501 Riverside Avenue
Jacksonville Florida 32202
+1 904 623 8177
+1 904 623 7028
Mr. Brian Jay Winterfeldt
Partner, Steptoe & Johnson LLP
+1 202 429 6260
+1 202 429 3902
Ms. Karen Koster Burr
Associate General Counsel, EverBank
+1 904 623 8177
+1 904 623 7028
Federal Savings Association
EverBank was organized under the Home Owners Loan Act, 12 USC 1461 et seq. http:⁄⁄files.ots.treas.gov⁄73183.pdf
EverBank Financial Corp.
|Charles E. Commander, III||Director|
|Gary A. Meeks||Vice Chairman and Chief Risk Officer|
|Gerald S. Armstrong||Director|
|Joseph D. Hinkel||Director|
|Merrick R. Kleeman||Director|
|Richard P. Schifter||Director|
|Robert J. Mylod, Jr.||Director|
|Robert M. Clements||Chairman & CEO|
|Russell B. Newton, III||Director|
|Scott M. Stuart||Director|
|William Blake Wilson||Director, President & COO|
|William E. Sanford||Director|
|William Radford Lovett, II||Director|
|Francis O. Trotter, III||Executive Vice President|
|Gary A. Meeks||Vice-Chairman & Chief Risk Officer|
|James D. Hughes||Executive Vice President & CIO|
|Jamie Buckland||Executive Vice President|
|John S. Surface||Executive Vice President|
|Joseph B. Long||Executive Vice President|
|Michael C. Koster||Executive Vice President|
|Robert M. Clements||Chairman & CEO|
|Steven J. Fischer||Executive Vice President & CFO|
|Thomas A. Hajda||Executive Vice President and General Counsel|
|Thomas L. Wind||Executive Vice President|
|William Blake Wilson||Director, President & COO|
|EverBank Financial Corp.||Not Applicable|
Applicant has consulted with its registry service operator regarding any potential rendering or operational problems with the applied-for gTLD. Because the applied-for TLD uses standard characters under The American Standard Code for Information Interchange (ASCII) standard, the registry service operator has ensured us that there are no known or likely operational or rendering problems.
(a)Applicant EverBank is the banking subsidiary of EverBank Financial Corp, a diversified financial services company that provides innovative banking, lending and investing products and services to approximately 575,000 customers nationwide through scalable, low-cost distribution channels. We market and distribute our products and services primarily through our integrated online financial portal, which is augmented by our nationwide network of independent financial advisors, 14 high-volume financial centers in targeted Florida markets and other financial intermediaries. These channels are connected by technology-driven centralized platforms, which provide operating leverage throughout our business.
Our financial portal, recognized by Forbes.com as Best of the Web, includes online bill-pay, account aggregation, direct deposit, single sign-on for all customer accounts and other features, which further deepen our customer relationships. Our website and mobile device applications provide information on our product offerings, financial tools and calculators, newsletters, financial reporting services and other applications for customers to interact with us and manage all of their EverBank accounts on a single integrated platform. Our new mobile applications allow customers using mobile devices to view account balances, conduct real time balance transfers between EverBank accounts, administer Bill Pay, review account activity detail and remotely deposit checks. Our innovative deposit products and the interoperability and functionality of our financial portal and mobile device applications have led to strong customer retention rates.
Applicant’s mission is to further build its new way of banking by delivering to customers around the country a unique range of banking, lending and investing opportunities, using state of the art technology. Innovation, service and discipline are at the center of everything Applicant does. Applicant, its parent and affiliates, are also an important presence in their respective communities, and have donated employee time, resources, and over $7 million to nearly 100 charitable groups since 2006, focusing giving efforts primarily in three critical areas of need, including children’s services, affordable housing and education.
Applicant’s firm commitment to disciplined growth and risk management, product innovation and customer service is rooted in its desire to foster deep and long-lasting relationships with its customers. Applicant challenges itself to be the best in every aspect of its business and strives constantly to bring increasing value to customers and to the greater marketplace as a safe, stable, and financially sound financial services provider.
As a leading financial services provider, it plays an integral part in the economy and society. Banking and other financial services websites are among the most targeted for fraudulent online activity. Applicant seeks to use the proposed 〈.Everbank〉 gTLD (“the TLD”) to provide its customers, as well as its affiliates’ customers, with a technologically secure and advanced environment in which to learn about and access the products and services provided by Applicant and its affiliates, and for their customers to securely manage their financial lives. Indeed, Applicant already has an award-winning online track record, having received numerous product and service awards over the past twelve years, including five (5) Forbes and two (2) Online Banking Report’s “Best of the Web” accolades; two (2) Money Magazine “Best of the Breed” awards for its Yield Pledge Checking account; two (2) Online Banking Report ʺTop 10 Most Significant Innovations and Developments”; Kiplinger’s Personal Finance Magazine’s “Best Checking Account” award; a Freddie Mac Tier I “Superior” Ratings service award, and past recognition by Allen C. Ewing as the #1 bank in Florida for highest Return on Equity (ROE). Moreover, BauerFinancial has given EverBank a 4-star rating for financial strength and stability. Banks rated 4 stars or more are considered “safe, financially sound and operating well above their regulatory capital requirements.”
Improved security is arguably the most attractive benefit of the registry for Internet users. Presently, there is no top-level domain dedicated to banking and financial services, and no top-level domain dedicated to Applicant’s brand. The goal of the TLD, in terms of specialty, is for Applicant to securely and uniquely provide a top-level domain dedicated to providing banking and financial products and services to customers and Internet users across the country under its highly recognized and trusted brand. Allowing Applicant to control its own Internet space for its highly recognized brand gives it the ability to customize its domain and website names and signal to the general population of Internet users that websites within the TLD will indeed be securely controlled by Applicant. This specialty will benefit Internet users seeking secure online banking and financial services who will be able to bank with greater confidence as we greatly reduce the possibility that our customers will become the next phishing victim or subject to the numerous other malevolent schemes currently perpetrated from and through domains bought on the open market.
Navigation to Applicant and affiliate sites will be more efficient. Users will know that .EVERBANK sites are operated by Applicant and are a reliable source of information about all EverBank Financial Corp companies. Applicant’s exclusive access to keyword domain names will be mutually beneficial for Internet users and affiliates, as users may tie the keyword service to affiliate providers. Searches for the TLD will quickly yield Applicant sites. Shorter domain names, which would be feasible with the new TLD, will also increase navigational efficiency for users. Built into a wider process of web optimization and marketing, the inclusion of the TLD as a keyword in every domain name will likely have positive implications for specialty, security, and national promotion purposes. This will increase traffic to these websites, promote competition, and facilitate use and trust by banking and financial service consumers who prefer shorter domain names and want a trusted source of the specific services they seek.
The goal of the TLD will be to ensure that the highest level of security, quality, and customer service levels are provided to Applicant and its affiliates’ financial services customers, for whom security is a high priority. Applicant will exercise tight control over domain ownership and limit distribution of the domains to related entities and agents. Applicant is contracting with proven industry experts to provide the highest possible quality in registry and registrar services for maximum security and stability to protect the highly confidential information that Applicant’s customers will provide through use of the sites associated with the TLD.
