THE MISSION AND PURPOSE OF THE NEW RESTRICTED .NETBANK 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 .netbank gTLD will operate as a restricted registry, in which the Commonwealth Bank of Australia (CBA) can create and control domain spaces that promote the brand identity and authenticity of NetBank (CBA’s internet banking application). In this regard, the .netbank gTLD will be used by CBA to provide information, services and resources regarding CBA’s online banking services to customers in a way that promotes trust, confidence and utility. The .netbank gTLD will provide an authoritative internet space for CBA, its affiliates and partners that are associated with the NetBank brand. Second and third level domain names can then be utilised for online banking, specific product and services websites and for communication and marketing purposes, with internet users assured of brand authenticity.
CBA is Australia’s leading provider of integrated financial products and services including retail, premium, business and institutional banking, funds management, superannuation, insurance, investments and stockbroking. As Australia’s largest retail bank, CBA has leading domestic market shares in retail deposits, home loans, personal loans, credit cards and discount stockbroking. In 2011, CBA was in the top 10 largest banks in the world by market capitalisation and was ranked equal 12th in Global Finance’s World’s 50 Safest Banks based on long-term credit ratings. CBA is listed on the Australian Stock Exchange with a current market capitalisation of approximately AUD70 billion, revenue in the 2011 financial year of AUD46 billion and over 52,000 employees. CBA is Australia’s leading online bank with over five million online banking customers. NetBank, CBA’s innovative, market-leading online banking website and application, is consistently in the top 10 most visited Australian websites. In this regard, consumer trust, brand reputation and continuous innovation are paramount considerations in all its activities. As well as strengthening CBA’s position as Australia’s leading online bank, the new .netbank gTLD will enhance consumer trust and confidence in CBA’s online brands by providing a more secure and authentic online banking environment. These goals will be complemented by CBA’s separate applications for the new .cba and .commbank gTLDs.
Business activities are increasingly conducted over the internet, allowing for greater levels of interaction between businesses and customers. As a result, both businesses and end users benefit from ease of interaction and a wider range of choices with lower transaction costs. However, the development in this arena in the current domain name system has exposed both businesses and consumers to increased criminal activities over the internet, including data breach, hacking and phishing. These sophisticated criminal activities cause reputational damage to businesses as internet users lose consumer confidence and trust with the businesses targeted by such criminal activities. The .netbank gTLD will facilitate greater trust and assurance from internet users connecting with CBA online, whilst still allowing convenient and efficient interaction.
CBA’s mission and purpose of the proposed new gTLD share ICANN’s initiatives to promote public interest. CBA is committed to contribute towards achieving such initiatives in line with ICANN’s Affirmation of Commitments, which includes:
- consumer trust: the .netbank gTLD registry will be operated in a centralised manner with a restrictive registration policy. Registration of domain names will only be available to CBA and its affiliate entities, at this stage, which will provide added consumer trust and confidence that .netbank domain names are completely secure, authentic and trustworthy. As .netbank domain names are subject to registration standards, policies and procedures under CBA’s control, this eliminates the possibility of malicious conduct within the .netbank 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 .netbank 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 CBA’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 CBA. As CBA has effective control over the registration and use of domain names under .netbank domain space, this will also contribute towards general service innovations on the internet.
Given the restricted nature of the .netbank gTLD, the projected number of registration is likely to be limited. It is anticipated that about 10 domain names will be registered in the first year. However, over the next few years, the number of registrations is likely to increase to around 50 domain names as CBA develops and implements new products, services and marketing campaigns.
As the .netbank gTLD expands and evolves, CBA will continue to comply with all operational, technical and policy requirements, as well as maintaining consumer trust and the stability of the internet. CBA will keep ICANN reasonably informed of any material developments relating to .netbank gTLD including compliance with the continued operations instrument obligations as set out in Specification 8 of the Registry Agreement.
CBA intends to create relevant domain names for online banking, products, services and geographic names at the second or third level. In accordance with registration policies and the proposed measures for protection of geographic names as outlined in response to Question 22, CBA will use geographic names to localise its websites in countries in which it operates. 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.
CBA does not intend to utilise Internationalized Domain Names (IDNs) at the second level at this stage. However, CBA may wish to use IDNs with the new .netbank gTLD in the future to allow internet users to engage with .netbank in their native language, creating a more positive user experience and encouraging diversity.
NetBank is a well-recognised Australian brand with its “NetBank” trademark registered in Australia for Insurance and financial services including online banking (Class 36). CBA has existing domain names with an exact match to its “NetBank” trademark and the applied-for .netbank string in the following spaces:
- gTLDs: netbank.asia and netbank.mobi.
- country-code TLDs (ccTLDs): netbank.com.au, netbank.net.au, netbank.cm, netbank.co, netbank.com.vn and netbank.vn.
CBA has one gTLD and three ccTLDs containing the “NetBank” trademark. Recently, CBA was successful in securing Sunrise application for the .xxx domain space based on existing trademark registration.CBA believes that the .netbank gTLD is unlikely to cause confusion with either a generic term or any existing TLDs. CBA trademarks are a leading brand with significant reputation in the Asia-Pacific region and particularly Australia. CBA has used the term NetBank in conjunction with its online banking businesses for 15 years. As such, the NetBank brand is well known for providing customers with innovative and market-leading online banking banking products and services.