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Username: krisstring
Date/Time: Mon, October 23, 2000 at 1:32 PM GMT
Browser: Microsoft Internet Explorer V5.5 using Windows 98
Score: 5
Subject: .co-op


      On behalf of the 15,000 members of Webster Electric Cooperative, I am writing to urge the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) to approve the proposal for a .co-op top-level domain.  The National Cooperative Business Association (NCBA) and Poptel are proposing .co-op with the full endorsement of the International Cooperative Alliance.

Webster Electric is a rural electric cooperative that provides power to well over 30,000 people in our service area.  As the Director of Communications, it has come to my attention that people have a hard time finding our website because they're not sure if it should be .com or .org.  Neither really fit us, though we've opted for .com at this point.  Having the .co-op as an option would be very helpful to us.

As a rural, consumer-owned electric cooperative, Webster Electric works hard to provide our members with the best services possible. And we follow the International Cooperative Alliance cooperative principles, such as member ownership and control. That makes our job more challenging than investor-owned businesses, but it has also earned us the trust of the people we serve.

As consumers become increasingly cynical about the constant ebb and flow of new and defunct e-businesses, it's critical that cooperative businesses have an opportunity to identify themselves to consumers and others who prefer to do business with us.  While many cooperatives use .com and .org, neither accurately characterizes co-ops to Internet users. Consumers need a way to find the businesses they trust on the Internet. The .co-op TLD will help do that.

Though my cooperative provides electric service to predominantly rural consumers, co-ops operate in virtually all industries, in 100 countries, and in both rural and urban areas; there are 750,000 cooperatives worldwide with 725 million members. As a result, the .co-op TLD will apply to a broad range of businesses across the globe.

I urge you to move quickly to approve .co-op.

Kristi Stringer
Director of Communications
Webster Electric Cooperative


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