Applicant will further endeavor, as is currently done on Applicant and affiliate websites, to provide for any outwardly-facing domain name and website in the TLD, Customer service that will be available by email and phone 24 hours per day, 7 days per week to instantly help any customer attempting to learn about or utilize Applicant’s services. Similarly, Applicant will provide the highest level service to trademark, copyright, and other legal rights owners by providing an easily accessible point-of-contact on any outwardly-facing domain names and websites.
In addition, despite the fact that Applicant will operate a tightly controlled, closed registry, in which only it and its corporate affiliates will be permitted to register second level domains, Applicant is keenly aware of its responsibility as a financial institution to enact policies and procedures designed to minimize the possibility of abusive registrations and other activities that have a negative impact on Internet users in the TLD, and which maximize the security and stability of the TLD. Applicant’s strong commitment to this goal is demonstrated, among other things, by its adoption of several of the requirements proposed in the 2011 Proposed Security, Stability and Resiliency Requirements for Financial TLDs (i.e., the BITS Requirements, available at http:⁄⁄www.icann.org⁄en⁄news⁄correspondence⁄aba-bits-to-beckstrom-crocker-20dec11-en.pdf). These standards were developed by the financial services sector for financial TLDs, and Applicant believes that adhering to these standards will result in a more robust approach to combating abuse. The specifics of this approach are set forth in response to Question 28.
Applicant already has a reputation for excellence, superior quality, and the highest level of security in the banking and finance industry, including online through its current websites and domain names. As noted above, Applicant already has an award-winning online track record. It intends to enhance Web services through use of the new TLD. As financial websites are among those with the highest exposure in connection with fraudulent online activity, Applicant seeks through the operation of the TLD to provide the most secure online environment in the industry, to enable Internet users to feel secure in providing highly sensitive personal information to Applicant and its affiliates. The goal of the TLD is to further enhance Applicant’s reputation for excellence and high levels of security and to advance and enhance technical capabilities.
Applicant will strive to ensure that the TLD is known for being tightly controlled, by ensuring only Applicant’s employees, agents, subsidiaries, affiliates, or related companies register domain names in the TLD, that those domain names are used for Applicant-related purposes, that the WHOIS is thick and reliable, and that the Registry is responsive to legal rights owners. Indeed, when Internet users visit a website within the TLD, they should know that Applicant will be the entity providing its nationally-renowned services, and that they can expect the highest level of online service and security. In all, Applicant will strive to be known as an exemplary and model domain name services citizen through the controlled use of the TLD.
The TLD will enhance competition in the current Internet space. Through Applicant’s control of its own Internet space, and the flexibility to innovate and create new ways of accessing its ever-evolving online products and services, Applicant’s customers will experience a new level of service. These innovations will motivate competitors’ with existing and new top-level domains to improve the security and quality of the banking and financial products and services they provide online and to accelerate the introduction of new products and services in order to continue attracting new customers. Thus, the TLD will benefit consumers by increasing the likelihood of new and innovative online products and services in a more secure environment.
The most obvious differentiation will be the TLD itself: it will be solely composed of Applicant’s unique service mark. Internet users will immediately know the source of the sites featuring the TLD. Indeed, no other top-level domain is similar in appearance to the TLD, none is used exclusively for banking and financial goods and services, and none exclusively serve Applicant’s users and customers. In terms of differentiated uses, Applicant will have the flexibility to customize the second-level domains within the TLD so as to signify the service offered as well as the source of the service. Finally, unlike in existing top-level domains, only Applicant’s employees and affiliated companies and agents will be allowed to register and⁄or operate domain names within the TLD, thus enabling the TLD to become unique in that customers do not have to fear corruption, weak security, malicious code, malware, spam, phishing or false or inaccurate information, and thereby allowing Applicant to become a more trusted provider of online banking and financial products or services.
Applicant is already a recognized leader in online banking and financial innovation. Of paramount importance to financial services customers is security. Ownership of the TLD will allow Applicant to impose higher security standards, to provide information, products and services to customers in a more secure and technologically advanced way and allow Applicant to implement technological advances with greater flexibility.
Indeed, Applicant believes that the TLD will open up new opportunities not yet imagined, and permit Applicant to innovate new services in a truly secure environment.
(iii) Applicant will strive to test, develop, and implement the TLD and associated websites to anticipate its customers’ Web needs and expectations in the most secure manner. Applicant will take great care to ensure that domain names in the TLD will primarily serve the Internet user by being intuitive and practical. Applicant will rely on its consumer and security-driven testing to provide a targeted user experience for those seeking robust, reliable, and secure online banking and financial products and services across the country and eventually perhaps even around the world. Because users will know that all domain names in the TLD will be owned and operated by Applicant, Applicant anticipates that the TLD will eventually provide an enhanced and secure online technological experience for those interested in obtaining more information about conducting online banking and financial transactions and purchasing Applicant’s products and services. Finally, the TLD will serve to differentiate Applicant from other banking and financial institutions and serve to create a more stable, competitive, and active marketplace.
(iv)To support the goals for the TLD, only Applicant, its affiliates, and its authorized and designated employees or agents, will be allowed to register domain names within the TLD. Accordingly, the general public will never be allowed to register, buy, or sell domain names in the TLD. Applicant, does however, reserve the right to sell, distribute, or transfer control or use of any registrations in the TLD to any third party that is an Affiliate of Applicant or is an agent of Applicant or of its Affiliates, for uses as specified by Applicant or its Affiliates. For the purposes of this application “Affiliate” is defined as (i) a person or entity that, directly or indirectly, through one or more intermediaries, controls, is controlled by, or is under common control with, Applicant, and (ii) “control” (including the terms “controlled by” and “under common control with”) means the possession, directly or indirectly, of the power to direct or cause the direction of the management or policies of a person or entity regarding the use of a domain name within the TLD, whether through the ownership of securities, as trustee or executor, by serving as an employee or a member of a board of directors or equivalent governing body, by contract, by credit arrangement or otherwise.
Further, as stated above, Applicant intends to operate a closed registry in order to continue to offer the high-quality secure online financial products and services it currently offers on its branded websites in existing top-level domains. Accordingly, policies and decisions regarding the registration and use of domain names within the TLD will continue to be provided through an internal team consisting of Applicant’s existing business and marketing decision-making channels.
The TLD’s domain name policies will be shaped by its abuse prevention and rights protection policies, and Applicant will strive to avoid registering domain names that are confusingly similar to third-party trademarks and related rights. Obscene, explicit, and offensive domain names will not be permitted to register in the TLD.
(v)Keeping information secure and private is of crucial importance to banking and financial institutions, whose websites are particularly vulnerable to attempts at online fraud. Initially, Applicant intends to operate a closed registry with limited domain ownership access, to ensure the security and privacy of the information available. As Applicant’s use may expand, Applicant will take all available steps to maintain the security and privacy of the information collected, and will remain in compliance with all applicable confidentiality and security regulations in relevant jurisdictions.
