THE MISSION AND PURPOSE OF THE NEW RESTRICTED .QUEST GTLD IS TO BENEFIT INTERNET USERS BY ENSURING INCREASED TRUST AND CONFIDENCE THROUGH THE ELIMINATION OF USER CONFUSION AND ASSURANCE OF CREDIBILITY, REPUTATION AND BRAND AUTHENTICITY.
The .quest gTLD will create a new generation gTLD serving the interests of end users by providing an authoritative Internet space where information about products and services, resources and marketing for the Quest brand will be closely controlled by QNet Ltd. (QNet). The majority of the anticipated domain name registrations in .quest gTLD will be used in the promotion and communication of QNet’s products and services. Registration for second or third level domain names under .quest will be available to both QNet affiliate entities and to those parties appointed as independent representatives of Qnet, in accordance with the registration policy. A subset of domain names may also be created and used for communication and marketing purposes, tailored to specific geographic locations, with internet users assured of brand authenticity. The .quest gTLD aims to promote a global online network for QNet and to protect the reputation and credibility of QNet online.
QNet is part of the QI Group of companies, a multinational conglomerate comprising a dynamic group of companies with regional offices in Hong Kong, Singapore, Malaysia, Philippines and a wide range of subsidiary companies in over 30 countries. The QI Group was established in 1998 and has seven main businesses (telecommunications, lifestyle and leisure, luxury and collectibles, training and education, property development and project management, logistics and its flagship, a global direct selling and e-commerce business). The QI Group also has an interest in Quest International University Perak in Malaysia in conjunction the State Government of Perak. QNet is the main subsidiary of the QI Group and is active within the global direct selling and e-commerce business. QNet combined the then-recent phenomenon of e-commerce, with the long-established distribution method of network marketing and has its main markets in Asia, the Middle East, and Africa.
QNet is active in direct selling, the marketing and selling of products directly to consumers away from a fixed retail location, and operates with a network of independent representatives worldwide who sell products to Quest retail customers. QNet has its headquarters in Hong Kong and sells a wide variety of products within personal care, home care, nutrition, holiday packages, etc. QNet is also a member of various industry bodies such as the Direct Selling Association Singapore (DSAS). QNet was recognised as a ‘Caring Company’ by the Hong Kong Council of Social Service for the past 3 years, which credits companies with a high standard of organisational practices. Furthermore, QNet was awarded with a CaseTrust (Storefront) accreditation for Good Business Practices, for fair and ethical business practices, sales and after-sales service, well-trained staff, well-maintained facilities, and good business integrity.
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 .quest gTLD will facilitate greater trust and assurance of authenticity from internet users connecting with QNet and QNet’s network of independent representatives online, whilst still allowing convenient and efficient interaction.
QNet’s mission and purpose of the gTLD share ICANN’s public interest promotion goals. QNet is committed to contribute towards achieving the outcomes from such initiatives as are in line with ICANN’s Affirmation of Commitments, which includes:
- consumer trust: .quest will be operated in a centralised manner with a restrictive registration policy. Registration of domain names will only be available registrants who meet the strict eligibility criteria as set out in QNet’s registration policy. This will provide added consumer trust that .quest domain names are trustworthy and will allow internet users to clearly distinguish between real products and brands and forfeited products. As .quest domain names are subject to registration standards, policies and procedures under QNet’s control, this eliminates the possibility of malicious conduct within .quest;
- competition: the 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 .quest 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 gTLD will enable user-driven improvements and innovations assisting QNet’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 QNet. As QNet has effective control over the registration and use of domain names under .quest, this will also contribute towards general service innovations on the internet.
The nature of .quest will be restricted and will mainly extend to QNet’s global network of independent representatives (IRs). Given that QNet works with a very elaborate network of IRs worldwide, it is estimated that in the first few years up to 50,000 domain names could be registered. Depending on the number of IRs and the eligibility criteria as set out in the registration policy, the projected number of registration could further increase substantially over the years as QNet implements new services and marketing campaigns.
QNet 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, QNet will use geographic names to localise its websites in the countries in which its network of IRs is active and targets customers. 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.
QNet does not intend to utilise Internationalized Domain Names (IDNs) at the second level initially. However, as the .quest gTLD evolves, it is anticipated that QNet will utilise IDNs to allow internet users to engage with .quest in their native language, creating a more positive user experience and encouraging diversity.
‘Quest’ is a well-recognised global brand with the QI Group’s ‘Questnet’ trademark registered in Hong Kong for the following categories: 9 (recorded tapes), 16 (paper, cardboard and goods made from these materials (not included in other classes), 35 (advertising, business management) and 41 (promotion). The trademark will be licenced to QNet for the purpose of operating .quest.
QNet has existing domain names with an exact match to, or containing, the ‘Quest’ Trademark and the applied for string:
- gTLDs: .net, .com, .xxx, .biz, .info and .org
- country-code TLDs (ccTLDs): .us, .tv, .cc and .ws
Recently, QNet was successful in securing a registration for a .xxx domain name during the sunrise phase of the registry’s launch, based on Questʹs existing trademark registrations.