THE MISSION AND PURPOSE OF THE NEW RESTRICTED .POLO gTLD IS TO BENEFIT INTERNET USERS BY ENSURING INCREASED TRUST AND CONFIDENCE THROUGH THE ELIMINATION OF USER CONFUSION AND ASSURANCE OF BRAND AUTHENTICITY. The new .polo gTLD will operate as a restricted registry, in which Ralph Lauren... Read more
THE MISSION AND PURPOSE OF THE NEW RESTRICTED .POLO gTLD IS TO BENEFIT INTERNET USERS BY ENSURING INCREASED TRUST AND CONFIDENCE THROUGH THE ELIMINATION OF USER CONFUSION AND ASSURANCE OF BRAND AUTHENTICITY.
The new .polo gTLD will operate as a restricted registry, in which Ralph Lauren Corporation (RLC) can create and control domain spaces that promote its brand identity and authenticity. In this regard, the .polo gTLD will be used by RLC to provide information, services and resources of its POLO brand to consumers in a way that promotes trust, convenience and utility. The .polo gTLD will provide an authoritative internet space for RLC, its affiliates and partners that are associated with the brand, with internet users assured of brand authenticity. Domain names under the .polo gTLD can then be utilised to communicate to a global audience as a single digital location for POLO, enhancing RLC's ability to productively market, promote and sell POLO brand within the constantly evolving digital economy.
The RLC's POLO brand was founded by Ralph Lauren in 1967 and is a global leader in the design, marketing and distribution of premium lifestyle products. The range of POLO products includes men's, women's and children's apparel, accessories (including footwear), fragrances and home furnishings. The POLO brand is one of the strongest Ralph Lauren brands, with significant global awareness and reach, breadth of product, and multi-channel distribution. POLO branded products are currently distributed in approximately 40 countries worldwide and have a digital brand presence in over 30 countries. Over 7 million users visit the RLC website every month and and additional 20.4 million users search for POLO on Google per month. The proposed .polo gTLD will allow RLC to unify and reinforce a consistent digital brand presence for POLO, and aid in its continued differentiation of the POLO brand. In this regard, continuous innovation and consumer trust are paramount considerations in all of RLC's business 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 .polo gTLD will facilitate greater trust and assurance from internet users connecting with RLC online, whilst still allowing convenient and efficient interaction.
RLC's mission and purpose of the proposed new gTLD share ICANN's initiatives to promote public interest. RLC is committed to contribute towards achieving such initiatives in line with ICANN's Affirmation of Commitments, which includes:
- consumer trust: the .polo gTLD registry will be operated in a centralised manner with a restrictive registration policy. Registration of domain names will only be available to RLC and its affiliate entities, which will provide added consumer trust that .polo domain names are trustworthy. As .polo domain names are subject to registration standards, policies, and procedures under RLC's control, this eliminates the possibility of malicious conduct within the .polo 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. Increased trust in the .polo 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 RLC's marketing efforts through its ability to create new second and third level domain names on demand. These names will provide the consumers with more choices for interacting with RLC. As RLC has effective control over the registration and use of domain names under .polo domain space, this will also contribute towards general service innovations on the internet.
Given the restricted nature of the .polo gTLD, the projected number of registration is likely to be limited. It is anticipated that a more limited number of 5 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 500 domain names as RLC develops and implements new services and marketing campaigns.
As the new .polo gTLD expands and evolves, RLC may consider offering the use of second level domain names to its licenced resellers at a later date. In this endeavour, RLC will continue to comply with all operational, technical and policy requirements, as well as maintaining consumer trust and the stability of the internet. RLC will keep ICANN reasonably informed of any material developments relating to .polo gTLD including compliance with the continued operations instrument obligations as set out in Specification 8 of the Registry Agreement.
RLC intends to create relevant domain names for use including 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, RLC will use geographic names to localise its websites in the 40 countries in which its products are currently distributed. 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.
RLC also intends to utilise Internationalized Domain Names (IDNs) at the second level, in the following languages: French, German, Italian, Mandarin and Spanish. The use of IDNs will allow internet users to engage with .polo in their native language, creating a more positive user experience and encouraging diversity. As the use of the .polo gTLD evolves, it is anticipated that the use of IDNs, including additional languages, will increase within the .polo domain space.
POLO is a well-recognised global brand with its trademarks registered in 76 countries and territories for a variety of goods and services included, but not limited to, apparel, footwear and headgear for men, women and children, bags and leather accessories, home goods, textile goods, lighting and furniture and retail store services.
Further, RLC has an extensive portfolio of domain names including, existing domain names with an exact match to the "POLO" trademark and the applied for .polo gTLD in the following spaces:
- gTLDs: .com, .info, .jobs, .mobi
- country-code TLDs (ccTLDs): .ae, .ai, .cl, .co, .kids.us, .ph, .qa.
RLC also has over 600 domain names containing the "POLO" trademark together with other terms, in a number of gTLDs and ccTLDs.
RLC believes that the .polo gTLD is unlikely to cause confusion with either a generic term or any existing TLDs. RLC trademarks are a leading global brand with significant reputation worldwide. RLC has used the term POLO in conjunction with its premium lifestyle and fashion businesses for over 50 years. As such, POLO and the other RLC brands are well known worldwide.×