For example, Applicant and its Affiliates already haves Privacy Policies in place to safeguard the financial information of their respective customers. For online banking, for example, these include:
-Encryption software that ʺscramblesʺ messages in its secure web-based email system to allow account holders to communicate over a secured channel with EverBank Representatives.
-Customer authentication procedures to protect personal and account information against fraud and other Internet risks.
-Restricted access to nonpublic personal information to only those persons with a business need to know the information to process or service a customer’s account(s).
-Multiple channels of contact to allow users to discuss privacy issues or report anything unusual or inappropriate to Everbank.
For Applicant and its Affiliates’ policies in their entirety, see Privacy Policies for EverBank and its Subsidiaries, found at https:⁄⁄www.abouteverbank.com⁄privacy.aspx. When the TLD becomes public-facing such that external users are interacting with domains registered in the TLD, Applicant will, at a minimum, continue to provide similar security measures.
(vi)Applicant will create and implement marketing and outreach efforts in a variety of media to inform the public about the TLD and the information and services available there.
Applicant already uses a variety of outreach and communications methods and venues to communicate its mission and message to the public, including but not limited to, electronic mail, press releases, featured videos posted on its website, social media, including but not limited to Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook, various news feeds around the country, and paid advertising, which includes television and radio commercials, magazine and newspaper print, billboards and posters in major markets, and a variety of digital media. Applicant is able to incorporate the outreach and communication regarding the TLD into its current branding and marketing efforts to ensure that as many customers and users as possible understand the new resources available and how to interact with them to improve their consumer experience.
(i)Members of the public will not be able to register domain names in the TLD. Registration will be tightly controlled by Applicant, and initially only a limited number of designated employees of Applicant or its affiliates will be able to register domain names for purposes relating to Applicant or affiliate services, after approval by Applicant’s existing business and marketing decision-making channels for the enterprise. Therefore, there will not be multiple applications for a particular domain name.
(ii)Members of the public will not be able to register domain names in the TLD. Registration will be tightly controlled by Applicant, and initially only a limited number of designated employees of Applicant or its affiliates will be able to register domain names for purposes relating to Applicant or affiliate services after approval by Applicant’s existing business and marketing decision-making channels for the enterprise. Therefore, because Applicant will not sell the domain names in the TLD, there are no cost benefits for registrants to implement.
(iii)Members of the public will not be able to register domain names in the TLD. Registration will be tightly controlled by Applicant, and initially only a limited number of designated employees of Applicant or its affiliates will be able to register domain names for purposes relating to Applicant or its affiliates services after approval by Applicant’s existing enterprise-wide business and marketing decision-making channels. Therefore, because Applicant will not sell the domain names in the TLD, contractual commitments to registrants regarding price escalation are not relevant to Applicant’s mission or goals for the TLD at this time.
As specified throughout this application, Applicant plans to operate the applied-for TLD as a closed registry and shall not permit any third party to register any second-level domain names within the TLD. Applicant will thus primarily protect against the abusive registration of geographic names at the second and other levels in the applied-for gTLD by only allowing Applicant to register and Applicant or its Affiliates (as defined in its registration policy) to use any domains throughout the life of the TLD.
Applicant has thoroughly reviewed Specification 5 of the Registry Agreement, the Government Advisory Committee’s (GAC) “Principles Regarding New gTLDs”, and the .INFO methodology for reservation and release of country names. Accordingly, Applicant will, in connection with its registry services operator and registrar, initially reserve from registration by any party names with national or geographic significance within the TLD during the TLD’s Sunrise Period and Trademark Claims Period.
The names with national or geographic significance (“geographic names”) that will be initially blocked are those specified in Specification 5 of the New gTLD Registry Agreement, namely:
-the short form (in English) of all country and territory names contained on the ISO 3166-1 list, as updated from time to time, including the European Union, which is exceptionally reserved on the ISO 3166-1 list, and its scope extended in August 1999 to any application needing to represent the name European Union;
-the United Nations Group of Experts on Geographical Names, Technical Reference Manual for the Standardization of Geographical Names, Part III Names of Countries of the World; and
-the list of United Nations member states in 6 official United Nations languages prepared by the Working Group on Country Names of the United Nations Conference on the Standardization of Geographical Names.
After working with Applicant’s registry services provider to initially block the above-identified geographic names during any Sunrise Period and Trademark Claims Period, Applicant may allow the reservation of domain names identical to the above-identified geographic names by only Applicant. Applicant will ensure through internal guidelines or by contract that the geographic names will be used by Applicant or its Affiliates for promoting, providing information about, and⁄or offering Applicant’s goods and services directly to customers or potential customers from the relevant country or territory indicated by the domain name. Applicant, at all times, will ensure through internal guidelines that reasonable efforts are made to reduce user confusion regarding the source or affiliation of a domain name, and that security measures will be taken to protect confidential third-party information in accordance with that geographic area’s data and financial privacy laws.
Applicant has elected to partner with NeuStar, Inc. (“Neustar”) to provide back-end registry services for the .EVERBANK TLD. Applicant selected Neustar because it 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 .EVERBANK registry. The following section describes the registry services to be provided.
23.2 Standard Technical and Business Components
Applicant has contracted with Neustar to provide the highest level of service while delivering a secure, stable and comprehensive registry platform. Applicant will provide the following Registry Services through Neustar, unless otherwise indicated:
-Registry-Registrar Shared Registration Service (“SRS”)
-Extensible Provisioning Protocol (“EPP”)
-Domain Name System (“DNS”)
-Data Escrow (through Iron Mountain Intellectual Property Management, Inc.)
-Dissemination of Zone Files using Dynamic Updates
-Access to Bulk Zone Files
-Dynamic WHOIS Updates
-Rights Protection Mechanisms
-Internationalized Domain Names (IDN).
The following is a description of each of the services.
Neustarʹs 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.
The .EVERBANK registry will use the Extensible Provisioning Protocol for the provisioning of domain names. The EPP implementation will be fully compliant with all RFCs. Registrars are 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 discussion on the EPP approach is presented in the response to Question 25.
Applicant will leverage Neustarʹs 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 information on the DNS solution is presented in the response to Questions 35.
Neustarʹs existing standard WHOIS solution will be used for the .EVERBANK. The service provides supports for near real-time dynamic updates. The design and construction is agnostic with regard to data display policy 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)
Searchable WHOIS (Web)
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 top level domains: .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.
23.2.6 Data Escrow
Applicant has entered a Letter of Intent with Iron Mountain Intellectual Property Management, Inc., an approved data escrow provider. Iron Mountain will perform data escrow services on its behalf in compliance with all ICANN requirements. The 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
-Minimize the impact of software or business failure.
Additional information on the Data Escrow service is provided in the response to Question 38.
23.2.7 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 to be used 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.
23.2.8 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.
23.2.9 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.
23.2.10 IPv6 Support
The .EVERBANK 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.
23.2.11 Required Rights Protection Mechanisms
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)
More information is presented in the response to Question 29.
23.2.12 Internationalized Domain Names (IDN)
IDN registrations are provided in full compliance with the IDNA protocol. Neustar possesses extensive experience offering IDN registrations in numerous TLDs, and its IDN implementation uses advanced technology to accommodate the unique bundling needs of certain languages. Character mappings are easily constructed to block out characters that may be deemed as confusing to users. A detailed description of the IDN implementation is presented in response to Question 44.
