Welcome to Commercial Connect, LLC
Home of the Original dotShop

.Shop is the domain name extension for transparent, safe, secure and intuitive eCommerce and shopping on the internet. Commercial Connect, LLC was created in 2000 to introduce a new top level domain devoted exclusively to eCommerce. DotShop offers a secured, trusted, and intuitive way to bring customers and businesses together in the virtual marketplace. By offering trademark protection and a safer shopping experience for customers, one thing is certain… DotShop means Business.


For the past decade Commercial Connect has continued its communications campaign to educate businesses and end-users on how the upcoming new gTLD process may impact their life and/or organization and how Commercial Connect will work to ensure a transparent, non-biased, dedicated and secure eCommerce Solution for the internet.


As a community applicant, we and our supporters including eCommerce World Retailers, Macy’s, Chase Securities, Merrill Lynch, Morgan Stanley Dean Witter, G. William Miller, Yahoo and thousands of other large and small eTailers alike(seehttp://www.dotShop.com/Content/PartnersSupporters) welcome you to join in our effort to operate a transparent and community supportive positive addition to the internet and the world of eCommerce.


Show your support by following this link to the “Support Us” page: http://www.dotshop.com/content/supportus
What's New
company highlights
Another well stated article by Mary IQbal from www.dotanything.co
October 17, 2013 - Commercial Connect LLC - one of the nine applicants for the .Shop TLD - has prevailed in their String Similarity Dispute against String Tigers LLC's application for the .Shopping TLD.  As a result, the .Shopping TLD will be added to the existing contention set for .Shop.  The .Shop contention set now includes all 9 applicants for .Shop, 2 applicants for .Shopping, and 1 applicant for 通販 (Online Shopping in Japanese). According to Jeffrey Smith, founder of Commercial Connect LLC, "In order to provide the most intuitive and safe eCommerce shopping experience only one TLD in this name space should be delegated. This decision brought us one step closer to this vision."

Commercial Connect had filed a total of 21 String Similarity disputes against TLDs including .BUY, .ECOM, .FORSALE, .SALE, .STORE, .STORE, .بازار, .セール .一号店, .商城, .家電, .网店, .购物, .SERVICES, .SHOPPING, .SHOPYOURWAY, .SUPPLIES, .SUPPLY, .商店, .网店 and .通販. To date, 13 of Commercial Connect's 21 String Similary Disputes have been dismissed, 6 are still pending, and just 2 String Similarity disputes were won by Commercial Connect. 

.....The full article contains a list of objections filed and their outcome

All of the objections filed by Commercial Connect LLC above were filed in order to assert that the applications above were confusingly similar to the .Shop TLD and should be placed in a Contention Set. Only one TLD in a contention set may be awarded a contract with ICANN. By requesting that the strings above be added to the .Shop contention set, Commercial Connect LLC was asserting that the TLDs were too similar to co-exist at the DNS root.

About the Application Process

In 2012, ICANN, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, held a historic application round inviting companies from around the world to apply to operate new Top Level Domains - or TLDs for short. A Top Level Domain (TLD) is the text to the right of the final dot in a domain name. For example, the .com TLD is the most popular TLD today. 1,930 applications were filed in ICANN's historic application round. Applications were filed for branded TLDs, such as .BMW and .Accenture; for geographic TLDs, such as .London and .Berlin; for community TLDs, such as .Islam; and for generic words like .shop, .menu, .club, and .web

The first new TLDs resulting from the 2012 application round are expected to start selling domain names to the public in Q1 2014.

You may be asking yourself, why will it take 2 years for the first TLDs from the 2012 application round to launch?

The application review process conducted by ICANN is a very thorough, time-consuming process. The application process consists - at a high level - of the steps below:

  1. Administrative Completeness Check – During this phase, ICANN confirmed that all applicants had filled in all required questions and paid all required fees.

  2. String Similarity Review - After the Administrative Completeness check, ICANN assigned applicants into contention sets based on string similarity. In addition to the strings that were exact matches of each other, which were automatically placed into contention sets, ICANN also created two additional string contention sets.  These were 1) .hotels and .hoteis and 2) .unicorn and .unicom

  3. Initial Evaluation – During the Initial Evaluation phase, ICANN evaluated every application for financial capability to operate a TLD, technical capacity to operate a TLD, and also evaluated the string itself for stability and operational issues.

