THE MISSION AND PURPOSE OF THE NEW RESTRICTED .MAIF gTLD IS TO BENEFIT INTERNET USERS BY ENSURING INCREASED TRUST AND CONSUMER CONFIDENCE THROUGH THE ELIMINATION OF USER CONFUSION AND ASSURANCE OF BRAND AUTHENTICITY. The new .maif gTLD will operate as a restricted registry, in which Mutuelle... Read more
THE MISSION AND PURPOSE OF THE NEW RESTRICTED .MAIF gTLD IS TO BENEFIT INTERNET USERS BY ENSURING INCREASED TRUST AND CONSUMER CONFIDENCE THROUGH THE ELIMINATION OF USER CONFUSION AND ASSURANCE OF BRAND AUTHENTICITY.
The new .maif gTLD will operate as a restricted registry, in which Mutuelle Assurance des Instituteurs de France (MAIF) can create and control domain spaces that promote its brand identity and authenticity. In this regard, the .maif gTLD will be used by MAIF as an authoritative internet space to provide information and resources in relation to its insurance products and services to consumers in a way that promotes confidence, brand reputation, convenience and utility. Second and third level domains can then be utilised in order to differentiate MAIF from its competitors, promote its values and to provide topic/interest-specific information, with internet users assured of brand authenticity.
MAIF is a French mutual society insurance founded by and for its members in 1980, with a number of subsidiaries including Filia-MAIF (for customers who share the values of MAIF but whose professions do not allow them to join MAIF as a member), Parnasse-MAIF (life insurance) and Atlantis Seguros (the Spanish subsidiary of MAIF). MAIF has its headquarters in Niort, France, with over 6,000 employees. MAIF is a leading insurance provider in France with strong reputation in car insurance, daily life and home insurance products. The non-life insurance sector of MAIF had over 2 million members (as at 31 December 2010) with over EUR 2,361 million in contributions. For the year ending on 31 December 2010, the life insurance activity of MAIF grew over 20% in 2010 with MAIF administering over EUR 12,446 million in assets. MAIF is one of the largest car and home insurers in France (based upon the number of insured cars and properties) and is the 2nd biggest life insurer.
MAIF aims to provide quality customer service and has been awarded several prizes including the first prize for client relations in the insurance sector for the 8th time consecutively since 2003. This prize is awarded on the basis of a client satisfaction survey organized each year by Taylor Nelson Sofrès and Bearingpoint. MAIF was also ranked at the top of the list of most appreciated companies by its customers in 2007, a classification drawn up by the Net Management Journal and has been ranked at the top of the Relationship Score since 2004, classification drawn up by the ‘Association des Agences Conseil en Communication'. MAIF is committed to its role as a proactive insurance company and in this regard, consumer trust and continuous innovation are paramount considerations in all its activities.
Since the inception of the current domain name system, business activities conducted on the internet are constantly changing and evolving with increased complexity. The volume of commercial transactions over the internet is constantly growing and bringing benefits of simplicity and lowered transaction costs to businesses and consumers. However, at the same time, criminal activities over the internet including data breach, hacking and phishing activities have also become more sophisticated resulting in loss of consumer confidence beyond mere monetary harm. The .maif gTLD will facilitate greater trust and assurance from internet users connecting with MAIF online, whilst still allowing convenient and efficient interaction.
MAIF's mission and purpose of the proposed new gTLD share ICANN's initiatives to promote public interest. MAIF is committed to contribute towards achieving such initiatives in line with ICANN's Affirmation of Commitments, which includes:
- consumer trust: the .maif gTLD registry will be operated in a centralised manner with a restrictive registration policy. Registration of domain names will only be available to MAIF, at this stage, which will provide added consumer trust that .maif domain names are trustworthy. As .maif domain names are subject to registration standards, policies and procedures under MAIF's control, this eliminates the possibility of malicious conduct within the .maif domain space;
- competition: the proposed new gTLD is not intended to instigate competition and consumer choice at the level of registration of domain names among prospective registrants. Instead it is anticipated to contribute to ICANN's initiatives to promote public interest through its operation focused on promoting consumer trust and high customer satisfaction. Increased trust in the .maif gTLD will drive existing and new top level domain (TLD) registry operators to make improvements in mechanisms to improve consumer trust of their TLDs; and
- consumer choice: the proposed new gTLD will enable user-driven improvements and innovations assisting MAIF's marketing efforts through its ability to create new second and third level domain names on demand to provide more direct communication to different target groups and to provide more product-specific, group-specific or marketing-specific content. These names will provide the consumers with more choices for interacting with MAIF. As MAIF has effective control over the registration and use of domain names under .maif domain space, this will also contribute towards general service innovations on the internet.
Given the restricted nature of the .maif gTLD, the projected number of registration is likely to be limited. It is anticipated that around 50 domain names will be registered in the first year. However, over the next few years, the number of registrations is likely to increase to about 400 domain names as MAIF develops and implements new services and marketing campaigns.
MAIF intends to create relevant domain names for use including target groups, product, services or geographic names in the second or third level domain names. In accordance with registration policy and the proposed measures for protection of geographic names as outlined in response to Question 22, MAIF may use geographic names to localise its websites in the countries in which it operates. The use of geographic names is intended to:
- connect internet users with relevant information as applicable to the territory; and
- comply with required rules and regulations in the national territory.
MAIF will also utilise Internationalized Domain Names (IDNs) at the second level, initially in French. The use of IDNs will allow internet users to engage with .maif in their native language, creating a more positive user experience and encouraging diversity.
MAIF is a very well-recognised brand in France and the rest of Europe with its trademarks registered in France and the European Community for the following categories: 35 (advertising, business management), 36 (insurance, financial affairs, banking affairs, monetary affairs), 38 (telecommunications) and 44 (medical services).
Further, MAIF has an extensive portfolio of existing domain names, with 472 gTLDs and 448 country-code TLDs (ccTLDs). 29 of MAIF's registered domain names match the "MAIF" trademark and the applied-for string, in the following spaces:
- gTLDs: maif.eu, maif.info, maif.jobs, maif.biz
- ccTLDs: maif.com.es, maif.be, maif.us
Recently, MAIF was successful in securing sunrise application for the following domain spaces based on existing trademark registration: maif.eu, maif.xxx.
MAIF believes that the .maif gTLD is unlikely to cause confusion with either a generic term or any existing TLDs. MAIF trademarks are a leading brand with significant reputation in France and Europe. MAIF has used the term "MAIF" in conjunction with its insurance businesses for over 30 years and is one of the biggest French insurance groups. As such, the MAIF brand is well known for its insurance activities (life and non-life insurances) and is well established and a trusted names in the industry.×