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Username: Rochelle Prunty
Date/Time: Thu, November 2, 2000 at 10:05 PM GMT
Browser: Microsoft Internet Explorer V3.01 using Windows 95
Score: 5
Subject: support for .co-op



        This is important for consumers! I fully support this domain for all the reasons listed by NCBA below:
      Why dot co-op? .co-op is a domain name that will make a difference; it will enhance consumer choice, consumer trust, and competition in global e-commerce.

Greater Consumer Choice — By clearly identifying cooperatives in e-commerce, .co-op will give consumers greater choice in the electronic marketplace. Currently, there is no consistent way for consumers to identify cooperatives in e-commerce; neither the .com nor .org suffixes accurately characterize co-op businesses.

.com suggests a business that is investor-owned and controlled; but co-ops are member-owned and controlled. And a co-op member's benefit is proportionate to his or her use of the co-op, not ownership share. .org suggests a non-profit or non-commercial entity. But co-ops are businesses; they provide goods and services to their members and others. And co-ops can generate market returns for their members.

Greater Consumer Trust — By helping consumers find co-ops on line, .co-op will restore consumer trust in e-commerce. Consumers trust cooperatives. A 1994 Gallup poll found 61 percent of the U.S. public identified cooperatives as more trustworthy and better able to meet consumer needs than other businesses.

And though e-commerce continues to grow, lack of consumer trust in .com has been recognized as a potential barrier to greater e-commerce expansion. Consumers don't know whom they're doing business with.

By making it easier for consumers to find and do business with co-ops online, .co-op will become the trusted alternative to .com.

More Accountability — The National Cooperative Business Association and Poptel propose that only bona fide cooperatives - those that follow well-established and internationally recognized cooperative principles - be eligible for the new .co-op top level domain.

NCBA and its international cooperative partners will make eligibility determinations. As a result, consumers can be assured that .co-op has value and meaning in the marketplace.

Equally important, .co-op will prevent businesses from falsely identifying themselves as cooperatives in e-commerce. Some businesses are using the co-op moniker, but actually operate as conventional for-profit businesses. For more information about our campaign, click here.

Greater Global Competition — .co-op enhances global competition in e-commerce by opening up a wider range of new domain names applicable in all sectors and in nearly all countries. As a result, it will relieve pressure on the domain name system in a way other sector-specific or language-specific top level domains cannot (like .travel, .bank, or .air). The lack of available short, simple Internet addresses under the .com suffix poses a significant barrier to expansion in e-commerce.

Cooperatives operate in virtually all sectors of the economy including agriculture, construction, finance, insurance, telecommunications, human services like health care, child care and housing, and all facets of the retail sector. The word "co-op" is globally used - even in non-English speaking countries - to characterize businesses that are member-owned and controlled. Unlike other proposed top level domains, or suffixes, that have meaning only in English, a .co-op domain name would cross both distance and language barriers.

More Business-to-Business Transactions — .co-op will enhance business-to-business transactions among cooperatives. Many cooperatives prefer to do business with other cooperatives, buying their products and services from them. .co-op will expand their ability to identify other cooperative businesses, and increase marketplace competition with non-cooperatives.

More Empowerment for Limited-Resource Cooperatives Globally — .co-op will provide new opportunities for cooperative businesses in emerging economies. That's because the National Cooperative Business Association proposes to establish a digital divide fund to help limited resource cooperatives do business online. This is particularly important for producer cooperatives in developing countries that wish to trade in global markets.

Co-ops have a proven record in helping to raise the standard of living and providing more options for limited resource communities. Unlike direct aid of goods or services, cooperatives provide communities with a sustainable source of income and service. Co-ops help empower people to help themselves. The U.S. Congress recently enacted legislation expanding the mandate of the U.S. Agency for International Development to promote cooperatives as part of overseas development programs.


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