THE MISSION AND PURPOSE OF THE NEW RESTRICTED .SAS 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 .sas gTLD will operate as a restricted registry, in which SAS AB (publ) (SAS) can create and control domain spaces that promote their brand’s identity and authenticity. In this regard, .sas will be used by SAS to provide information, services and resources to consumers in a way that promotes trust, innovation and simplicity. The .sas gTLD will provide an authoritative internet space for SAS and its affiliates to interact with its customers. Second and third level domain names can then be utilised to create simplicity within the Universal Resource Locator (URL) structure, booking flows, content pages and other online services, with internet users assured of brand authenticity.
SAS is the ultimate holding company in the SAS group, who through its wholly owned subsidiaries SAS Sverige AB, SAS Norge AS and SAS Danmark A⁄S, is the indirect owner of the consortium Scandinavian Airline System Denmark-Norway-Sweden (SAS Consortium). The business objectives of SAS are to directly or indirectly conduct air traffic operations chiefly through the SAS Consortium, other transport, travel-related business as well as any ancillary services. SAS has been engaged in commercial air traffic business since the 1950s and SAS is now the largest airline in Scandinavia and offers flights to and from Europe, Asia and the USA. Over many years, SAS has had a leading role in aviation industry, being the first airline flying on the trans-arctic route, offering a European-wide electronic reservation system and being one of the founding airlines of Star Alliance. SAS focuses on innovation and simplicity in its online presence as reflected in its new “4Excellence” strategic platform launched in 2011, which will be complimented by the introduction of the new .sas gTLD.
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 .sas gTLD will facilitate greater trust and assurance from internet users connecting with SAS online, whilst still allowing convenient and efficient interaction.
SAS’s mission and purpose of the proposed new gTLD share ICANN’s initiatives to promote public interest. SAS is committed to contribute towards achieving such initiatives in line with ICANN’s Affirmation of Commitments, which includes:
- consumer trust: the .sas gTLD registry will be operated in a centralised manner with a restrictive registration policy. Registration of domain names will only be available to SAS and its affiliate entities, which will provide added consumer trust that .sas domain names are trustworthy. As .sas domain names are subject to registration standards, policies and procedures under SAS’s control, this eliminates the possibility of malicious conduct within the .sas domain space;
- competition: the proposed new gTLD is not intended to instigate competition and consumer choice among prospective registrants. Instead it is anticipated to contribute to ICANN’s initiatives to promote public interest through its operation focussed on strengthening and improving consumer trust. Increased trust in .sas 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 SAS’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 SAS. As SAS has effective control over the registration and use of domain names under .sas domain space, this will also contribute towards general service innovations on the internet.
Given the restricted nature of the .sas gTLD, the projected number of registration is likely to be limited. It is anticipated that a more limited number (up to 100) of domain names will be registered in the first year. However, over the next few years, the number of registrations is likely to increase, with up to 500 domain names to be registered as SAS develops and implements new services and marketing campaigns. At a later stage, SAS may consider offering the use of second level domain names to its eligible business partners. SAS will keep ICANN reasonably informed of any material developments relating to the .sas gTLD, including compliance with the continued operations instrument obligations as set out in Specification 8 of the Registry Agreement.
SAS 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 policies and the proposed measures for protection of geographic names as outlined in response to Question 22, SAS will use geographic names to localise its websites in the countries in which it operates, initially Sweden, Norway and Denmark. 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.
SAS will also utilise Internationalized Domain Names (IDNs) at the second level of domain names, initially including: Swedish, Norwegian and Danish. The use of IDNs will allow internet users to engage with .sas in their native language, creating a more positive user experience and encouraging diversity. As the use of the .sas gTLD evolves, it is anticipated that the use of IDNs, including additional languages, will increase within the .sas domain space.
SAS is a well-recognised global brand with word marks registered in 7 countries and territories and device marks registered in 83 countries and territories, including registrations for, but not limited to, the following categories: Vehicles (apparatus for locomotion by land, air or water (Class 12); Advertising, business management, business administration, office functions (Class 35); Building, construction, repair, installation services (Class 37); Transport, packaging and storage of goods, travel arrangements (Class 39); Services for providing food and drink, temporary accommodation (Class 43).
SAS has 14 existing domain names that have an exact match to the SAS marks, including in the following spaces:
- gTLDs: .info, .mobi
- ccTLDS: .ru, .eu, .pl, .cn, .se, .no, .dk
Additionally, SAS has over 200 ccTLDs and 100 gTLDs registered containing the SAS trademark.
Recently, SAS was successful in securing sunrise application for the following domain spaces based on existing trademark registration: .eu, .mobi.