  4. Extended Evaluation - The Extended Evaluation phase was only necessary if ICANN required additional time to fully evaluate an applicant or if the applicant failed to pass the Initial Evaluation phase.

  5. Dispute Resolution - Disputes may be filed against an application for a new TLD on four grounds: Legal Rights, Community Objection, Limited Public Interest, String Confusion. The String Confusion objection was another way that applicants could use to request that similar strings should be placed in a contention set.  ICANN’s Independent Objector may also file a dispute against an applicant.

  6. Community Priority Panel - If one of the applicants in a contention set applied as a Community TLD, then ICANN must evaluate the applicant's claim to Community priority. If it is found that one applicant in a contention set has community support from established institutions representing the community, then that applicant will be granted the approval to move forward to the next steps in the application process.

  7. Auction - In the event that more than one applicant in a contention set passes through the Evaluation and Dispute Resolution phases, then applicants are encouraged to negotiate a solution. Failing that, applicants may bid against each other for the proposed TLD either via private auctions or via an auction hosted by ICANN.

  8. Contracting – After the applicant has passed through all prior steps in the application process, and any string contention disputes have been resolved, the applicant may be invited to the contracting phase of the Application Process.

  9. Pre-Delegation Testing – Pre-delegation testing consists of technical and operational testing to ensure that the applicant is ready to operate a new TLD.

  10. Delegation into the Root Zone – After the Applicant has signed a contract with ICANN, the applicant may request delegation into the Root Zone.

  11. Ramp-up – After the Applicant’s string has been delegated into the Root Zone, the applicant may begin to build up and test the technical infrastructure required to operate a TLD.

  12. Sunrise – The Sunrise phase usually consists of a 30-day period during which Trademark holders may purchase domain names within a given TLD followed by a 30-60 day Landrush Phase during which interested parties may request to purchase a domain name within the given TLD. During the Landrush period, in the event that two parties wish to purchase the same domain name, a bidding process us usually held for the domain name in contention.

  13. General Availability – Domain names are sold to the general public.

Dispute Resolution

Disputes may be filed against an application for a new TLD on four grounds: Legal Rights, Community Objection, Limited Public Interest, String Confusion. ICANN’s Independent Objector may also file a dispute against an applicant.

Legal Rights

If a TLD applicant receives a legal rights objection, the applicant must prevail against the legal rights objection, or their TLD application will not be allowed to continue to the next phase of the application process.

Community Objection

Organizations representing a particular community had the opportunity to object to a specific TLD string. There were 104 Community objections filed against various TLD strings. The applicant must prevail in a Community objection in order to be allowed to continue to the next phase of the application process.

Limited Public Interest

Anyone could file a Limited Public Interest objection against an applicant for a new TLD in order to assert that the new TLD was against established standards of morality or public order. If a TLD applicant receives a Limited Public Interest objection, the applicant must prevail against the objection, or their TLD application will not be allowed to continue to the next phase of the application process.

String Confusion

Existing TLD operators (such as Verisign, the operator of the .COM TLD) as well as applicants for new TLDs could file a string similarity objection against an applicant for a new TLD. If an existing TLD operator prevails in a string confusion dispute with an applicant for a new TLD, then the applicant for the new TLD will not be allowed to proceed any further in the ICANN application process. If, instead, the dispute was filed by another applicant for a new TLD and the dispute prevails, then the two strings will be placed in a contention set.

Next Steps for .Shop. .Shopping and .通販

The next step for the .Shop applicants is to wait until all outstanding disputes involving applicants in a contention set are resolved.  After the Dispute Resolution set is complete and the final contention sets established, then the next step would be the Community Priority Evaluation. 

There were two applicants that claimed Community Priority for the .shop TLD: Commercial Connect LLC and GMO Registry. If either Commercial Connect or GMO Registry's application for .Shop is ruled to be a community-based TLD with support from established institutions representing the community, then that applicant alone will be allowed to proceed to the next phase of the evaluation process, which is pre-delegation testing and signing a contract with ICANN. If the Community Priority Evaluation finds that .Shop is not a community-based TLD and/or that neither Commercial Connect nor GMO Registry showed adequate support from the community, then the next step will likely be an auction.

