe, organized and fair use of information resources;
• The rights that can be expected with that use;
• The standards that must be met to effectively comply with policy;
• The responsibilities of the owners, maintainers, and users of Neustar’s information resources; and
• Rules and principles used at Neustar to approach information security issues.

The following policies are included in the Program:

• Acceptable Use Policy: The Acceptable Use Policy provides the “rules of behavior” covering all Neustar Associates for using Neustar resources or accessing sensitive information.
• Information Risk Management Policy: The Information Risk Management Policy describes the requirements for the on-going information security risk management program, including defining roles and responsibilities for conducting and evaluating risk assessments, assessments of technologies used to provide information security and monitoring procedures used to measure policy compliance.
• Data Protection Policy: The Data Protection Policy provides the requirements for creating, storing, transmitting, disclosing, and disposing of sensitive information, including data classification and labeling requirements, the requirements for data retention. Encryption and related technologies such as digital certificates are also covered under this policy.
• Third Party Policy: The Third Party Policy provides the requirements for handling service provider contracts, including specifically the vetting process, required contract reviews, and on-going monitoring of service providers for policy compliance.
• Security Awareness and Training Policy: The Security Awareness and Training Policy provide the requirements for managing the on-going awareness and training program at Neustar. This includes awareness and training activities provided to all Neustar Associates.
• Incident Response Policy: The Incident Response Policy provides the requirements for reacting to reports of potential security policy violations. This policy defines the necessary steps for identifying and reporting security incidents, remediation of problems, and conducting “lessons learned” post-mortem reviews in order to provide feedback on the effectiveness of this Program. Additionally, this policy contains the requirement for reporting data security breaches to the appropriate authorities and to the public, as required by law, contractual requirements, or regulatory bodies.
• Physical and Environmental Controls Policy: The Physical and Environment Controls Policy provides the requirements for securely storing sensitive information and the supporting information technology equipment and infrastructure. This policy includes details on the storage of paper records as well as access to computer systems and equipment locations by authorized personnel and visitors.
• Privacy Policy: Neustar supports the right to privacy, including the rights of individuals to control the dissemination and use of personal data that describes them, their personal choices, or life experiences. Neustar supports domestic and international laws and regulations that seek to protect the privacy rights of such individuals.
• Identity and Access Management Policy: The Identity and Access Management Policy covers user accounts (login ID naming convention, assignment, authoritative source) as well as ID lifecycle (request, approval, creation, use, suspension, deletion, review), including provisions for system⁄application accounts, shared⁄group accounts, guest⁄public accounts, temporary⁄emergency accounts, administrative access, and remote access. This policy also includes the user password policy requirements.
• Network Security Policy: The Network Security Policy covers aspects of Neustar’s network infrastructure and the technical controls in place to prevent and detect security policy violations.
• Platform Security Policy: The Platform Security Policy covers the requirements for configuration management of servers, shared systems, applications, databases, middle-ware, and desktops and laptops owned or operated by Neustar Associates.
• Mobile Device Security Policy: The Mobile Device Policy covers the requirements specific to mobile devices with information storage or processing capabilities. This policy includes laptop standards, as well as requirements for PDAs, mobile phones, digital cameras and music players, and any other removable device capable of transmitting, processing or storing information.
• Vulnerability and Threat Management Policy: The Vulnerability and Threat Management Policy provides the requirements for patch management, vulnerability scanning, penetration testing, threat management (modeling and monitoring) and the appropriate ties to the Risk Management Policy.
• Monitoring and Audit Policy: The Monitoring and Audit Policy covers the details regarding which types of computer events to record, how to maintain the logs, and the roles and responsibilities for how to review, monitor, and respond to log information. This policy also includes the requirements for backup, archival, reporting, forensics use, and retention of audit logs.
• Project and System Development and Maintenance Policy: The System Development and Maintenance Policy covers the minimum security requirements for all software, application, and system development performed by or on behalf of Neustar and the minimum security requirements for maintaining information systems.

