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ICANN 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.

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 .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. 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.

Plans are in progress to "relaunch" .Pro with a target date of July 14, 2008.

Source: RegistryPro

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