BENEFITS OF THE .KRD TLD
The main beneficiaries who will gain advantage from the introduction of the .krd TLD include:
1. ENTITIES WHO IDENTIFY WITH THE KURDISH LINGUISTIC AND CULTURAL GROUPS
As a space dedicated to the language and culture of the Kurdistan Region of Iraq, the .krd TLD will benefit audiences internationally, who identify with Kurdish linguistic and cultural Groups. This widely includes audiences who display a distinct interest in the culture and language of Kurdistan.
The .krd TLD will centralise the content relevant to this region, and provide interested parties with a global yet localised access to information that is currently scattered across the World Wide Web.
The beneficiaries will benefit from content being available in Kurdish and other languages in a space that is legible and relevant.
2. THE KURDISH DIASPORA
The Kurdish Diaspora consists of individuals connected to the Kurdistan Region by birth who currently reside outside of the region. The Kurdish diaspora is made up of millions of people who would benefit from an online identity which represents their cultural background and language. This online identity would be a portal to facilitating communication with others of the same or similar cultural and linguistic heritage. Equally, content developed in this space will support the preservation of this heritage abroad for generations to come.
3. INTERNET USERS
The .krd TLD will benefit Internet users by highlighting online content that is relevant to the Kurdistan Region, therefore reducing confusion associated with finding Kurdistan specific online content. As the .krd TLD gains a foothold online, navigation will become easier. The .krd namespace will attract more and more users over time, thus enhancing its reputation, and consequently improving its indexing status with search providers.
The .krd TLD will also generate traffic as a result of its logical naming structure, thereby providing accessibility for users. For example, the .krd TLD will overcome less intuitive domain name extensions currently existing online, such as; kurdishinformation.com.
4. BUSINESSES WITHIN and OUTSIDE OF THE KURDISTAN REGION
This online space will create new business opportunities and allow individuals to engage in new Kurdistan related outlets. Through the creation of the .krd TLD, businesses within the Kurdistan region will be able to leverage this unique TLD to promote their business within the Kurdistan Region of Iraq in a more direct manner, ultimately leading to more intuitive navigation.
Foreign businesses will also be in a position to create a local presence, and could use the .krd TLD to identify with, and ease their entry into the local market. For example, a foreign company who wishes to promote their activities within the Kurdistan Region would opt for a domain name of companyname.krd.
Similarly, businesses that promote the Kurdish language and culture in locations around the world, for example Kurdish restaurants or book, clothing or media stores, will be able to use the TLD to communicate their offering to their local audiences. These businesses will ultimately benefit from being able to directly access and communicate to their target markets.
5. RESIDENTS OF THE KURDISTAN REGION
The constituents of the Kurdistan region are identified as people who live in, or are associated with the Kurdistan region of Iraq. This includes around five (5) million people in Kurdistan and the millions of diaspora abroad.
These constituents will benefit from a uniquely Kurdish online cultural identity, creating an accessible space for their region and region specific information, which can be easily identified as authoritative, authentic and reliable. For example schools.krd would provide geographically relevant school information for teachers and students alike.
They will also benefit from the proliferation of Kurdish language content, supporting the mission and purpose of the .krd TLD to create a home for Kurdish culture online.
6. ENTITIES AFFILIATED WITH THE KURDISTAN REGIONAL GOVERNMENT
This includes Government Departments, Authorities and affiliates of the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) both within the region and abroad. These entities will be able to register domain names within the .krd TLD to better promote their services and activities and outreach to constituents, described at 5 above.
As the Registry Operator, the Department of IT of the KRG will benefit from having ultimate control of the TLD and the policy that underpins it. This will ensure that this policy serves the mission and purpose of the domain.
The .krd TLD will provide an immediately identifiable online space, for example, education.krd. The KRG, its ministries, their departments and affiliates will be able to reliably communicate Kurdistan government’s services and activities, to its audiences. With a new communications medium in place, the KRG will be able to significantly reduce their marketing budgets.
