According to a press release issued late last week, Commercial Connect LLC, a company that is planning to pursue a .SHOP gTLD once ICANN opens the application period for its New gTLD Program, welcomed Richard E. Last to its board. Last is also currently a board member of the National Retail Federation (NRF) and Chairman Emeritus for Shop.Org, the NRF’s member-driven trade organization for digital retailers.

When ICANN first indicated that it would be opening up the top-level domain space to new gTLDs, we knew that there would be certain entrepreneurs who would seek to develop business models around category-term extensions, like Commercial Connect is doing with .SHOP. It’s great to see that the company has also decided to bring in a retail industry veteran with the breadth of experience that Last has to serve on its board.

Commercial Connect Founder and CEO Jeffrey Smith pointed out that Last will be a great asset in helping to achieve .SHOP’s mission of  “uniting and aligning all online retailers in providing the highest level of privacy, and secure transactions known today.”

Another group, GMO Registry, has also indicated that it plans to apply for .SHOP. It will be interesting to see if both applications go forward, and if they do, how the Contention procedures play out.