18.1 Mission and Purpose of .STAPLES Staples, Inc. ("Staples") is the worldʹs largest office products company and a trusted source for office solutions. Staples provides products, services and expertise in the categories of office supplies, technology, furniture, Copy & Print, and cleaning... Read more
18.1 Mission and Purpose of .STAPLES
Staples, Inc. ("Staples") is the worldʹs largest office products company and a trusted source for office solutions. Staples provides products, services and expertise in the categories of office supplies, technology, furniture, Copy & Print, and cleaning and breakroom. In 2011, Staples had annual total sales of $25 billion and ranked second in the world in eCommerce sales. Staples customers include small and medium businesses as well as Fortune 100 companies. Staples has a presence in more than 26 countries throughout North and South America, Europe, Asia and Australia. Staples' headquarters is located outside of Boston, Massachusetts. The preservation of the Staples brand is of paramount importance to Staples in all aspects of its operations, including on the Internet.
Staples content is accessible in the .COM gTLD, as well as in many ccTLDs.
The intended future mission and purpose of the .STAPLES gTLD is to serve as a trusted, hierarchical, and intuitive namespace provided by Staples for Staples' customers and Internet users in general.
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 gTLDs. The .STAPLES gTLD is intended to be one of those .BRAND gTLDs, with the goal of protecting Staples' online presence and identity, expanding its marketing and promotion efforts, providing a secure channel for online products and services, and offering a platform through which to consolidate many of the intellectual property activities of Staples.
Staples intends to initially limit registration and use of domain names within the .STAPLES gTLD to Staples and its qualified subsidiaries and affiliates. This initial limited use will allow Staples 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 Staples from its annual Code of Conduct Compliance requirements.
After Stage 3 (see below), Staples will evaluate whether opportunities exist to carry out the business strategy for the .STAPLES gTLD through expansion that continues the sustainable operations of the registry through fee-based registrations to parties other than Staples and its qualified subsidiaries and affiliates.
Staples currently plans a four-stage rollout for the .STAPLES gTLD:
The initial stage of implementation of the gTLD will involve Staples registering a limited number of .STAPLES second-level domain names.
This initial use will provide Staples' IT and security personnel the time to run a number of tests to ensure seamless and secure access using the .STAPLES gTLD domain names, interoperability with various software and Web-based applications, and unbroken and secure use of all names. This initial allocation will also allow the appropriate Staples staff to coordinate with the internal and external staff responsible for the delegation and setup phases of the .STAPLES gTLD to ensure a proper transition from delegation to full operation.
Once all testing has been successfully completed, Staples will begin allocating domain names in .STAPLES for more widespread internal corporate use. During this same period of time, Staples will begin evaluating strategies to potentially migrate traffic away from its current patchwork network of second-level domain names, which are registered in a variety of TLDs, to Staples' new gTLD.
It is in Stage 2 that Staples will evaluate expanding the operations of the gTLD to permit registration by other registrants, such as licensees and/or strategic partners. Should an assessment of its expansion strategy lead to a decision to extend registration rights to other parties, this expansion is currently planned to take place during Stage 3. However, any expansion would be conditioned upon a review of Specification 9 (Registry Code of Conduct) set forth in the template Registry Agreement to ensure compliance with Staples' business model.
Depending on the analysis of the evaluations undertaken in Stage 2, Staples may implement the permanent migration of Internet traffic away from the TLDs in which Staples' domain names are currently registered, and toward the .STAPLES gTLD. It is in this stage that Staples also may implement its decision to extend registration rights to licensees and/or strategic partners, depending upon compliance with Specification 9 as noted above. The dates of such expansion are subject to change depending upon business, strategic, and industry factors at the time.
After consideration of the following factors: analysis of Staples' existing domain name portfolio, internal analysis of marketing initiatives, and the fact that Staples will have full control over the number of registrations in the .STAPLES gTLD namespace, Staples is confident that the number of domain name registrations will be less than 10,000 in the first five years of operation.
Based on its experience with any expansion implemented in Stage 3, Staples will assess whether its business plan and expansion strategy should be augmented by extending registration rights to a broader class of licensees, potentially including customers of Staples. It is anticipated by Staples that changes to the domain name industry, and particularly the impact of .BRAND gTLDs, will take at least five years to be realized and assessed. Any decision to expand the gTLDs beyond corporate, qualified subsidiary and affiliate, and licensee use will take into account this experience as well as the technical analysis of potential expansion. The potential use of the .STAPLES gTLD by these or other business segments will primarily be driven by Staplesʹ future business strategies.
Utilizing current projections based upon Staplesʹ existing businesses, future business plans, current domain name portfolio, and other strategic factors, Staples estimates that second-level domain name registrations will be in line with the projections set forth in the financial template provided in the answer to Question 46 of this application.×