THE MISSION AND PURPOSE OF THE NEW RESTRICTED .COMPARE GTLD IS TO BENEFIT INTERNET USERS AND CONSUMERS BY ENSURING INCREASED TRUST AND CONFIDENCE THROUGH THE ELIMINATION OF USER CONFUSION AND ASSURANCE OF BRAND AUTHENTICITY.
The new .compare gTLD will operate as a restricted registry, in which iSelect Ltd (iSelect) can create and control domain spaces that promote its brand identity and authenticity. In this regard,.compare will be used by iSelect, its affiliates and partners to provide authoritative information and resources to consumers regarding its innovative online comparison and advisory services for purchasing household products in a way that promotes trust, accessibility and utility. Second and third level domains can then be utilised for specific product and service categories and for marketing purposes, with internet users assured of brand authenticity.
iSelect is an Australian online company that provides innovative services for consumers compare, select and purchase household products that best suit their needs. iSelect was founded in 2000 as a private health insurance intermediary and quickly became Australia’s leading, fastest growing destination for consumers to compare, select and purchase health insurance. iSelect’s innovative comparison website, iselect.com.au, has expanded and now offers tools for consumers to compare a range of household products and services, including health insurance, life, car and travel insurance, home loans and mobiles. Around 250,000 consumers engage iSelect’s unique comparison and advisory services each month looking to find a better solution for their household products and services. In 2007, the iSelect’s health insurance sales increased 116% and its estimated share of Australian health insurance sales was approximately 8%, which has continued to grow strongly. As measured by Hitwise, Australiaʹs independent internet measurement company, iselect.com.au is one of the most visited health insurance websites in Australia and consistently wins a “top 10 website” award for the health insurance category. In this regard, consumer trust and continuous innovation are paramount considerations in all its activities. .compare will improve consumer experience and thus strengthen iSelect’s reputation by streamlining the process of consumers accessing their desired products or services and further simplify the comparison and decision-making process. These goals will be complemented by iSelect’s separate applications for .iselect and .select.
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. .compare will facilitate greater trust and assurance from internet users connecting with iSelect online, whilst still allowing convenient and efficient interaction.
iSelect’s mission and purpose of the gTLD share ICANN’s initiatives to promote public interest. iSelect is committed to contribute towards achieving such initiatives in line with ICANN’s Affirmation of Commitments, which includes:
-consumer trust: .compare will be operated in a centralised manner with a restrictive registration policy. Registration of domain names will only be available to iSelect and its affiliate entities, at this stage, which will provide added consumer trust that .compare domain names are trustworthy. As .compare domain names are subject to registration standards, policies and procedures under iSelect’s control, this eliminates the possibility of malicious conduct within the .compare domain space;
-competition: the .compare 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 .compare 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 iSelect’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 iSelect. As iSelect has effective control over the registration and use of domain names under .compare, this will also contribute towards general service innovations on the internet.
Given the restricted nature of .compare, the projected number of registration is likely to be limited, with about 100 to 300 domain names to be registered in the first three years. This number is likely to increase as iSelect implements new products, services and marketing campaigns.
As the use of the .compare gTLD evolves, iSelect may consider expanding the use of .compare’s gTLD’s registration process at a later date. Such expansion processes will comply with all policy, operational and technical requirements and will adhere to applicable measures to protect consumer trust and maintain stability of the internet. iSelect will keep ICANN reasonably informed of any material developments relating to .compare including compliance with the continued operations instrument obligations as set out in Specification 8 of the Registry Agreement.
iSelect intends to create relevant domain names including household product and service categories at the second or third level. In accordance with registration policy and the proposed measures for protection of geographic names as outlined in response to Question 22, iSelect may use geographic names to localise its websites if it enters new geographical markets. The use of geographic names would be intended to:
-connect internet users with relevant information as applicable to the territory; and
-comply with required rules and regulations in the national territory.
At this stage, iSelect does not intend to utilise Internationalized Domain Names (IDNs) at the second level. However, as the use of the .compare gTLD evolves, iSelect may wish to utilise IDNs to allow internet users to engage with .compare in their native language, creating a more positive user experience and encouraging diversity.
iSelect is a well-recognised Australian brand with its “ICOMPARE” pending trademark application in Australia for Advertising and business services including price comparison and analysis services relating to consumer goods such as insurance, loans and telecommunications (Class 35) and Insurance and financial services including advisory services for comparing financing of such consumer goods (Class 36). Further, iSelect’s wholly owned subsidiary, iSelect Health Pty Ltd, holds its “compare, select and save” trademark registered for the above classes.
iSelect has 27 existing domain names containing the term “compare” including the following:
-gTLDs: comparechoose.com, comparedecide.com and compareexpert.asia
-ccTLDs: compareselectandsave.com.au, gocompare.com.au, icompare.co and compareswitch.co.uk
iSelect believes that the .compare gTLD is unlikely to cause confusion with either a generic term or any existing TLDs. iSelect trademarks are a leading brand with significant reputation in Australia. iSelect has used the term compare in conjunction with its health insurance comparison business for almost 12 years. As such, the iSelect brand is well known for offering consumers a simple way to compare, select and save on health insurance and other household products.