The .krd TLD will also provide a much needed digital space for the KRG’s e-government programme, which is designed to deliver transparency and efficient services to its constituents. The .krd TLD will benefit the KRG Department of IT by creating a single domain which will be used as the parent domain for all electronic government services. For example, egovernment.krd.
GOALS OF THE .KRD TLD
Expanding the online presence of the Kurdistan region, language and culture:
Individuals and organisations with an affiliation or interest in the Kurdistan region, locally and internationally will be encouraged to assume an online presence on this domain. This will be achieved by positioning the .krd TLD as the ‘must have’ domain for those wanting a link to the Kurdistan region, language and culture.
Increasing the availability of Kurdish content on the Internet:
As the majority of people in the Kurdistan region are Kurdish speakers, this domain will encourage the development of Kurdish language content. This will happen through targeted campaigns encouraging people to set up .krd portals online and populate them with Kurdish content.
It is anticipated that the Kurdish language will appear on most websites within the .krd TLD as these websites will be targeted towards the beneficiaries of the .krd TLD. The Kurdish diaspora will also contribute to the name space by provide content from a global perspective, and in languages other than Kurdish, thus enhancing the diversity of content within the .krd TLD namespace.
Creation of an online dedicated space for the Kurdistan region:
Establishment of this domain will provide a dedicated, branded and authentic space for the Kurdistan region. This will be achieved during and after the launch through targeted awareness and marketing campaigns.
It is anticipated that Registrant demand will support the achievement of this goal.
The short term goal of .krd is to create a dedicated, formal online space for the Kurdistan region. The medium term goal is to achieve recognition and reputation as the popular domain amongst those identifying as Kurdish in their region and internationally. The long term vision is to encourage the increase of Kurdistan language, culture and region relevant content on the Internet. The attainment of these goals will be achieved by respecting the values in the mission/purpose of the .krd TLD, and gaining the trust and confidence of registrants, and Internet users in this uniquely Kurdish online environment.
Promoting the reputation of the .krd TLD amongst registrants and Internet users will be key to achieving these stated goals. The success of the .krd TLD relies upon registrants recognising the value of .krd as the official space for those in the region and those who wish to associate with it. The .krd TLD will gain the reputation as the home for Kurdish people, language, culture, businesses and the KRG online.
Registration demand will be a key indicator of whether the .krd TLD has achieved its intended reputation The .krd TLD has projected registration targets of 730 at year 1, 1250 at year 2, and 1970 at year 3.
The applicant will also seek to measure the success of the .krd TLD, because registration volumes alone are not sufficient to determine the relevance of the .krd TLD to all its beneficiaries. One approach will be to monitor the position of .krd domains relative to other domains for the search terms “kurdistan”, “kurd”, “krg” and “kurdish” within the most popular search engines. It is important to note that the use of search engine optimisation techniques will not be employed, nor encouraged as it may actually reduce the benefits of the .krd TLD to its beneficiaries.
Search engine results will, however, be combined with web metrics to identify the percentage of non-referred requests, which will indicate the “mind share” within the online community. A web metrics organisation will be engaged for this purpose and their services offered to customers for free in return for aggregated (non-identifiable) traffic information. This data will help to quantify the success of the .krd TLD, and help registrants to quantify the success of their registrations, in terms of its relevance to Internet users.
Social media surveys and market studies will also be used to quantify success in terms of Internet users’ understanding of the reputation of the .krd TLD. These will be conducted at least once annually during the first five years following the TLD’s launch to track awareness, reputation and use of the .krd TLD.
As well as determining whether the reputation of the .krd TLD has been attained, the methods described above, will also help the Department of IT understand whether it’s goals have been achieved. In addition to this, surveys will be conducted to see whether registrants are increasing content on the Internet regarding the Kurdistan region, language and culture and whether Kurdish language content has increased.
ANTICIPATED CONTRIBUTION TO THE CURRENT SPACE
The Kurdistan Region of Iraq has enjoyed immense progress over the past decade, and is fast becoming a regional business and cultural hub. The beneficiaries of the .krd TLD will benefit greatly from having a dedicated online space promoting the region as a thought leader in the digital age at the same time building a sense of community for its citizens and diaspora, residents, organisations and businesses.
