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Username: grammysboy
Date/Time: Tue, October 24, 2000 at 4:00 PM GMT
Browser: Microsoft Internet Explorer V4.01 using Windows 98
Score: 5
Subject: need for .co-op suffix


On behalf of the 8000+ members of Farmers' Electric Cooperative,(The FEC Companies), 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.

The FEC Companies, comprised of Farmers' Electric Cooperative, FEC Services, FEC Development, and the FEC Area Youth Benefit Fund, is a membership cooperative started in 1938 to bring electricity to the North central part of Missouri.  Due to the changing climate of the electric utility industry, Farmers’ Electric has expanded its focus on electric distribution to improving the quality of life of all residents of the service area, with the formation of a wholly owned, for-profit subsidiary. FEC Services was formed following member surveys indicating that area members of the Cooperative wanted the Co-op to take an active role in community development and they also wanted the cooperative to provide goods and services that were not readily available in our rural area.

As a rural, consumer-owned electric cooperative, Farmers' Electric Cooperative,  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.

Joe M. Hardie
Data/Information Coordinator
Farmers' Electric Cooperative
Chillicothe, Missouri


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