THE MISSION AND PURPOSE OF THE NEW RESTRICTED .WOODSIDE 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 .woodside gTLD will operate as a restricted registry, in which Woodside Petroleum Limited (Woodside) can create and control domain spaces that promote its company’s identity and authenticity. In this regard, the .woodside gTLD will be used by Woodside to provide information, services and resources to consumers in a way that promotes trust, convenience and utility. The .woodside gTLD will provide an authoritative internet space for Woodside, its affiliates and partners that are associated with the brand. Second and third level domains can then be utilised for different parts of its business, relevant to its areas of operation, projects or geographic locations, with internet users assured of brand authenticity.
Woodside is an independent Australian oil and gas company playing a key role in supplying energy to the Asia-Pacific region. Woodside is one of the world’s leading producers of liquefied natural gas (LNG), helping to meet the demands for cleaner energy from Japan, China, Korea and other countries in the Asia-Pacific region. In 2011, Woodside delivered sales revenue of $4.8 billion and an operating profit of $1.5 billion. Woodside has offices in Australia, the US, Korea and China and has 3,856 employees worldwide. Woodside’s mission is to create and deliver outstanding, sustained growth in shareholder wealth with a vision to be a world-class LNG leader. In this regard, consumer trust and continuous innovation are paramount considerations in all its activities.
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 continually 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 .woodside gTLD will facilitate greater trust and assurance from internet users connecting with Woodside online, whilst still allowing convenient and efficient interaction.
Woodside’s mission and purpose of the proposed new gTLD share ICANN’s initiatives to promote public interest. Woodside is committed to contribute towards achieving such initiatives in line with ICANN’s Affirmation of Commitments, which includes:
- consumer trust: the .woodside gTLD registry will be operated in a centralised manner with a restrictive registration policy. Registration of domain names will only be available to Woodside and its affiliate entities, which will provide added consumer trust that .woodside domain names are trustworthy. As .woodside domain names are subject to registration standards, policies and procedures under Woodside’s control, this eliminates the possibility of malicious conduct within the .woodside 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 .woodside 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 Woodside’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 Woodside. As Woodside has effective control over the registration and use of domain names under .woodside domain space, this will also contribute towards general service innovations on the internet.
Given the restricted nature of the .woodside gTLD, the projected number of registration is likely to be limited. It is anticipated that a more limited number of domain names (35) will be registered in the first year. However, over the next few years, the number of registrations is likely to increase to about 80 domain names as Woodside develops and implements new services and marketing campaigns.
Woodside intends to create relevant domain names for use including project names, specific operations 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, Woodside will use geographic names to localise its websites in geographic regions in which it has offices, areas of business, operations and projects. 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.
Woodside does not intend to utilise Internationalized Domain Names (IDNs) at the second level initially. However, as the use of the .woodside gTLD evolves, it is anticipated that Woodside will utilise IDNs within the .woodside domain space to allow internet users to engage with .woodside in their native language, creating a more positive user experience and encouraging diversity.
Woodside is a well-recognised global brand with its trademarks registered in 10 countries and territories in which it operates in the categories relevant to the exploration and production of oil and gas, sale of condensate, LNG and similar products.
Further, Woodside has existing domain names which are an exact match to the ‘Woodside’ trademark and applied for string in the .co and .com.au domain spaces. Woodside also have existing domain names containing the ‘Woodside’ trademark and applied for string in the .biz, .com, .net and .xxx gTLDs.
Recently, Woodside was successful in securing sunrise application for the .xxx domain space based on existing trademark registration.