On behalf of Register Organization, Inc. (RegisterOrg), I would like
to thank you again for inviting us to present about key aspects of the RegisterOrg
bid for the redelegation of the .org registry in Bucharest, and for providing us
with this opportunity to address the community about our plans to reposition and
redefine .org, work with the noncommercial community and to explain the impact of
our transition plan on end-users.
As stated in our presentations in Bucharest,
and more fully in our application, the RegisterOrg team strongly believes that the
.org registry should be run as a technical business, striving for stability, innovation
and reliability. We submit that the .org registry should be operated by a team proficient
in technical, business, legal, and marketing areas, in a manner that is supported
by the .org community. Fundamentally, we believe that the interests of the
commercial registry operator and that of the .org community are closely aligned.
To achieve commercial success, RegisterOrg must provide the highest levels of service,
functionality, innovation, and education to stabilize and then expand the number
of .org registrants.
We have briefly set forth answers to your questions below.
Please feel free to refer to our full application (www.registerorganization.org)
or to contact me with any further questions that you may have.
Register Organization Inc.
575 Eighth Avenue
York, NY 10018
+44 207 460 4060
1) How will you market
.org to differentiate it from other TLDs? In particular, how will you persuade
registrars to abide by your marketing plan?
In contrast to the Internet’s
vastly commercial landscape, RegisterOrg firmly believes that .org is a space primarily
intended for noncommercial purposes. While RegisterOrg intends to maintain
a flexible and open registration policy, we have created a marketing plan (as described
in detail in our application, C38) that is intended to reposition and define .org
as a globally identifiable, top-level domain that is recognized as a preeminent resource
for community-oriented Internet users and which is built upon the message that .org
is about people, causes and ideas. To that end, RegisterOrg has budgeted $5
million over the course of the contract for executing the marketing plan. Registrars
are a critical component of our marketing plan; RegisterOrg’s marketing strategy
emphasizes cooperation with an expanded network of regional and country-specific
registrars worldwide to educate and market to the end-user community. RegisterOrg
has developed five strategies that we believe will persuade registrars to abide by
our marketing plan:
Strategy One: Leverage Existing Registrar Channel
RegisterOrg will utilize its multilingual, 24-7 support network (already available
through Registry Advantage) to encourage registrars in all nations to recruit registrants
in their local regions. This not only benefits the Registry, but also, in turn, serves
to expand our reach into the international market. Second, to assist registrars’
selling efforts, RegisterOrg will provide a marketing campaign and toolkit (described
below) designed to create awareness and demand at both the user and channel levels
internationally. These channels will include access providers, resellers, portal
sites, hosting companies, and offline businesses that have not traditionally participated
in domain name distribution. Consistent with its overriding policy of neutrality,
RegisterOrg will provide these benefits to all registrars on an even-handed basis.
Strategy Two: Expand Registrar Channel
RegisterOrg intends to promote
diversity in the .org registrar space. The Registry intends to work with a
variety of organizations, including nonprofits, to develop a broader base of registrars
focused on noncommercial users worldwide. An important part of this strategy
is the marketing toolkit, which will be focused on the expansion of the noncommercial
registrant base and available to all .org registrars. The marketing toolkit
will be available in multiple languages. Highlights of the toolkit include:
programs: RegisterOrg will propose a co-promotional marketing program to help
registrars effectively target new customers internationally.
· Sales and promotion
materials: RegisterOrg will offer multi-lingual region-specific sales and promotional
materials, including, print, radio, e-mail, trade-show, advertising, and publicity
materials. (For more information, see Section XII, Marketing Strategy, Research).
and artwork: RegisterOrg will provide visual content in a variety of languages
for use on registrar and reseller web sites.
· Web content: RegisterOrg
will feature articles and other content, tailored by language and region, for registrars
to include on their web sites.
Strategy Three: Drive Branding and Sales
Through Media Plan
To further differentiate .org from other TLD’s, RegisterOrg
plans to leverage media placement. We plan to buy media in vehicles often associated
with not-for-profit and community minded organizations worldwide to help position
.org as part of the nonprofit world. Given the target audiences and our core
positioning, we plan to employ the following modes of marketing:
National Public Radio (NPR) can cost effectively achieve a broad reach with consistency
of message and supportive positioning of .org to the nonprofit constituencies by
underwriting select programs. RegisterOrg will buy 10 to 15-second spots before
and after the program, which do not “feel” like commercial advertising. Although
many NPR programs are heard worldwide, our initial entree will be to underwrite a
program such as Marketplace (the fastest growing national program in public radio),
which is produced by a local NPR station and broadcasted nationally. As the
sales and marketing effort moves forward and matures, other viable options will be
considered such as the Public Broadcasting Systems (PBS) globally distributed programming.
