18(a). Describe the mission/purpose of your proposed gTLD.
THE MISSION AND PURPOSE OF THE NEW RESTRICTED .UBANK gTLD IS TO BENEFIT INTERNET USERS BY ENSURING INCREASED TRUST, CONVENIENCE AND UTILITY.
The .ubank gTLD will serve the interests of end users by providing an authoritative Internet space where information, services and resources of the brand will be closely controlled by National Australia Bank Ltd (“NAB”). UBank is a division of NAB and operates under the banking licence of NAB, one of Australia’s largest banks. The majority of the anticipated domain name registrations in the .ubank gTLD will be used in the promotion and communication of NAB’s UBank brand and its banking and financial services. NAB may, at a later date, create personalised domain names on behalf of its customers to provide a personal and secure user experience while maintaining increased customer trust and brand authenticity online. In this endeavour, NAB will continue to comply with all operational, technical and policy requirements, as well as maintaining consumer trust and the stability of the internet.
NAB is a financial services organisation with over 40,000 employees across the globe. NAB is ranked the 17th largest bank in the world measured by market capitalisation and operates major financial services business in Australia, New Zealand, Asia, the United Kingdom and the United States. NAB established UBank in 2008 as a ‘branchless’ bank, interacting with its customers through telephone and internet banking services. As an online banking service, customer trust and continuous innovation are paramount considerations in all of its business activities. .ubank will increase such trust and innovation by presenting an authoritative internet space in which customers can securely interact and transact with UBank.
With the expansion of the current domain name system, business activities conducted on the internet are changing and evolving with increased complexity. The volume of commercial transactions carried out over the internet is constantly growing, 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 .ubank gTLD will provide a secure domain space for customers to interact and transact, encouraging greater consumer trust and confidence in the authenticity of the UBank brand, products and services as presented online.
NAB’s proposed use of the new .ubank gTLD is consistent with ICANN’s initiatives to promote public interest in this space. NAB is committed to contributing towards achieving such initiatives in line with ICANN’s Affirmation of Commitments, which includes:
- consumer trust: the .ubank gTLD registry will be operated in a centralised manner with a restrictive registration policy. Initially, registration of domain names will only be available to NAB and its affiliate entities. This will provide added consumer trust that .ubank domain names are trustworthy. As .ubank domain names are subject to registration standards, policies and procedures under NAB’s control, this eliminates the possibility of malicious conduct within the .ubank space;
- competition: the proposed new gTLD is not intended to instigate competition and consumer choice among prospective registrants at the level of registration of domain names. Instead, it is anticipated that it will contribute to such initiatives through an operation focused on promoting consumer trust. Increased trust in the .ubank 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 NAB’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 NAB through UBank. As NAB has effective control over the registration and use of domain names under .ubank domain space, this will also contribute towards general service innovations on the internet.
Given the restricted nature of the .ubankgTLD, the projected number of registrations is likely to be limited. It’s anticipated that a more limited number of domain names (up to 50) will be registered in the first year. However, over the next few years, the number of registrations is likely to increase to about 100 domain names as new services and marketing campaigns are developed and implemented. As the .ubank gTLD evolves and expands, NAB will keep ICANN reasonably informed of any material developments relating to the .ubank gTLD, including compliance with the continued operations instrument obligations as set out in Specification 8 of the Registry Agreement.
NAB will be able to create relevant domain names for use including products and services in the second or third level domain. In accordance with registration policies and the proposed measures for protection of geographic names as outlined in response to Question 22, NAB may use geographic names at a later stage to localise its website relevant to its operations. 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 territory.
NAB is one of the largest banks in the world and has a well-recognised global brand and reputation. NAB currently has registered trade marks in five countries and territories, including trademarks registered for UBank in two countries and territories and pending trademarks for UBank in 18 countries. NAB’s trademark registration for the UBank brand includes but not limited to the following categories: business advisory, consultancy and information services (Class 35); Insurance, banking and financial services, financial planning, analysis, management and organisation assistance, advice and consultancy; online banking, financial and insurance services; banking services and financial services provided via a global computer network (Class 36); Telecommunication services, telecommunication services relating to baking, financial and insurance affairs (Class 38).
Further, NAB has existing domain names registered for UBank in the following spaces:
- gTLDs: .asia
- country-code TLDS (ccTLD): .cm, .co.nz, .com.au, .jp, .net.au, .net.nz
Recently, NAB was successful in securing a sunrise application for UBank in the .co domain space based on existing trademark registration.