It is likely to be late 2014 before domains in the .Shop TLD go on sale. 
On October 11, ICANN announced that Commercial Connect's application for the .Shop TLD had passed Extended Evaluation, which means that all nine applicants for the .Shop TLD have now passed the Evaluation phase of the application process.  The next step for the .Shop applicants will be a Community-priority evaluation for Commercial Connect's .Shop application.  According to Jeffrey Smith, founder of Commercial Connect LLC, "We are thrilled with passing Extended Evaluation and are now ready to go through the Community Priority Evaluation."

Commercial Connect LLC applied for .Shop as a community-based TLD.  Community-based TLDs are given priority in the evaluation process which means that if Commercial Connect's application for .Shop is ruled a community-based TLD, then the .Shop TLD will be awarded to Commercial Connect automatically, without the need of an auction.

A Community TLD is defined in the Applicant Guidebook as "a gTLD that is operated for the benefit of a clearly delineated community".  Any applicant may choose to designate its application as community-based; however, any applicant making this designation is asked to provide written endorsements in support of the application by established institutions representing the community. 

Commercial Connect submitted its application for .Shop as a community-based TLD and submitted as proof of the .Shop TLD's community status letters of endorsement from the Governor of Kentucky, various Senators, and others who wished to show their support for Commercial Connect's .Shop application.  These letters were dated from 2000 up to 2012.

About Commercial Connect LLC

Commercial Connect originally applied to create the .Shop TLD in the 2000 application round with ICANN.  Although .Shop's application was approved, ICANN did not allow the .Shop TLD to be delegated into the root zone at that time.  Applicants from the 2000 round were not given any priority in the 2012 round but were allowed to deduct the original 2000 plus some interest (approximately $86,000) from the new 2012 application fee of $185,000.

Since the 2000 application round, Commercial Connect has continued to raise awareness for and campaign for a .Shop TLD.  Commercial Connect LLC was one of the nine applicants for the .Shop TLD in the 2012 application round.

Next Steps for .Shop

The next step for the .Shop applicants is to await the Community Priority Evaluation for Commercial Connect's .Shop application. If Commercial Connect's application for .Shop is ruled to be a community-based TLD with support from established institutions representing the community, then Commercial Connect will be allowed to proceed to the next phase of the evaluation process, which is pre-delegation testing and signing a contract with ICANN. If the Community Priority Evaluation finds that .Shop is not a community-based TLD and/or Commercial Connect did not show adequate support from the community, then the next step will likely be an auction. According to Jeffrey Smith, "We have always wanted a unified application with as much input from diverse groups as we could bring together. Some of the applicants are with us in supporting our goals and vision. There are others that simply are not. This seems to bring us to a stalemate on collaboration at this point."

It is likely to be late 2014 before domains in the .Shop TLD go on sale. 
With ICANN simply neglecting to properly instruct their string similarity panel many applied for TLD strings would be allowed to coexist with other TLD string even though they had the same meaning or were confusing to the end user.
To date ICANN has not done anything to correct their error which they readily admitted to making. They instructed the applicants to make use of the dispute resolution provided for in the Applicant Guidebook. This meant that because of ICANN refusing to follow their own procedures, as much as an additional $3 million US would need to be spent by Commercial Connect to object to every string that had similar meanings, had community objections to or where we would claim intellectual or legal rights to. When we developed these dispute resolution procedures we had assumed that 1 to 2 cases would be files per applicant, in our case there would be over 115 such cases.


Because of sever time constraints, we were able to file 21 objections against strings such as .buy, .store and IDN versions of TLDs that also could be confusing including .Shop in Chinese and Online Shopping in Japanese claiming that they should be considered in the same contention set as our .shop whereby only one new TLD would be awarded delegation.

With so much noise from competitors claiming that no end use would ever be confused between such TLDs as .Shop and .Store - many of the mediators agreed with them - The issue here is that the American Arbitration Association/ADR did not have the "expert" mediators that they promised. They were not aware of the 15 years of documentation, rules and regulations that were made to avoid just this issue and they simply seemed to make their decisions based on previous findings instead of ICANN's rules, regulations, mission statements and core values. ICANN did nothing to educate or instruct the AAA as to what they were deciding and what these decisions would mean to the internet community.