30(a).2 ICANN Requirement for Two Points: Independent Assessment Reports Demonstrating Effective Security Controls

Neustar IT Operations is subject to yearly Sarbanes-Oxley (SOX), Statement on Auditing Standards #70 (SAS70) and ISO audits. Testing of controls implemented by Neustar management in the areas of access to programs and data, change management and IT Operations are subject to testing by both internal and external SOX and SAS70 audit groups. Audit Findings are communicated to process owners, Quality Management Group and Executive Management. Actions are taken to make process adjustments where required and remediation of issues is monitored by internal audit and QM groups.

External Penetration Test is conducted by a third party on a yearly basis. As authorized by Neustar, the third party performs an external Penetration Test to review potential security weaknesses of network devices and hosts and demonstrate the impact to the environment. The assessment is conducted remotely from the Internet with testing divided into four phases:

• A network survey is performed in order to gain a better knowledge of the network that was being tested;
• Vulnerability scanning is initiated with all the hosts that are discovered in the previous phase;
• Identification of key systems for further exploitation is conducted; and
• Exploitation of the identified systems is attempted.

Each phase of the audit is supported by detailed documentation of audit procedures and results. Identified vulnerabilities are classified as high, medium and low risk to facilitate management’s prioritization of remediation efforts. Tactical and strategic recommendations are provided to management supported by reference to industry best practices.

30(a).3 Augmented Security Levels and Capabilities

There are no increased security levels specific for .loft. However, Neustar will provide the same high level of security provided across all of the registries it manages. A key to Neustar’s Operational success is Neustar’s highly structured operations practices. The standards and governance of these processes:

• Include annual independent review of information security practices;
• Include annual external penetration tests by a third party;
• Conform to the ISO 9001 standard (Part of Neustar’s ISO-based Quality Management System);
• Are aligned to Information Technology Infrastructure Library (ITIL) and CoBIT best practices;
• Are aligned with all aspects of ISO IEC 17799;
• Are in compliance with Sarbanes-Oxley (SOX); requirements (audited annually); and
• Are focused on continuous process improvement (metrics driven with product scorecards reviewed monthly).

A summary view of Neustar’s security policy in alignment with ISO 17799 can be found in section 30(a).4 below.

30(a).4 Commitments and Security Levels

The .loft registry commits to high security levels that are consistent with the needs of the TLD. These commitments include:

• Compliance with High Security Standards
o Security procedures and practices that are in alignment with ISO 17799;
o Annual SOC 2 Audits on all critical registry systems;
o Annual Third Party Penetration Tests; and
o Annual Sarbanes Oxley Audits.
• Highly Developed and Document Security Policies
o Compliance with all provisions described in section 30(a).4 and in the attached security policy document.
o Resources necessary for providing information security;
o Fully documented security policies; and
o Annual security training for all operations personnel.
• High Levels of Registry Security
o Multiple redundant data centers;
o High Availability Design;
o Architecture that includes multiple layers of security;
o Diversified firewall and networking hardware vendors;
o Multi-factor authentication for accessing registry systems;
o Physical security access controls;
o A 24x7 manned Network Operations Center that monitors all systems and applications;
o A 24x7 manned Security Operations Center that monitors and mitigates DDoS attacks; and
o DDoS mitigation using traffic scrubbing technologies.

In addition to the above, Applicant itself has also developed robust and comprehensive Security Policies to ensure the safety of all personal, private, confidential, or otherwise secure information provided by its customers or other third parties. First, Applicant has attached hereto as Table 30(b)-1 a copy of the standard Security Policy that it requires all third party vendors to agree to in substantially similar format. Applicant will use its best efforts to ensure that, in addition to the registry operator provisions detailed above, all third party vendors, including but not limited to accredited registrars, will agree to operate under terms substantially similar to those provided in the Security Policy in their provision of services related to operation of the .loft gTLD. Furthermore, Applicant has attached hereto as Table 30(b)-2 the form Information Security Policy that all internal Ann employees are required to follow. Again, such security measures help to ensure the safety of all personal, private, confidential, or otherwise secure information that Ann or its affiliates may receive through operation of the.loft registry.



© 2012 Internet Corporation For Assigned Names and Numbers.