Wal-Mart Stores, Inc.
18.1 Mission and Purpose of .ASDA Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. (ʺWalmartʺ) serves customers and members more than 200 million times per week around the world. Walmartʹs mission and founding principle is ʺsaving people money to help them live better,ʺ and Walmart has been recognized as a leader in... Read more
18.1 Mission and Purpose of .ASDA
Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. (ʺWalmartʺ) serves customers and members more than 200 million times per week around the world. Walmartʹs mission and founding principle is ʺsaving people money to help them live better,ʺ and Walmart has been recognized as a leader in sustainability, philanthropy, and employment opportunity. In the U.S., Walmart operates more than 4,400 retail facilities, including Walmart Stores and Samʹs Club warehouses. Walmart International operates more than 5,200 retail units in 27 countries outside the U.S. Walmart.com has been known for bringing the convenience, quality merchandise, and low prices of Walmart to the Internet. Walmart content is accessible in multiple TLDs, including the .COM, .NET, and .ORG gTLDs, and the .CA, .CO.UK, and .US ccTLDs.
ASDA is a Walmart subsidiary, operating more than 500 ASDA stores across the UK. While the stores vary in terms of size, location and the range of products and facilities offered, all offer the same low prices and friendly approach. ASDA is significant to the Walmart International segment, with net sales of $31.8 billion in FY 2011.
In recent years, Walmart has invested heavily in global eCommerce in order to reach more customers. In 2010, Walmart consolidated its eCommerce activities around the world in a Global eCommerce Division with three goals: 1) Develop and execute a global eCommerce strategy; 2) Accelerate global online channel growth; and 3) Create technology platforms and applications for every Walmart market. Walmart understands the impact that changing technology has had on retail and has dedicated eCommerce platforms around the world; the investments made in these platforms are helping to accelerate Walmartʹs growth in other markets. Walmart offers eCommerce sales through ASDA.com, its U.K. grocery home shopping network and a meaningful business, serving 97 percent of all U.K. customers.
The intended future mission and purpose of the .ASDA gTLD is to serve as a trusted, hierarchical, and intuitive namespace for the benefit of ASDAʹs customers and Internet users in general. Walmart will be the entity to bring the .ASDA gTLD to market and is also applying for .WALMART, .SAMSCLUB, .GEORGE, and .一号店 (the Walmart family of gTLDs).
Although ICANN has not specifically recognized a .BRAND gTLD specification in the current version of the Applicant Guidebook, it is widely anticipated within the brand owner community that this will become a specialty subset of new gTLDs. The .ASDA gTLD was planned as a .BRAND gTLD, with the goal of protecting ASDAʹs online presence and identity, expanding its marketing and promotional efforts, providing a secure channel for products and information online, and offering a platform on which to consolidate many of its intellectual property activities.
Walmart intends to initially limit registration and use of domain names within the .ASDA gTLD to Walmart, ASDA, and Walmart's qualified subsidiaries and affiliates. This initial use will allow Walmart to establish its operations and achieve full sustainability. This limited distribution, coupled with the other requirements set forth in Specification 9 of the template Registry Agreement, is intended to exempt Walmart from its annual Code of Conduct Compliance requirements.
Walmart has currently planned a four-stage rollout for the .ASDA gTLD:
1) Stage 1
The initial stage of implementation of the .ASDA gTLD will involve Walmart and ASDA registering a limited number of second-level domain names.
This initial use will provide Walmartʹs IT and security personnel with the time to run a number of tests to ensure seamless and secure access using .ASDA domain names, interoperability with various software and Web-based applications, and unbroken and secure use of all domain names. This initial allocation will also allow the appropriate Walmart staff to coordinate with the internal and external staff responsible for the delegation and setup phases of the .ASDA gTLD to ensure proper transition from delegation to full operation.
2) Stage 2
Once all testing has been successfully completed, Walmart will begin allocating domain names in .ASDA for more widespread internal use. During this same period of time, Walmart will begin evaluating strategies to potentially migrate traffic away from its current network of second-level domain names, which are registered in a variety of TLDs, to the new Walmart family of gTLDs.
It is during Stage 2 that Walmart will evaluate expanding the operations of the gTLD to permit registration by other registrants, including licensees and strategic partners. Should an assessment of its expansion strategy lead to a decision to extend registration rights to other parties, the expansion would take place during Stage 3. However, any expansion would be conditional upon a review of Specification 9 (Registry Code of Conduct), as set forth in the template Registry Agreement, to ensure compliance with Walmartʹs business model.
3) Stage 3
Depending upon the analysis of the evaluations undertaken in Stage 2, Walmart may begin to implement the permanent migration of Internet traffic away from the TLDs in which Walmartʹs domain names are currently registered, toward the Walmart family of gTLDs. It is during this stage that Walmart may also implement its decision to extend registration rights to a wider class of registrants, including licensees and strategic partners, depending upon compliance with Specification 9, as noted above. The dates of such an expansion are subject to change depending upon business, strategic, and industry factors at the time.
After consideration of the following factors: analysis of Walmartʹs existing domain name portfolio; internal analysis of marketing initiatives; and the fact that Walmart will have full control over the number of registrations in the .ASDA gTLD namespace, Walmart is confident that the number of domain name registrations will be less than 10,000 in the first five years of operation.
4) Stage 4
Based on its experience with any expansions implemented in Stage 3, Walmart will assess whether its business plan and expansion strategy should be augmented by extending registration rights to a wider class of registrants, including, potentially, ASDA customers. Walmart anticipates that changes to the domain name industry, particularly the impact of .BRAND gTLDs, will take at least five years to be realized and assessed. Any decision to expand the .ASDA gTLD beyond use by Walmart, ASDA and Walmart's qualified subsidiaries and affiliates will take into account this experience as well as the technical analysis of potential expansion.
The potential use of the .ASDA gTLD by ASDA will also be driven by Walmartʹs future business strategies as identified in its annual report and investor filings, see http://investors.walmartstores.com/phoenix.zhtml?c=112761&p=irol-irhome.
Utilizing current projections based upon ASDAʹs existing businesses, future business plans, current domain name portfolio, and other strategic factors, Walmart estimates that second-level domain name registrations will be in line with the projections set forth in the financial template provided in response to Question 46 of this application.×