One piece of good news is that why we lost many of our disputes which were supposed to look at name similarity and if the strings failed ANY of the following criteria: visually similar, sounded the same, had the same meaning or could be confusing to the end user in any way, we did prevail with the Japanese IDN for Online Shopping.

While .Shop in Chinese was found to have the same meaning, the mediator still ruled for the applicant clearly showing that expertise in ICANN’s procedures was simply not present.

We did prevail on the Japanese IDN TLD for ONLINE SHOPPING which goes to show the diversity and confusion on the issues. Verisign also lost most of their disputes but prevailed on .CAM being too similar to .COM.

While these cases are slowly being decided, one thing is for sure, we will continue to battle to have only one eCommerce TLD released that is the transparent, safe and secure eCommerce solution that the community wants and fight against all other TLDs that attempt to deceive the end user into thinking they will be one a community protected name space.

We have been informed that the expected timeline for delegation for the .Shop delegation should be completed by year end. So while our battle is still uphill we are optimistic about prevailing in our 13 year battle to offer the best eCommerce solution on the planet.

ICANN will begin inviting applicants to commence the Registry Agreement contracting phase of the New gTLD Program. Invitations will be sent, in prioritization draw order, only for applications that:
  • Have passed Initial Evaluation;  
  • Are not currently in a contention set;  
  • Do not have an unresolved objection filed against it; 
  • Are for a string that is not referenced in the Governmental Advisory Committee’s Beijing Communiqué 
    (http://www.icann.org/en/news/correspondence/gac-to-board-18apr13-en.pdf) (specifically, Section IV.1.a, Section IV.b., Annex I Category 1 Safeguard Advice or Section IV.1.c.i Strings for Further GAC Consideration thereof); and
  • Are not currently subject to a change request (a) for which ICANN has not yet approved or denied the requested changes and (b) for which the 30 day public comment period following posting of the amended application has not yet expired.


To view the briefing in its entirety, please follow http://newgtlds.icann.org/en/announcements-and-media/announcement-4-03jul13-en.

Details from the May 18th meeting of the ICANN Board New gTLD Program Committee (NGPC) in Amsterdam have been released, including how and when the recommendations of the Bejing Governmental Advisory Committee (GAC) will be addressed.
The NGPC is taking public comments along with the GAC advice as the new gTLD application and objection process continues, with the goal of getting as many applicants through the process as quickly as possible. 
More details, along with a PDF of the GAC advice framework, are available at ICANN.

November 16, 2012



Fadi Chehade, CEO

12025 Waterfront Drive, Suite 300

Los Angeles, CA 90095-2536

(310) 301-5800 – (310) 823-8649 fax


Re:       New gTLD ApplicationProcess



Dear CEO Chehade:


I am writing this letter not as an applicant for a new gTLDstring but as a concerned member at large who represents a substantial internetcommunity. I have personally beeninvolved with internet domain issues since the mid 1990’s and my company,Commercial Connect LLC, submitted an application for .shop during the initialgTLD offering in 2000. We are the onlyremaining applicant that has been completely approved throughout theapplication process without being delegated.


ICANN’s board asked us to come back at the next gTLDapplication phase whereby it would consider giving us delegation. Since 2000, we have continuously adapted ourapplication and gained community support to offer the .shop as a secureeCommerce offering. We remain cognitiveof ICANN’s vision and have strived to participate and abide by its processesand therefore resubmitted our application for .shop in 2012.


Similar to RosettaNet’s model, we have built a communityfrom differential and highly competitive entities and have brought thesecompanies’ ideas and concerns together via a new representative body. Submitted with our application were the namesof over 1,100 significant and relevant supporters who recognize us as acommunity representative and leader. These supporters represent in excess of $666 (USD) Trillion in annualsales.


We have identified concerns that we believe should beaddressed to save significant time and effort on the part of ICANN as well as the1900+ applicants of new gTLDs. We may beable to offer a different perspective that may assist ICANN in this process.This is aligned with the analogy of looking in from the outside versus within. We, as a community entity, are not entrenchedin consulting and providing TLD services to anyone other than .shop and feel wecan provide a unique view to ICANN but at the same time acknowledging that wedo have a major stake in this process.


It seems there are two major issues that need immediateattention. By addressing these issues,you might discover vast opportunities for enhanced operational quality and costefficiency.