23.3 Unique Services
Applicant will not be offering services that are unique to .EVERBANK.
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.
Applicant has partnered with NeuStar, Inc. (ʺNeustarʺ), an experienced TLD registry operator, for the operation of the .EVERBANK Registry. The 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 criteria 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 behind the services currently supports registry services to five TLDs (.BIZ, .US, .TEL, .CO and .TRAVEL) and is used to provide gateway services to the .CN and .TW registries. Neustarʹs state of the art registry has a proven track record of being secure, stable, and reliable. 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
24.2.1 High-level SRS System Description
The SRS to be used for .EVERBANK 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
-EPP connectivity over IPv6
-Performance being measured using 100% of all production transactions (not sampling)
24.2.2 SRS Systems, Software, Hardware, and Interoperability
The systems and software are at the heart of Neustar’s high quality 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
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 Applicant, to produce a complete history of changes for any domain name.
24.2.3 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:
-Business Policy Layer
Each of the layers is described below.
24.2.4 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:
-The registrarʹs host exchanges keys to initiate a TLS handshake session with the EPP server.
-The registrarʹs host must provide credentials to determine proper access levels.
-The registrarʹs IP address must be preregistered in the network firewalls and traffic-shapers.
24.2.5 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.
The database is the third core component 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 depicts the overall SRS architecture including network components.
24.2.7 Number of Servers
As depicted in the SRS architecture diagram attached, Neustar operates a high availability architecture where at each level of the stack there are no single points of failure. Each of the network level devices run with dual pairs, as do the databases. For the .EVERBANK 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.
24.2.8 Description of Interconnectivity with Other Registry Systems
The core SRS service interfaces with other external systems via Neustarʹs external systems layer. The services that the SRS will interface with include:
-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 .EVERBANK.
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:
24.2.9 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 as a tool to signal the WHOIS system that a change is ready to be implemented. The WHOIS system possesses the intelligence and data visibility to properly execute the necessary changes in the WHOIS database. See response to Question 26 for greater detail.
24.2.10 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.
24.2.11 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.
24.2.12 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.
24.2.13 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.
24.2.14 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.
24.2.15 Compliance with Specification 6 Section 1.2
The SRS implementation for .EVERBANK 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.
Additional information on the EPP implementation and compliance with RFCs can be found in the response to Question 25.
24.2.16 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 .EVERBANK Registry. The following section describes Neustarʹs 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. Neustarʹs current .biz SLA commitments are among the most stringent in the industry today, and exceed the requirements for new TLDs. Table 24-2 compares the current SRS performance levels with 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:
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. Neustarʹs 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 .EVERBANK registry. The following resources are available from those teams:
-Database Administration-10 employees
-Systems Administration-24 employees
-Network Engineering-5 employees
The resources are more than adequate to support the SRS needs of all the TLDs operated by Neustar, including the .EVERBANK registry.
Applicantʹs 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, Neustar was the first gTLD registry operator 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 .EVERBANK registry. This interface exists within the protocol farm layer as described in Question 24 and is depicted in Figure 25-1 attached.
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, 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. Evidence of Neustarʹs ability to perform at these levels can be found in the .biz monthly progress reports found on the ICANN website.
25.3.1 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 .EVERBANK 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 provides a list of extensions developed for other TLDs. Should the .EVERBANK 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 .EVERBANK registry is attached in the document titled EPP Schema Files.
25.5 Resourcing Plans
The development and support of EPP is largely the responsibility of the Development⁄Engineering and Quality Assurance teams. As an experienced registry operator with a fully developed EPP solution, Neustar is able to limit on-going support is 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:
-Quality Assurance-7 employees.
These resources are more than adequate to support any EPP modification needs of the .EVERBANK registry.
Applicant 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. .EVERBANK’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, Neustarʹs 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 .EVERBANKʹs 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
-In addition, .EVERBANKʹs 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 describes Neustarʹs 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. Our 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 nameʹs 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.EverBank). 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:
-Registrant, Technical and Administrative Contacts
It also provides features not available on the port 43 service. These include:
1.Redemption Grace Period calculation: Based on the registryʹs 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.
2.Extensive support for international domain names (IDN)
3.Ability to perform WHOIS lookups on the actual Unicode IDN
4.Display of the actual Unicode IDN in addition to the ACE-encoded name
5.A Unicode to Punycode and Punycode to Unicode translator
6.An extensive FAQ
7.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 Neustarʹs 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
-Multiple WHOIS servers for maximizing the performance of WHOIS service.
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 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 impact 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%, less than or equal to 60 minutes. Please note that Neustarʹs current architecture is built towards the stricter SLAs (95%, less than or equal to 15 minutes) of .BIZ. The vast majority of updates tend to happen within 2-3 minutes.
26.8 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:
-Contacts and registrantʹs name
-Contact and registrantʹs 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
-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 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:
-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
-CAPTCHA mechanism to prevent robo invocation of Web query
-Fee-based advanced query capabilities for premium customers.
The searchable WHOIS application will adhere to all privacy laws and policies of the .EVERBANK 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
-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.Neustarʹs 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 .EVERBANK registry. The resources are more than adequate to support the WHOIS needs of all the TLDs operated by Neustar, including the .EVERBANK registry.
27.1 Registration Life Cycle
.EVERBANK will follow the lifecycle and business rules found in the majority of gTLDs today. Our 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 .EVERBANK.
27.1.2 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 .EVERBANK registry per the defined .EVERBANK 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 .EVERBANK 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 .EVERBANK 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 .EVERBANK 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 the 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 the 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 any time during the term
-Domain may be auto-renewed by the Registry
-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.
27.2 Registration States
27.2.1 Domain Lifecycle Registration States
As described above the .EVERBANK registry will implement a standard domain lifecycle found in most gTLD registries today. There are five possible domain states:
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.
27.2.2 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.
27.2.3 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.
27.2.4 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.
27.2.5 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.
27.2.6 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.
27.3 Typical Registration Lifecycle Activities
27.3.1 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.
1. 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.
2. 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.
3. 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.
27.3.2 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:
-Administrative Contact ID
-Billing Contact ID
-Technical Contact ID
-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.
27.3.4 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.
27.3.5 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
- Reject a domain transfer.
To transfer a domain from one Registrar to another the following process is followed:
1. The gaining (new) Registrar submits a Transfer command, which includes the AuthInfo code of the domain name.
2. 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
3. A poll message notifying the losing Registrar of the pending transfer is sent to the Registrarʹs message queue
4. 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
5. If the losing Registrar has not Acked or Nacked the transfer request within the 120-hour timeframe, the Registry auto-approves the transfer
6. 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.
27.3.6 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.
27.4 Applicable Time Elements
The following section explains the time elements that are involved.
27.4.1 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
-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.
27.4.2 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 Registrarʹs billing account.
27.4.3 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).
27.4.4 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.
27.4.5 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 pendingDelete and will enter the RGP.
27.4.6 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.
