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Username: USTAR
Date/Time: Fri, October 20, 2000 at 4:01 PM GMT (Fri, October 20, 2000 at 12:01 AM EDT)
Browser: Microsoft Internet Explorer V5.01 using Windows 98
Score: 5
Subject: USTAR's Objection to IATA's Application


Dear Mr. Schneider:

Thank you for your thoughtful reply. Your "a question" is really many questions, and we welcome the opportunity to reply and comment:

1. "You seem to have taken it upon yourself to lead the criticism of the IATA application."

Not so; USTAR has responded, along with many other respondents. We are neither leading the "charge", nor ignoring it.

2. "Why didn't USTAR or one of the other travel agent organizations file a competing application for a ".travel" TLD with ICANN?"

USTAR, like other agency organizations, is also a considerable stakeholder in the results of the .travel TLD outcome. As such, we felt that travel agents, while perhaps more diverse than air carriers from a travel business perspective, are also an industry sector which should refrain from management of the .travel TLD. I can assure you, however, that if USTAR or any other travel agency organization had filed for .travel, IATA would have been among the first to object. We feel that a truly independent third party should manage this TLD.

3. "Now, the only choices open to ICANN are:  (1) grant the IATA application, or (2) deny the Internet the benefit of a ".travel" TLD altogether."

Not so; We fully anticipate that at some future time another application will be solicited or received to manage .travel. While there indeed may be some benefits to a well-managed, fair administration of .travel, the disadvantages to IATA managing same are, in USTAR's opinion, overwhelming.  

4. "Why don't you just continue to operate your own website in ".com" or wherever it is, and let the marketplace decide if the IATA proposal has any merit?  In other words, live and let live, which is the Internet way."

We agree fully with your basic statement that the marketplace should decide on the merit of IATA's proposal. This forum is a first step in assessing the marketplace sentiment regarding IATA's plan. Many are indicating that sentiment, and so far, it would appear that most share the concerns which USTAR has expressed. Our only issue with IATA is its lack of independence and its clear conflict of interest.

To put things in perspective, who do you think will get

a) Delta Travel Agency
b) Delta Queen River Boat Cruises
c) Delta Hotels and Resorts
d) Delta Air Lines

... I think you know the answer to that question!

5. "Ustar, you admit you are a travel agent association (although my own travel agent says she has never heard of you), and it looks to me like you just want to shut down the added competition that IATA's new TLD will introduce to your members, and deny consumers the resulting benefits in terms of convenience, efficiency, and financial savings."

USTAR is a travel agency association with over 1000 members in the United States. Our counterparts in Canada (CSTAR), seven countries in Europe (ESTAR), Australia (ASTAR), India (ISTAR), and Mexico (MEXSTAR) represent nearly 10,000 travel agencies worldwide. While I can't speak to the issue as to why your travel agent does not know us, we are equally not acquainted with every travel agency either.  The majority of travel agents know USTAR quite well.

As to "shutting down competition", nothing could be further from the truth. Our only concern is that the management of .travel be fair and unbiased. IATA simply can't provide that assurance. When a qualified, truly independent applicant steps forward, you can be assured that USTAR will give its full support to the .travel TLD.

USTAR appreciates this opportunity to reply to your comments.


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