The .AUTOS new gTLD

DERAutos, LLC (“DERAutos”), a wholly owned subsidiary of Dominion Enterprises (“Dominion”), has filed this application for a .AUTOS gTLD with the intention of bringing to market a trusted, hierarchical, and intuitive namespace for consumers that will contain listings of motor vehicles for sale, as well as a repository of goods and services related to autos.

Dominion Enterprises

Dominion is a leading marketing services company serving the wide-ranging needs of many industries including real estate, apartments, specialty vehicles, employment, automotive, and travel, with over 3,000 employees located in 145 offices in 33 states and four countries. Its websites receive more than 17 million average monthly visitors and 279 million average monthly page views. For more information, see http:⁄⁄⁄main⁄do⁄Fact_Sheet. Below is a representative listing of the automotive-related businesses that Dominion Enterprises currently owns and operates:

GetAuto® (http:⁄⁄⁄): GetAuto is a one-stop solution for consumers to locate new and pre-owned vehicles meeting their criteria. Nearly half a million visitors per month search GetAuto’s network of more than 1.2 million listings for cars, trucks, and SUVs from over 10,000 dealers nationwide, as well as auto and finance resources. Unique, exclusive car buyer leads are delivered to GetAuto’s dealer partners in real time.

Interactive Financial Marketing Group (ʺIFMGʺ): Founded by former auto dealers, IFMG pioneered the auto finance lead industry in 1989. IFMG serves dealers under the brand with validated and scored online finance leads, lead management, and email and call-center services. An online loan application provides consumers access to information and a fast loan process. Since 1989, more than 5 million potential borrowers have used the system.

Dominion Dealer Solutions: Dominion Dealer Solutions’ technology platform provides lead generation; mobile apps; reputation management solutions; Web-based customer relationship and lead management tools; custom digital marketing tools including websites, SEO, and digital advertising; specialized data aggregation; and inventory management analytics including market reports.
  • 11,000+ auto dealers use Dominion Dealer Solutions’ products.
  • 150,000+ auto dealer employees log in to Dominion Dealer Solutions’ products weekly.
  • Every major OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer) works with Dominion Dealer Solutions’ products.
  • Dominion Dealer Solutions’ CRM (Customer Relationship Management) products are certified by 16 OEMs.
  • Dominion Dealer Solutions databases contain over 64 million car shoppers.
  • Dominion Dealer Solutions tracks and records 40,000 car purchases every week.
  • Dominion Dealer Solutions photographs over 50,000 vehicles each week, providing window stickers for those vehicles and inventory management tools to dealers. 
More than 60 percent of auto dealers nationwide utilize Dominion Dealer Solutionsʹ technologies including:
  • Customer Relationship Management Solutions: Since as early as 1988, DDS businesses have provided premier marketing and sales CRM Solutions to over 1,800 automotive dealers. Since 1999, lead management tools have enabled thousands of dealers nationwide to manage the entire car buying process, from online browsing to the showroom sale to post-sale service. DDS has specialized in multi-channel marketing for dealers since 2001, with over 60 million email messages sent on behalf of more than 700 dealer customers in 2011 alone, including four out of the top five national auto groups. 
  • Marketing Solutions: DDS has been building powerful dealer websites since 2000, and has been providing dealers with a complete digital marketing solution, including award-winning, SEO-friendly websites and mobile websites, in addition to search engine optimization, pay-per-click advertising, and social media consulting services managed by fully-trained Google AdWords-certified staff. 
  • Inventory Solutions: An industry leader with more than 20 years experience, DDS’ comprehensive inventory management system combines vehicle data, analytics, and merchandising tools to more than 5,000 dealers nationwide. With over 800 local market specialists nationwide, the DDS team delivers professional and customized services based on dealers’ changing needs to promote vehicles, drive showroom traffic and maximize profits.
For over 20 years, auto dealers, financial institutions and media firms have relied on DDS for the most current, accurate vehicle sales and auto loan statistics to make better inventory decisions, develop effective selling strategies, and find additional financing sources. DDS delivers over 5,000 fully customized vehicle market intelligence reports each month.

One of the first companies to make automotive content available by Web service, DDS has fulfilled unique content and data needs in the automotive industry, including insurance, warranty, and service contract sectors; transportation; federal and state agencies; newspaper and print; as well as the auto dealer marketing sector. DDS has provided hundreds of businesses with VIN decoding solutions, along with cost-effective data integration and support for rapid technology development.

For a comprehensive listing of Dominion’s full automotive service offers (both consumer- and business-oriented) please refer to the following web pages on the Dominion website:
http:⁄⁄⁄main⁄do⁄businesses⁄id⁄12⁄category⁄For%20Businesses http:⁄⁄⁄main⁄do⁄businesses⁄id⁄5⁄category⁄For%20Consumers

Potential Business Models

DERAutos is still analyzing potential use case options regarding the type of domain names that will be permitted for registration and by whom. In undertaking this research, DERAutos is leveraging Dominion’s experience in bringing critical business services to its customers in a safe and trusted online environment.

The business model for the .AUTOS gTLD is currently broken into two stages, one has been confirmed and the second is under evaluation and will be implemented after DERAutos has evaluated the first stage. The two stages are as follows:
  1. Allocated Strings and Client Strings
    At the current stage of analysis, the business model for .AUTOS is one in which generic strings (“sedan,” “coupe,” “convertible,” etc.) and geographic (city⁄state) domain names would initially be reserved and⁄or allocated to one or more Dominion online automotive properties. These domain names would provide a model for a hierarchical and intuitive framework and naming system for consumers to more easily navigate the .AUTOS namespace. This initial allocation would also provide Dominion’s and its affiliates’ IT and security personnel the time to run a number of tests to ensure seamless and secure access using the .AUTOS gTLD domain names, and interoperability with various software and Web-based applications.
    Following initial allocation, Dominion’s existing clients across the different automotive property groups would be initially permitted to register domain names. This initial rollout guarantees that the identity and contact information of each .AUTOS domain name registrant will be known based upon a pre-existing business relationship. This allocation mechanism also minimizes DERAutos’ startup and operational costs.
  2. Registration by Non-Clients
    DERAutos is currently evaluating a validation process to allow non-Dominion clients and other domain name registrants to register domain names in the .AUTOS gTLD. However, the exact timing of this proposed expanded universe of potential .AUTOS registrants has not been determined, and will not be finalized until appropriate verification mechanisms can be put in place.
Jovenet Consulting,
Aug 24, 2016, 9:17 AM