The first issue is that of string similarity. Throughout the process, there has been anunderstanding that no new gTLD would be released that had similar meaning,sound, or appearance to any existing TLD. This has roots in protecting the end user from being confused aboutwhich TLD should be used and lends credibility to the intent of the process. The premise of keeping the internet a safe,secure and user friendly environment for all stakeholders supports this rule.

Continued online.....
Happy New Year!

Since we submitted our application to ICANN to manage the proposed top-level domain, .SHOP, we have been in close contact with other new-TLD applicants. Together, we have been closely monitoring ICANN's progress in sorting through and processing new-TLD applications. We have also collaborated in providing feedback and new ideas to ICANN regarding its proposed methods - universal fairness and transparency being our top priority and concern.

ICANN has released a general timeline of how the application process will proceed. Currently, ICANN's various panels are performing initial evaluations of the nearly 2,000 new-TLD applications. As these evaluations occur, ICANN will issue questions to applicants intended to clarify the content in their applications, as necessary. Applicants are permitted four weeks to respond. The initial evaluation is aimed to run until May 2013, with the results released in June. The first new-TLD delegations should occur in August 2013. This timeline is subject to change, however.

As the last half of the initial evaluation period approached, ICANN announced that there would be a lottery-based number draw for applicants to determine the scheduling order of the release of initial evaluation results, pre-delegation testing, and contract execution. We attended the lottery even on December 17, 2012 in Los Angeles and drew position number 649.

We truly appreciate your past and future support of Commercial Connect's endeavors in creating and managing the .SHOP domain. Look for future information from us that will detail the status of ICANN's selection process and what we are doing to ensure that ICANN sees us as the capable, knowledgeable, and experienced company we are.

DotShop. Faster. Safer. More Efficient. Driving the Best Shopping Experience. 

Commercial Connect to Attend ICANN 45 in Toronto
Commercial Connect is preparing to attend ICANN 45 in Toronto in October.  The event comes at an important time as ICANN has now been reviewing new-TLD applications for several months.  ICANN 45 will provide us with much information on the application-review process and give us the opportunity to have our questions and concerns heard.  Additionally, the event will enable us to meet with our competition and, possibly, discuss our collaboration strategies.
More information in ICANN 45 can be viewed here: http://toronto45.icann.org
The board members of Commercial Connect, LLC met in regular session to discuss several important issues at hand.  In great detail, the board reviewed and discussed a competitive analysis.  Also, touched upon were various strategies for collaboration with Commercial Connect's competition.
Commercial Connect Attends ICANN 44 in Prague
Commercial Connect attended ICANN 44 in Prague last week. The event provided crucial information about the next phases of the new-TLD application process.  In addition, ICANN introduced its new CEO, Fadi Chehadé.  Commercial Connect was also able to meet with other applicants for the .SHOP string and other related strings.  These new relationships will prove beneficial to all as time progresses in the application process.
See information, videos, and photos from ICANN 44 at:

Information obtained from: http://newgtlds.icann.org/en

ICANN received a total of
1,930 applications, after refunds, for new generic top-level domains

  • 1,846 of those are “standard” applications
  • 84 are designated as “community-based”


Of the 1,930 applications...

  • 66 are geographic name applications
  • 116 are Internationalized Domain Names (IDNs) 
  • 3 applicants requested ICANN’s Applicant Support Program

Applications were received from 60 countries. Using ICANN’s definitions of the world’s regions, which can be viewed on our website:

  • 911 applications came from North America
  • 675 from Europe
  • 303 from the Asia-Pacific region
  • 24 from Latin America and the Caribbean
  • 17 from Africa


Some domain names have been applied for by more than one applicant. There are 230 domain names for which at least two applications were submitted, involving a total of 751 applications.


ICANN's TLD Application System (TAS) closed yesterday.  Commercial Connect's application for .SHOP was successfully submitted the previous day.  ICANN received over 1,900 applications to create and manage numerous new top-level domains.  ICANN expects to announce the list of applied-for domains on June 13th.
View ICANN's announcement at:
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How to find us?
find_usCommercial Connect, LLC 
1418 South Third Street
Louisville, KY 40208-2117
Tel. : +1 (502) 636-3091 - Fax : +1 (502) 634-1484