27.4.7 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 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 27.2 for detailed descriptions 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: 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.
27.5.1 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.
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. Neustarʹs SRS implementation is very flexible and configurable, and in many case development is not required to support business rule changes.
The .EVERBANK 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
-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 .EVERBANK registry.
Strong abuse prevention by 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 Applicant 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 and domain name use, including, but not limited to, those resulting from:
-Illegal or fraudulent actions
-Distribution of malware
-Fast flux hosting
-Distribution of child pornography
-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
As Applicant’s 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. We also believe that 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. Applicant 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.
BITS, the technology policy division of The Financial Services Roundtable, has been working with financial industry members to propose elevated security standards as put forth by the Security Standards Working Group that would require registry operators to employ technical and operational policies that exceed ICANN’s security, stability, and resiliency requirements for financial TLDs. Although Applicant will run a closed registry, which in and of itself will serve to provide significant security benefits, Applicant will incorporate additional elements consistent with the BITS Requirements into its Acceptable Use Policy and its agreements with its registrar(s) and registrants in consultation with Neustar. These standards will provide enhanced security in the TLD by requiring Applicant and its registrars to annually certify compliance with ICANN’s requirements, and by providing clear notice of the registry’s abuse policies.
-Specifically, Applicant will incorporate the following BITS Requirements:
-Requirement 6: certify to ICANN on an annual basis compliance with its Registry Agreement.
-Requirement 7: require registrars to certify annually to ICANN and EverBank compliance with ICANN’s Registrar Accreditation Agreement (RAA) and its Registry-Registrar Agreement (RRA).
-Requirement 9: require registrars to provide and maintain valid primary contact information (name, email address, and phone number) on their website.
-Requirement 10: re-validate all RRAs at least annually.
-Requirement 14: require registrars to notify EverBank and Neustar immediately regarding any investigation or compliance action, including the nature of the investigation or compliance action by ICANN or any outside party, including law enforcement.
-Consistent with Requirements 15 and 16, Applicant will:
-Define abusive behavior, as set forth herein;
-Identify how abusive behavior is reported to Applicant and its registry services provider and the steps that will be taken to determine whether the reported behavior is abusive, as set forth herein;
-Identify the actions that may be taken in response to behavior determined to be abusive, as set forth herein.
Applicant believes that by incorporating the BITS Requirements designed specifically for financial TLDs, it will serve as a model registry for security and stability.
-Abuse Point of Contact
As required by the Registry Agreement, Applicant will establish and publish on its website a single abuse point of contact responsible for addressing inquiries from law enforcement and the public related to malicious and abusive conduct. Applicant will also provide such information 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, anticipated to be [[email protected]]. This e-mail address will serve as a distribution list for designated Applicant personnel to ensure timely review of complaints. We will ensure that 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, our 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.
-Policies Regarding Abuse Complaints
One of Applicant’s key policies of will be the implementation of an Acceptable Use Policy that clearly delineates the types of activities that constitute “abuse” and the repercussions associated with an abusive domain name registration. Applicant shall publish the Acceptable Use Policy at NIC.EverBank and clearly provide Applicant’s point of contact for abuse-related issues. This information shall consist of, at a minimum, a valid email address dedicated solely to the handling of abuse complaints, and a telephone number and mailing address for the primary contact. Applicant will ensure that this information will be kept accurate and up to date. 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 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 will adopt an Acceptable Use Policy that clearly defines the types of activities that will not be permitted in the TLD 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 on 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 we will use in connection with .EVERBANK.
-Applicant’s Acceptable Use Policy
This Acceptable Use Policy gives the Registry the ability to quickly lock, cancel, transfer or take ownership of any .EVERBANK 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 another’s website.
-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 distributed 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.
Applicant 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, Applicant 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 Applicant or any Registrar in connection with a domain name registration. Applicant 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
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. This includes taking action against those domain names that are being used to threaten the stability and security of the TLD, or which are parts of a law enforcement investigation as set forth in response to Question 29.
-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. Applicant will respond to legitimate law enforcement inquiries within one (1) 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 Applicant and involves the type of activity set forth in the Acceptable Use Policy, the sponsoring registrar is then given 48 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 documentation to Applicant supporting keeping the domain name in the zone. If the registrar has not taken the requested action after the 48-hour period (i.e., is unresponsive to the request or refuses to take action), Applicant will place the domain on “serverHold”.
-Measures for Removal of Orphan Glue Records
As the Security and Stability Advisory Committee of ICANN (SSAC) rightly acknowledges, although orphaned glue records may be used for abusive or malicious purposes, the “dominant use of orphaned glue supports the correct and ordinary operation of the DNS.” See http:⁄⁄www.icann.org⁄en⁄committees⁄security⁄sac048.pdf.
While orphan glue often support correct and ordinary operation of the DNS, we understand that such glue records can be used maliciously to point to name servers that host domains used in illegal phishing, bot-nets, malware, and other abusive behaviors. Problems occur when the parent domain of the glue record is deleted but its children glue records still remain in DNS. Therefore, when Applicant has written evidence of actual abuse of orphaned glue, Applicant will take action to remove those records from the zone to mitigate such malicious conduct.
Neustar will run a daily audit of entries in its DNS systems and compares those with its provisioning system. This serves as an umbrella protection to make sure that items in the DNS zone are valid. Any DNS record that shows up in the DNS zone but not in the provisioning system will be flagged for investigation and removed if necessary. This daily DNS audit serves to not only prevent orphaned hosts but also other records that should not be in the zone.
In addition, if either Applicant or Neustar become aware of actual abuse on orphaned glue after receiving written notification by a third party through its Abuse Contact or through its customer support, such glue records will be removed from the zone.
-Measures to Promote WHOIS Accuracy
Applicant acknowledges that ICANN has developed a number of mechanisms over the past decades that are intended to address the issue of inaccurate WHOIS information. Such measures alone have not proven to be sufficient. In order to promote WHOIS accuracy 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.
-Monitoring of Registration Data
To ensure the continued viability of the WHOIS system, Applicant shall perform random spot-checking of registration data for accuracy and completeness at least twice per year. Applicant shall endeavor to authenticate the WHOIS information chosen for spot checks by electronic means and shall also attempt to verify all contact information provided.
-Policies and Procedures Ensuring Compliance
Should Applicant find any information inaccurate or incomplete, Applicant shall contact the registrar through which the second-level domain in question was registered and request that the registrar contact the Registrant to request supplementation of the appropriate data. 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 if 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. Applicant also reserves the right to share such information with industry partners for the purpose of promoting WHOIS accuracy.
If the Registrar had failed to take action with regard to the perceived inaccuracy or incomplete WHOIS information after thirty days of Applicant contacting the Registrar, Applicant reserves the right to notify the appropriate personnel at ICANN and InterNIC that the Registrar in question was uncooperative. In the event the Registrar failed to take action to correct the inaccuracy, Applicant reserves the right to suspend the domain at issue, but shall do so only in cases where the domain’s usage violates Applicant’s Acceptable Use Policy.
