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ICANN Unanimously Approves RegistryPro Proposal to Expand the .Pro TLD

RegistryPro, the exclusive operator of the .Pro top level domain (TLD) on the Internet, has received approval from the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) to greatly expand the scope and availability of the .Pro TLD. The newly ratified terms of service increases the number of professionals who are eligible for the TLD, extends the availability globally, and streamlines the registration process.

Since launching in 2004, access to .Pro has been restricted to four professions: accountants, engineers, lawyers and medical professionals in Canada, Germany, the United Kingdom and the United States. Under the new terms of service, the TLD will become available to any professional or professional entity holding credentials from a certifying governmental authority anywhere in the world. These changes significantly broaden the market for the .Pro domain while still limiting the availability to professionals and maintaining the exclusive nature of the TLD.

In addition to the expanded scope, the new terms of service also makes it much easier to obtain a 2nd level domain and greatly simplify the registration process — thereby making .Pro domains both easier to obtain and more desirable.

Previously, stringent guidelines limited the availability of 2nd level .Pro domains (e.g. "doctorsmith.pro,") and resulted in registrants opting for the easier to obtain 3rd level domains (e.g. "doctorsmith.med.pro.") The new terms of service eliminates the additional requirements for 2nd level domains, making these shorter, more desirable addresses available to anyone that meets the general TLD requirements.

The registration process has also been simplified. Individuals were previously required to submit written documentation of their credentials from an authorized certifying authority. These credentials would then be manually authenticated and verified by the registry — a process that greatly impacted the time and effort required to register a .Pro domain. Under the new registration process, the registrants need only supply the type of certification they hold, the name of the organization, and their license number on the registration form.

"This is a significant milestone for .Pro," said RegistryPro General Manager Catherine Sigmar. "By approving these changes, ICANN has given us the opportunity to open up .Pro to tens of millions of licensed and credentialed professionals and entities across the globe."

Per the published minutes of a Special Meeting of the ICANN Board of Directors posted on ICANN's Web site, the proposed changes to the .Pro Registry Agreement were approved by a voice vote of 10 to 0.

These changes clearly remove the principal hurdles that have previously challenged the adoption of the TLD, but Sigmar emphasizes that .Pro is still a premium domain space for professionals and professional entities. In the interest of keeping .Pro focused on the professional community, RegistryPro is introducing a Terms of Use Agreement that every customer will be required to accept.

"Our position all along has been we don't want to become an unrestricted, general use TLD. That's why we've developed the new Terms of Use Agreement," Sigmar added.

As noted in the published ICANN minutes, "Registrants will be required to annually reaffirm that they are using the registration for the professional purpose as intended."

The new Terms of Use obligates new and renewing registrants to do three key things: 1) self-certify professional credentials, 2) agree that their .Pro domain will be used only by them and 3) consent to use .Pro domains only in relation to professional services. As part of its commitment to ICANN, RegistryPro will monitor new and renewed domains to ensure that registrants adhere to these regulations.

"We understand this is a major shift, and we encourage current .Pro registrants to contact their sponsoring registrars if they have any questions about how these changes impact them," said Sigmar. "Our priority now is to help registrants and registrars determine how the new agreement [PDF] affects them, as well as educate professionals internationally about the benefits of the .Pro TLD."

Plans are in progress to "relaunch" .Pro with a target date of July 14, 2008. For more information, go to www.Registry.pro.

About RegistryPro
RegistryPro, a wholly owned subsidiary of Hostway Corporation, operates the .Pro top-level domain (TLD,) an Internet registry exclusively for licensed professionals and entities. All .Pro names are issued with a digital certificate, an online passport that facilitates secure communications and transactions. RegistryPro enables professionals around the world to distinguish themselves on the Internet by using the .Pro extension.

Contact:
Matt Buckland
Director of Operations
RegistryPro
(312) 236-2132 x250
pr [at] registry [dot] pro

Lyza Swearingen Latham
Director of Marketing
Hostway Corporation
(954) 334-8139
publicity [at] hostwaycorp [dot] com

About .PRO

.PRO

Headquartered in Chicago, Illinois, RegistryPro is the ICANN-designated operator of the .PRO TLD. Since launching in 2004, .PRO has become an important tool for businesses, organizations and individuals in building trusted relationships throughout the world. In many languages, "pro" is synonymous with dedication, skill, and vision — the .PRO name allows people to capture that distinctive character. Whether developing a brand, refining an identity, or promoting a specialty, .PRO offers every business and professional the opportunity to enhance their image by adding a powerful, easy-to-identify name to their online presence and web-based products. (Learn More)

Related topics: DNS, Domain Names, Registry Services, ICANN, Top-Level Domains

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