The .krd TLD will cater for the current and future needs of the language, culture and region providing an online platform for those seeking Kurdish content online to learn, communicate, collaborate and explore.
The .krd TLD will also make a significant contribution to the current space in the following ways:
The .krd TLD has a clear point of differentiation compared to other TLDs as a space designed specifically for content related to the Kurdistan language, culture and region. Other TLDs do not provide this. The .krd TLD will be a targeted and dedicated online space for those seeking Kurdish content online, as well as constituents, companies, organisations and Government entities within the Kurdistan Region and internationally. Therefore the .krd TLD will create clear benefits over existing TLDs by creating new opportunities for registrants to register a TLD that is relevant to them.
These points of differentiation of the .krd TLD will promote competition amongst existing TLDs by offering registrants, products and services, which are currently unavailable in existing TLDs.
REGISTRATION POLICIES IN SUPPORT OF THE .krd TLD
In order to encourage openness and innovation, the .krd TLD will not have wholly restrictive registration policies applied to it. Potential registrants have a multitude of backgrounds and interests, and as such no residency requirements will be demanded of potential registrants. However, the registration of a .krd TLD will be promoted to relevant companies, organisations and individuals who are deemed to be interested in learning about or have an interest in the Kurdistan language, culture and the region. Consequently, demand is expected to be the primary determinant of the relevancy of registrants.
A restricted word list will be developed through a dedicated committee, which will be comprised of relevant stakeholders from civil society, academia and government. The list will include words which do not respect the mission/purpose of the .krd TLD. However, the list is expected to be extremely limited, and is not intended to censor freedom of expression. No restrictions on content will be placed as content will not be monitored or censored.
The restricted word list will help to ensure that domain names adhere to the stated goals of the .krd TLD, and provide a reasonable platform for naming conventions. The openness of the registration policies is expected to encourage availability for the .krd TLD, and it is in the interests of the success of the .krd TLD that the policies put in place do not deter potential registrants from creating their own .krd online space.
PROTECTION OF PRIVACY AND CONFIDENTIAL INFORMATION
The KRG will establish all relevant security policies to ensure that its registrants are protected against misrepresentation and misuse of information.
OUTREACH AND COMMUNICATIONS ACTIVITIES
The KRG Department of IT will conduct a number of outreach and communications activities to promote awareness of the .krd TLD, and will initially focus on reaching the potential registrant market. The key aim of this activity will be to inform potential registrants of the existence of the .krd TLD and how to apply for .krd domain names. Focus will be directed towards the delivery of a suitable brand identity for .krd, which will be attractive and reflect the .krd TLD mission/purpose.
The marketing plan will be driven by two key objectives, each of which corresponds to the key beneficiaries of our TLD. These objectives are:
1. Raise general awareness of the .krd TLD within the Kurdistan Region of Iraq and internationally. Tactics to achieve this objective will include establishing brand identity and spreading the message about the launch of the .krd TLD by sponsoring conferences, which will be attended by top government officials, intellectuals, academia and thought leaders, community leaders, influential business people, and prominent figures from both Kurdistan and abroad. These conferences will take place during the start-up period and in years one, two and three. Feeding into the momentum of this initiative, the focus will then split in year two to include promotion of the .krd TLD at smaller events and conferences of specialist groups within the varied communities.
2. The outreach and communications campaign will also ensure end-user utilisation through consumer-driven awareness activities. Tactics to achieve this objective will include developing a registrant welcome pack, promotional collateral and undertaking advertising campaigns in local and international publications such as Lvin Magazine, Time, Economist, Hawlati Weekly, Rudaw Weekly, etc.
The advertising campaign will be outsourced to professional advertising companies, which will develop the advertising materials and packages as per the .krd TLD requirements. The campaign will take place over 12 months during the start-up and year one; the first three (3) months of the campaign will be the most intensive. The intensity will lessen during the second - three (3) months periods and will be very low for the remaining months. This pattern may be repeated with modification for years two and three, and will be based on lessons learned and market research studies.