American Express Travel Related Services Company, Inc.
18.1 Mission and Purpose of .OPEN American Express Travel Related Services Company, Inc. (ʺTRSʺ), a subsidiary of American Express Company (ʺAmerican Expressʺ), has filed this application for the .OPEN gTLD with the intention of bringing to market a trusted, hierarchical, and intuitive... Read more
18.1 Mission and Purpose of .OPEN
American Express Travel Related Services Company, Inc. (ʺTRSʺ), a subsidiary of American Express Company (ʺAmerican Expressʺ), has filed this application for the .OPEN gTLD with the intention of bringing to market a trusted, hierarchical, and intuitive namespace for consumers to access content related to American Express brands and services worldwide. American Express is a global services company, providing customers with access to products, insights, and experiences that enrich lives and build business success. American Express content is accessible in multiple TLDs, including the .COM, .NET, and .ORG gTLDs, and the .CA, .CO.UK, and .US ccTLDs.
American Express OPEN (ʺOPENʺ) offers small business owners a wide range of tools, services and savings designed to meet their evolving payment and business needs, including, but not limited to:
- Charge and credit cards;
- Rewards on eligible spend and business-relevant rewards redemption options;
- Travel and concierge services; and
- Expense management tools and reporting.
TRS intends to submit three gTLD applications for the strings .AMEX, .AMERICANEXPRESS, and .OPEN.
American Express may analyze and evaluate other gTLD applications, as well as general market adoption, to determine short- and long-term potential best-in-class use case options to more effectively service and enhance its online strategy. 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 the new gTLDs.
Recognizing the potential dynamic evolution of the .OPEN gTLD as a trusted namespace, TRS has decided to file this application for .OPEN with the goals of protecting and enhancing American Expressʹ online presence and identity, expanding its marketing and promotional efforts, and providing a trusted channel for its brands and services online.
TRS intends to initially limit registration and use of domain names within the .OPEN gTLD to American Express and its applicable subsidiaries and affiliates. This initial use will allow TRS 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 TRS from ICANNʹs annual Code of Conduct Compliance requirements. TRS may also evaluate whether opportunities exist to carry out a new business strategy for the .OPEN gTLD that would both ensure continued sustainable operation of the registry, and expand the registry through fee-based registrations to parties other than TRS and its applicable subsidiaries and affiliates.
TRS has currently planned a four-stage rollout for the .OPEN gTLD (stages and time frames are estimates and will be subject to change based on a range of internal and external factors):
1) Stage 1
The initial stage of implementation of the .OPEN gTLD may involve American Express registering a limited number of second-level domain names.
This initial use is intended to provide American Expressʹ IT and security personnel with the time to run a number of tests to ensure seamless and secure access using .OPEN domain names, interoperability with various software and Web-based applications, and unbroken and secure use of all domain names. It is also intended to allow the appropriate TRS staff to coordinate with the internal and external staff responsible for the delegation and setup phases of the .OPEN gTLD to ensure proper transition from delegation to full operation.
2) Stage 2
Once all testing has been successfully completed, TRS may begin allocating domain names in .OPEN for more widespread internal use. During this same period of time, American Express may also 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 TRSʹ new .OPEN gTLD.
It is during Stage 2 that TRS may 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, it is likely that 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 TRSʹ business model.
3) Stage 3
Depending upon the analysis of the evaluations undertaken in Stage 2, TRS may begin to implement the migration of Internet traffic away from the TLDs in which American Expressʹ domain names are currently registered, toward the .OPEN gTLD. It is during this stage that TRS may also implement the decision to extend registration rights to a wider class of registrants, such as 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 American Expressʹ existing domain name portfolio; internal analysis of marketing initiatives; and the fact that TRS will have full control over the number of registrations in the .OPEN gTLD namespace, American Express 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 expansion implemented in Stage 3, American Express may assess whether its business plan and expansion strategy should be augmented by extending registration rights to a wider class of registrants, including, potentially, American Express OPEN customers. American Express anticipates that changes to the domain name industry may take at least five years to be realized and assessed. It is anticipated that any decision to expand the .OPEN gTLD beyond use by American Express and its applicable subsidiaries and affiliates will take into account this experience as well as the technical analysis of potential expansion.
Notwithstanding this potential future expanded use of the .OPEN namespace beginning in the sixth year of operation, TRS currently anticipates the implementation of a throttle mechanism to ensure that any potential expansions are controlled and responsible.
Specifically, under the throttle mechanism, TRS would cease registration of domain names to this potential expanded universe of registrants if and when TRS reaches 90 percent of the annual 50,000-domain name transaction limit currently provided for in the template Registry Agreement. TRS believes that it is prudent to incorporate this "time-out" into the business plan in order to reevaluate potential future growth and the necessary resources to ensure that this growth does not negatively impact the secure and stable operation of the .OPEN namespace when approaching the 50,000-domain name transaction threshold. This proposed "time-out" mechanism is described in greater detail in the responses to the financial questions (Question 45 through 50) of this application.
The potential use of the .OPEN gTLD by American Express will also be driven by American Expressʹ future business strategies.
Utilizing current projections based upon American Expressʹ existing businesses, future business plans, current domain name portfolio, and other strategic factors, American Express estimates that second-level domain name registrations will be in line with the projections set forth in the financial template provided in the response to Question 46 of this application.×