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Username: nhomer
Date/Time: Fri, October 27, 2000 at 8:43 AM GMT
Browser: Microsoft Internet Explorer V5.0 using Windows 98
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Subject: Promoting the co-operative advantage


      Oxford Swindon & Gloucester Co-operative Society is one of the largest and most successful independent retail co-ops in the UK, owned and controlled by its local members. It has been at the forefront of new thinking in developing a successful co-operative business, for the benefit of its members, local communities and the wider co-operative sector.

We continue to explore innovative ways of using the potential of new interactive media to enhance our co-operative advantage. As a co-operative, OS&G is hoping to extend its offer beyond e-commerce and take for example co-operative democracy to a new audience by developing new ways of participating in the Society online.

Yet we are keenly aware of the fact that we can only be a truly successful co-operative business, if we are part of a strong co-operative sector. OS&G Co-op is putting its money where its mouth is, giving at present 1.5% of its profits to the promotion, support and development of other forms of co-operative.

We believe the introduction of a new .coop TLD is central to the future success of co-operatives in achieving the recognition due to them as distinctive alternative, democratic business models, alongside the private (.com) and not for profit (.org) sectors. It will create further opportunities for the co-operative movement worldwide effectively to promote the co-operative advantage on the Internet, itself developed in the true spirit of mutualism.

The new TDL will create the space for the many hundred of thousands of co-operatives all over the world to register on the Net without having to hide their co-operative identity behind an inappropriate web address tag. In doing so, the Net will reinforce its original mutual credentials in providing the global co-operative movement with the opportunity to proudly advertise its open and democratic values and principles for the benefit of communities everywhere.

Neil Homer & Kathrin Luddecke
On behalf of the Oxford Swindon & Gloucester Co-operative Society


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