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
- -Policy⁄Legal–2 employees
In addition to the Neustar staff detailed above, within Applicant, two (2) persons shall be tasked with monitoring and cataloging abuse issues. As the .EVERBANK TLD grows, and if issues of abuse become more problematic and time-consuming, Applicant shall increase the number of employees on the abuse team and possibly engage the services of a third party or security analyst to outsource abuse investigations.
The resources are more than adequate to support the abuse mitigation procedures of the .EVERBANK registry.
Use of domain names that infringe upon the legal rights of others in the TLD will not be tolerated and preventing abusive registrations is a core objective of Applicant. The nature of such uses creates security and stability issues for the registry, registrars, and registrants, as well as for users of the Internet in general. Applicant’s closed registry will offer little opportunity for infringing registrations. Primarily, as sole permitted registrant, along with its Affiliates, Applicant will prevent abusive registrations and reduce opportunities for behaviors such as phishing or pharming directly through tight registration control. All domains in the registry will be subject to strict internal registration, anti-abuse and rights protection guidelines as defined in its Abuse Policy. In order to identify and address the abusive use of registered names on an ongoing basis, Applicant promises to additionally incorporate and abide by the following Rights Protection Mechanisms and all other rights protection mechanisms as specified in Specification 7 of the Registry Agreement and as adopted by the ICANN Board of Directors as ICANN Consensus Policies.
In addition, Applicant’s Abuse Policy, which is set forth in its response to Question 28, is designed to combat abuse and correspondingly protect rightsholders, and is incorporated herein by reference.
- Rights Protection Mechanisms
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. EverBank recognizes that although the New gTLD program includes significant protections beyond those that were mandatory for a number of the current TLDs, a key motivator for EverBank’s selection of Neustar as its registry services provider is Neustar’s experience in successfully launching TLDs with diverse rights protection mechanisms, including many of those required in the Applicant Guidebook. More specifically, EverBank will implement the following rights protection mechanisms in accordance with the Applicant Guidebook as further described below:
- -Trademark Clearinghouse: a “one-stop shop” to enable trademark holders to protect their trademarks with a single registration.
- -Extended Sunrise Period and Continued Trademark Claims processes for the TLD.
- -Implementation of the Uniform Dispute Resolution Policy to address domain names that are alleged to be 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.
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 are still being developed by ICANN, Applicant is actively monitoring the developments of the Implementation Assistance Group (“IAG”) designed to assist ICANN staff in refining and finalizing the rules and procedures associated with the policies and technical requirements for the Trademark Clearinghouse. In addition, EverBank’s back-end registry services provider 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 Claims service is intended to provide clear notice to a potential registrant of the rights of a trademark owner whose trademark is registered in the clearinghouse.
All domain names registered during the Sunrise Period will be subject to Applicant’s domain name registration policy, namely, that all registrants be Applicant or its affiliates. Applicant will offer a Sunrise Period of sixty (60) days for owners of trademarks listed in the Trademark Clearinghouse that also meet applicant’s domain name registration requirements to register domain names that consist of an identical match of their listed trademarks. Applicant’s Intellectual Property Legal Team, which consists of representatives of both its IT and Legal Department, will receive and authenticate, with possible consultation with outside counsel (together, Applicant’s “Legal Team”), all Sunrise Registrations.
Applicant’s registrar will ensure that all Sunrise Registrants meet sunrise eligibility requirements (SERs), which will be verified by Clearinghouse data. The proposed SERs include: (i) ownership of a mark that is (a) nationally or regionally registered and for which proof of use, such as a declaration and a single specimen of current use – was submitted to, and validated by, the Trademark Clearinghouse; or (b) that have been court-validated; or (c) that are specifically protected by a statute or treaty currently in effect and that was in effect on or before 26 June 2008, (ii) optional registry-elected requirements regarding the international class of goods or services covered by registration; (iii) representation that all provided information is true and correct; and (iv) provision of data sufficient to document rights in the trademark.
Upon submission of all of the required information and documentation, registrar will forward the information to Applicant’s Legal Team for authentication. Legal Team will review the information and documentation and verify the trademark information and registration eligibility, and notify the potential registrant of any deficiencies.
Applicant will incorporate a Sunrise Dispute Resolution Policy (SDRP). The SRDP will allow challenges to Sunrise Registrations by third parties for a ten-day period after acceptance of the registration based on the following four grounds: (i) at time the challenged domain name was registered, the registrant did not hold a trademark registration of national effect (or regional effect) or the trademark had not been court-validated or protected by statute or treaty; (ii) the domain name is not identical to the mark on which the registrant based its Sunrise registration; (iii) the trademark registration on which the registrant based its Sunrise registration is not of national or regional effect or the trademark had not been court-validated or protected by statute or treaty; or (iv) the trademark registration on which the domain name registrant based its Sunrise registration did not issue on or before the effective date of the Registry Agreement and was not applied for on or before ICANN announced the applications received.
After receiving a Sunrise Complaint, Legal Team will review the Complaint to see if the Complaint reasonably asserts a legitimate challenge as defined by the SDRP. If not, Legal Team will timely send an email to the Complainant that the subject of the complaint clearly does not fall within one of the delineated grounds as defined by the SDRP and that Applicant considers the matter closed.
If the domain name is not found to have adequately met the SERs, Legal Team will alert the registrar and registry services provider to immediately suspend the resolution of the domain name. Thereafter, Legal Team will immediately notify the Sunrise Registrant of the suspension of the domain name, the nature of the complaint, and provide the registrant with the option to timely cure the SER deficiencies or the domain name will be canceled.
If the registrant timely responds, its response will be reviewed by Legal Team to determine if the SERs are met. If Legal Team is satisfied by the registrant’s response, Legal Team will timely submit a request to the registrar and the registry services provider to unsuspend the domain name. If registrant does not timely respond, Legal Team will then timely notify the Complainant that its complaint was ultimately denied and provide the reasons for the denial.
-Trademark Claims Service
Applicant will offer a Trademark Claims Service during the first one hundred and twenty (120) days of general registration. The Trademark Claims Service will be monitored by Legal Team. Applicant’s registrar will be required to review all domain names requested to be registered during the Trademark Claims period to determine if they are an identical match of a trademark that has been filed with the Trademark Clearinghouse and they meet Applicant’s domain name registration requirements. A domain name will be considered an identical match when the domain name consists of the complete and identical textual elements of the mark, and includes domain names where (a) spaces contained within a mark that are either replaced by hyphens (and vice versa) or omitted; (b) certain special characters contained within a trademark are spelled out with appropriate words describing it (e.g., @ and &); and (c) punctuation or special characters contained within a mark that are unable to be used in a second-level domain name are either (i) omitted or (ii) replaced by spaces, hyphens or underscores. Domain names that are plural forms of a mark or that merely contain a mark will not qualify as an identical match.
If the registrar determines that a prospective domain name registration is identical to a mark registered in the Trademark Clearinghouse, the registrar will be required to ensure that a “Trademark Claims Notice” (“Notice”) in English is sent to the prospective registrant of the domain name and blind copy Legal Team on all such correspondence. The Notice will provide the prospective registrant information regarding the trademark referenced in the Trademark Claims Notice to enhance understanding of the Trademark rights being claimed by the trademark holder. The Notice will be provided in real time without cost to the prospective registrant.
