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Username: A. Kinney
Date/Time: Thu, October 19, 2000 at 9:58 PM GMT
Browser: Netscape Communicator V4.08 using Windows 95
Score: 5
Subject: Confusion between ".bz" and ".biz"


                (1)  Failure to grant either a ".biz" or ".ebiz" TLD to Affinity Internet, Inc. or another applicant could hardly be considered to be holding up the development of the Internet.  The opposite would actually be the case.  For a ".biz" or ".ebiz" TLD to be granted to Affinity would create confusion among Internet users the moment Affinity would begin marketing domain names using the ".biz" or ".ebiz" TLD to businesses and continue indefinitely into the future.  Thus, the confusion and direct competition between two similarly sounding and spelled TLDs would hinder the development of the Internet, not refusing to grant Affinity a ".biz" or ".ebiz" TLD.

While Mr. Berent asserts that no efforts have been made to market the .bz domain name to businesses, his lack of knowledge of the third party's marketing efforts is not indicative that marketing has not already been conducted, only that his company has not been approached.

(2)  Mr. Berent claims that the sound of ".bz" is most properly pronounced "dot BEE ZEE" or "dot BEE ZED."  His assertion is based on past experience of country code TLDs that are operated by the particular country to which they are assigned.  For a third party to obtain the rights to Belize's ccTLD of ".bz" for the purpose of marketing domain names to businesses and then advertize the ".bz" TLD as "dot BEE ZEE" is absurd and contrary to common sense marketing.  If marketing is to be successful, ".bz" would be advertized as "dot BIZ" and, in fact, such advertizing has already occurred.

(3)  The argument that people would not mistake the spelling of ".bz" or ".biz" is based on the premise that no advertising would be conducted to promote ".bz" as "BIZ."  This argument, for the reasons already given section (2) above assumes too much.  A contract for the ".bz" TLD is in place and marketing efforts have already started.  Though the marketing has just begun, it will continue in the future causing the public to associate ".bz" with the pronunciation "dot BIZ."

(4)  As Belize has contracted its registry operation to a third party, its ability or inability to operate such a registry on a large scale is irrelevant.

(5)  Mr. Berent's likelihood of confusion analysis is based on two distinctly different points in time and technical sophistication of the Internet and Internet users.  The TLDs for ".com" and ".mil" were already coexisting with the ccTLDs for Cameroon and Mali when the first versions of the NSCA Mosaic browsers were being released.  In the past few years, ".com" has become ubiquitous in advertising and people recognize its use and meaning.  This year, ".bz" is beginning to be advertized and marketed to businesses as an alternative TLD to ".com."  At this point there is not a competing ".biz" that is being marketed.  If a ".biz" or ".ebiz" TLD is introduced, there will be two similarly spelled TLDs being concurrently marketed.  This would create confusion among Internet users and the public.

In addition, it would be expected that the marketing of ".cm" at this point in time as an alternative to ".com" would only result in confusion and failure as ".com" is so well known and entrenched in the minds of Internet users and the public.  Therefore ".cm" could not be successfully marketed as being pronounced as "dot COM."  As no ".biz" TLD has been yet released or marketed, ".bz" can be successfully marketed as "dot BIZ."       


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