After sending the Notice, the registrar will require the prospective registrant specifically warrant within five (5) days that: (i) the prospective registrant has received notification that the mark(s) is included in the Clearinghouse; (ii) the prospective registrant has received and understood the notice; and (iii) to the best of the prospective registrant’s knowledge that the registration and use of the requested domain name will not infringe on the rights that are the subject of the notice. If the warranty satisfies these requirements, the registrar will effectuate the registration and notify Legal Team.
After the effectuation of a registration that is identical to a mark listed in the Trademark Clearinghouse, the registrar will be required to then ensure that a clear notice to the trademark owner of the trademark consisting of the domain name that has been registered and will blind copy Legal Team confirming that it has done so. The trademark owner then has the option of filing a Complaint under the Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy (UDRP) and the Uniform Rapid Suspension System (URS) against the domain name, as the Applicant will require in its domain name registration agreements that the registry, registrar, and registrant all submit to the Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy (UDRP) and the Uniform Rapid Suspension (URS) system. Applicant will require its registrar and registry service operators to abide by decisions rendered under the UDRP and URS in a timely and ongoing basis.
-Neustar’s Experience in Implementing Sunrise and Trademark Claims Processes
EverBank’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 both of these services on behalf of .EverBank.
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 EverBank as required by ICANN.
One example of our experience with managing sunrise periods was for .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 to apply for the .co domain names corresponding with their marks.
-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.
-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.
One example of our experience with Trademark Claims Service was for .biz. When 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 a variety of 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. If 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 Rapid Suspension System (URS)
Even though Applicant and its affiliates shall be the sole registrants in the EverBank TLD, Applicant will specify in its Registry-Registrar and Registration Agreements used in connection with the TLD that all parties will timely abide by all decisions made by panels in accordance with the Uniform Rapid Suspension System (URS). On Applicant’s NIC.EVERBANK website, Applicant will designate a Rights Protection Contact (“Rights Contact”) that will receive all URS Complaints verified by the URS Provider and provide its contact information. This information shall consist of, at a minimum, a valid e-mail address dedicated solely to the handling of rights protection complaints, and a telephone number and mailing address for the Rights Contact. Applicant will ensure that this information will be kept accurate and up to date and will be provided to ICANN if and when changes are made.
Within 24 hours of receipt of the Notice of Complaint from the URS Provider, the Rights Contact shall notify its registry operator to “lock” the domain, meaning the registry shall restrict all changes to the registration data, including transfer and deletion of the domain names, but the name will continue to resolve. The Rights Contact will notify the URS Provider immediately upon locking the domain name (“Notice of Lock”).
Immediately upon receipt of a Determination in the Complainant’s favor, the Rights Contact will notify the registry operator to suspend the domain name, which shall remain suspended for the balance of the registration period and will not resolve to the original web site. The nameservers shall be redirected to an informational web page provided by the URS Provider about the URS. The WHOIS for the domain name shall continue to display all of the information of the original Registrant except for the redirection of the nameservers. In addition, the WHOIS shall reflect that the domain name will not be able to be transferred, deleted or modified for the life of the registration. Immediately upon receipt of a Determination in registrant’s favor, Rights Contact will notify the registry operator to unlock the domain name.
-Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy (UDRP)
Applicant will specify in its Registry-Registrar and Registration Agreements used in connection with the TLD that all parties will timely abide by all decisions made by panels in accordance with the Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy (UDRP). Applicant’s Rights Contact will receive all UDRP Complaints and decisions, temporarily lock any domain names as required, and will notify its registrar to timely cancel or transfer all registrations determined to by a UDRP panel to be infringing.
Trademark Post-Delegation Dispute Resolution Procedure
Applicant will participate in all post-delegation procedures mandated in Specification 7 of the Registry Agreement, and will timely abide by any Determinations as required.
Applicant intends that only Applicant will be permitted to register domain names in the TLD for its own exclusive use. Hence, Applicant expects to be exempt from the Registry Operator Code of Conduct (“ROCC”) as detailed in Specification 9 of the Registry Agreement with ICANN. If Applicant is not required to grant access to the TLD to all registrars, and in order to reduce abusive registrations and other activities that affect the legal rights of others, Applicant will only contract with one ICANN-accredited registrar that has proven capable of providing adequate defenses against abusive registrations and superior response capabilities. The registrar, according to the Registry-Registrar agreement, will not be able to register any domain names, thus eliminating the possibility of front-running. The Registrar will also agree not to submit fake renewal notices. Any evidence of abusive behavior on the part of the Registrar will be promptly reported to ICANN Compliance.
Pre-Authorization and Authentication
Prior to the release of any domain names, Applicant will designate that only designated employees will be authorized to register domain names within the TLD under strict domain name registration guidelines. As part of these guidelines, Applicant will provide Applicant’s registrar with identification numbers provided specifically to these designated employees. Prior to any domain name registration, the team will provide registrar with the identification numbers. Further, before finalizing any registration, registrar will verify the identification number and contact information before the prospective registrant is allowed to proceed.
A variety of automated and manual procedures will be utilized for verification by the registrar as specified below:
*Applicant’s registrar’s automated authentication process will authenticate that the prospective registrant has provided registrar pre-authorized identification number;
*Applicant’s registrar’s automated authentication process will authenticate that the registrant’s email is from Applicant based on a list of pre-approved email extensions from authorized related companies;
*If authenticated, the authentication process will send a unique HTML link to the registrant’s email of record and other designated contacts;
*If the automated authentication process does not provide verification, the team will attempt to verify the registrant manually based on a pre-approved list of domain name registrants;
*After pre-approval, Registrant must represent and warrant -- in both the registration agreement and again as part of the WHOIS verification process -- that neither the registration of the desired domain name, nor the manner in which the registration will be used, infringes the legal rights of third parties;
*Registrant must sign and provide a statement declaring that they will use the domain name for the promotion of, providing public awareness of, and⁄or offering Applicant’s goods and services.
In addition, Applicant’s Legal Team will at least twice per year perform a manual review of a random sampling of domain names within the applied-for TLD to test the accuracy and authenticity of the WHOIS information. Through this review, Legal Team will examine the WHOIS data for evidence of inaccurate or incomplete WHOIS information. In the event that such errors or missing information exists, it shall be forwarded to the registrar, who shall be required to address such deficiencies with their registrants. Within a reasonable time period, Legal Team will examine the current WHOIS data for names that were alleged to be inaccurate or incomplete to determine if the information was corrected, the domain name was deleted, or there was some other disposition. If the Legal Team identifies such information, it will contact the appropriate Applicant business entity to obtain accurate contact information.
The .EverBank 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. Indeed, Applicant views the provision of an always-on, accurate, and thick WHOIS database as crucial to the proper operation of the UDRP and URS systems.
Applicant will not allow a grace period for any domain name during the life of the TLD.
-Handling of Complaints Regarding Abuse
In addition the Rights Protection mechanisms addressed above, the Applicant will implement a number of measures to handle complaints regarding the abusive registration of domain names in its TLD as described in EverBank’s response to Question 28.
-Registry Acceptable Use Policy
One of the key policies for each new gTLD registry is the need for 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 Abuse Policy, set forth in our response to Question 28, will include prohibitions on phishing, pharming, dissemination of malware, fast flux hosting, botnetting, 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, though no registrations will be transferred outside of Applicant’s enterprise control.
-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. This includes 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 registrar will be notified and be given 48 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; alternatively, the registrar could provide a compelling argument to the Registry to keep the name in the zone. If the registrar has not taken the requested action after the 48-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.
Applicant will provide a Rights Protection Takedown Procedure (“Takedown Procedure”) modeled after the Digital Millennium Copyright Act’s notice-and-takedown procedure.
At all times, Applicant will publish on its home website at 〈NIC.EVERBANK〉 contact information for receiving rights protection complaints (Complaints) from rightsholders. At all times, Applicant will publish on its website at 〈NIC.EVERBANK 〉 the Takedown Procedure and the contact information for the Rights Contact.
Inquiries addressed to the Rights Contact will be forwarded to Applicant’s Legal Team who will remedy or deny any Complaint regarding an alleged violation of the rights of the Complainant. Applicant will catalog all rights infringement communications and provide them to third parties only under limited circumstances, such as in response to a subpoena or other such court order or demonstrated official need by law enforcement.
During the review of any Complaint, Legal Team will review the Complaint to determine whether it reasonably alleges the infringement of any legal right. If not, the Rights Contact will write a timely correspondence to Complainant stating that the subject of the complaint clearly does not violate its rights.
If the initial response does not resolve the matter, Legal Team will timely give the Complaint a full review. If a rights infringement is determined, the Rights Contact will alert the registry services provider to immediately suspend the resolution of the domain name. Legal Team will then immediately notify the registrant of the suspension of the domain name, the nature of the complaint, and provide the registrant with the option to respond or take down the infringing content within a timely fashion or the domain name will be canceled.
If the registrant responds within a timely period, its response will be reviewed by Legal Team for further review. If Legal Team is satisfied by the registrant’s response that no rights have been infringed, Legal Team will submit a timely request to the registry services provider to unsuspend the domain name. The Rights Contact will then timely notify the Complainant that its complaint was ultimately denied and provide the reasons for the denial. If the registrant does not respond within a timely fashion, the Rights Contact will notify the registry services provider to cancel the abusive domain name.
This Takedown Procedure will not prejudice either party’s election to pursue another dispute mechanism, such as URS or UDRP.
With the assistance of its back-end registry services provider, Applicant will meet its obligations under Section 2.8 of the Registry Agreement 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. Applicant will accordingly timely respond to legitimate law enforcement inquiries. Any 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 a timely resolution of the request.
In the event such request involves any infringing activity which can be validated by Applicant’s Legal Team, Rights Contact will timely notify the registry services provider to either suspend the domain name until the infringing activity is cured or cancel the domain name. If Legal Team determines that it is not an infringing activity, Rights Contact will timely provide the relevant law enforcement, governmental and⁄or quasi-governmental agency with the information supporting maintaining the name in the zone.
With regard to all such requests discussed above, Applicant will maintain records of all law enforcement and governmental requests or inquiries and will track such requests and inquiries using customer relations management tools.
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 Neustar 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 Neustar 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:
Product Management-4 employees
Customer Support-12 employees
The resources are more than adequate to support the rights protection mechanisms of the .EverBank registry.
In addition to the Neustar staff detailed above, within Applicant, two (2) persons shall be tasked with monitoring, reviewing, cataloging, and addressing RPM complaint issues. As the .EverBank TLD grows, and if RPM-related issues become more problematic and time-consuming, Applicant shall increase the number of employees on the RPM team and possibly engage the services of outside vendors to supplement its internal staff.
30(a)1. Security Policies
Applicant and our back-end operator, Neustar recognize the vital need to secure the systems and the integrity of the data in commercial solutions. The .EVERBANK registry solution will leverage industry-best security practices including the consideration of physical, network, server, and application elements.
Neustarʹs 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 CIS (Center for Internet Security). Policies are reviewed annually by Neustarʹs information security team.
The following is a summary of the security policies that will be used in the .EVERBANK registry, including:
1. Summary of the security policies used in the registry operations
2. Description of independent security assessments
3. Description of security features that are appropriate for .EVERBANK
4. List of commitments made to registrants regarding security levels
All of the security policies and levels described in this section are appropriate for the .EVERBANK registry.
30(a)2. Summary of Security Policies
Neustar 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 policies for internal users and our 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 Neustarʹs information resources.
-Rules and principles used at Neustar to approach information security issues
The following policies are included in the Program:
1. Acceptable Use Policy
The Acceptable Use Policy provides the rules of behavior covering all Neustar Associates for using Neustar resources or accessing sensitive information.
2. 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.
3. 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.
4. 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.
5. Security Awareness and Training Policy
The Security Awareness and Training Policy provides the requirements for managing the on-going awareness and training program at Neustar. This includes awareness and training activities provided to all Neustar Associates.
6. 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.
7. Physical and Environmental Controls Policy
The Physical and Environmental 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.
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.
9. 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.
10. Network Security Policy
The Network Security Policy covers aspects of Neustar network infrastructure and the technical controls in place to prevent and detect security policy violations.
11. 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.
12. Mobile Device Security Policy
The Mobile Device Security 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.
13. 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.
14. 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.
15. Project and System Development and Maintenance Policy
The Project 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)3. Independent Assessment Reports
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.
An 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
-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 managementʹs prioritization of remediation efforts. Tactical and strategic recommendations are provided to management, supported by reference to industry best practices.
30(a)4. Augmented Security Levels and Capabilities
There are no increased security levels specific for .EVERBANK. However, Neustar will provide the same high level of security provided across all of the registries it manages.
A key to Neustarʹs Operational success is Neustarʹs 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 Neustarʹs 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)
-Are focused on continuous process improvement (metrics driven with product scorecards reviewed monthly).
A summary view to Neustarʹs security policy in alignment with ISO 17799 can be found in section 30(a)5 below.
30(a)5. Commitments and Security Levels
The .EVERBANK registry commits to high security levels that are consistent with the needs of the TLD. These commitments include:
Compliance with High Security Standards
-Security procedures and practices that are in alignment with ISO 17799
-Annual SOC 2 Audits on all critical registry systems
-Annual Third Party Penetration Tests
-Annual Sarbanes Oxley Audits
Highly Developed and Document Security Policies
-Compliance with all provisions described in section 30.(b) and in the attached security policy document
-Resources necessary for providing information security
-Fully documented security policies
-Annual security training for all operations personnel
High Levels of Registry Security
-Multiple redundant data centers
-High Availability Design
-Architecture that includes multiple layers of security
-Diversified firewall and networking hardware vendors
-Multi-factor authentication for accessing registry systems
-Physical security access controls
-A 24x7 manned Network Operations Center that monitors all systems and applications
-A 24x7 manned Security Operations Center that monitors and mitigates DDoS attacks
-DDoS mitigation using traffic scrubbing technologies
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