Additionally, the Registry will seek to identify other global and non-US national
television and radio networks that would be appropriate for such ads.
Media: RegisterOrg anticipates relaunching the .org TLD within nonprofit focused
print publications such as Grassroots Fundraising Journal and The Chronicle of Philanthropy.
The latter, considered the newspaper of the nonprofit world, is the number one news
source, in print and online, for charity leaders, fundraisers, grant makers, and
other people involved in the philanthropic enterprise. Another consideration is Nonprofit
World. Additionally, RegisterOrg plans to initially advertise in nonprofit
magazines directed toward nonprofit organizations in Canada, Europe, and Japan.
Advertising: E-mail is the most familiar element of Internet communication
worldwide, and nearly everyone online has subscribed to at least one e-mail list.
These are all double-opt-in e-mail lists supported with advertisements, usually allowing
two to three ads per mailing. Each ad is usually six to seven lines long and
in the language of the region.
· Conferences: Conferences are an important
aspect of marketing especially to the international community. One of the keys
to our marketing strategy is to position .org as part of the nonprofit community.
Establishing a RegisterOrg presence at nonprofit conferences worldwide will play
a key role in accomplishing this goal.
· Publicity and Public Relations:
RegisterOrg plans to make use of both active and passive public relations.
Passive public relations rely on the media picking up newsworthy events (such as
product launches, associations with foundations, underwriting, etc.). We intend
to actively generate publicity via orchestrating events and utilizing spokespersons.
Among activities currently under consideration are contests that would encourage
.org registrants to submit information regarding their creative use of their Web
site to further their mission. It is anticipated, if properly orchestrated,
that this type of a contest could generate significant coverage by both the nonprofit
press and general media internationally.
Strategy Four: End User Involvement
in a Community Portal
RegisterOrg understands that the growth of .org and the
optimization of Internet use by its registrants requires a greater understanding
of the needs of the current .org registrants and other organizations/individuals
looking to develop an online presence. Moreover, RegisterOrg sees the international
marketplace as one that is primed for .org, perhaps more so than for any other TLD.
RegisterOrg’s marketing plans will aim to differentiate .org from other gTLDs and
attract global registrants who can best benefit from using the .org space.
To that end, RegisterOrg will create a Community Portal—a .org “commons,” where registrants
may find a wide range of support and resources in a multitude of languages, as well
as news about policy development at the Registry and ICANN levels—that will be an
effective way to promote and expand .org. Moreover, it would enable the Registry
to solicit user input on any new services or needs of the community. (For a
full description of the Community Portal, please see C36). Ultimately, the Community
Portal would contribute to the development of a .org brand by providing support to
the .org community, and serving as a gateway to resources critical for developing
a robust noncommercial global Internet community. The idea is designed not
only to appeal to Internet-savvy registrants who are already involved in policy-making
issues, but also to reach out to others internationally who may benefit from developing
an online presence or who are looking to find ways to broaden their reach.
Five: Community Organization Grants
Civic and community organizations lag
behind commercial entities in technology adoption, in large part because of a lack
of resources, but also because the value of an online presence is not self-evident.
In an e-commerce dominated Internet, nonprofits do not always understand the empowering
potential of the Internet to improve delivery of core services, expand the reach
of their message, and build an organization through online fundraising, volunteerism,
campaign activities, and data management. Thus, to respond to and support the
needs of the .org constituency and expand the appeal of .org internationally, RegisterOrg
proposes to distribute two-and-a-half million dollars ($2,500,000.00) between two
.org-registered foundations to seed the growth of a robust, global .org community
through technology capacity building, bridging the digital divide, policy education
and advocacy and technology innovation. We have selected the following organizations
as our funding partners to support the .org community:
· The Benton Foundation,
which funds the Digital Divide Network and the Digital Opportunity Channel, among
other programs; and
· The Open Society Institute’s Information Program.
an in-depth description of this program, please see our answer to C36). We
believe that we can best serve the noncommercial user community and build the .org
brand imperative through leveraging the knowledge and worldwide outreach capabilities
of these organizations to expand the market for .org globally. Based upon these
organizations’ sensitivity to the .org target market, they will provide a “marketing
bridge” for RegisterOrg worldwide. Through the contribution of content, applications,
tools and models that provide increasing functionality and better marketing to nonprofit
organizations, the Community Portal will be a critical part of repositioning and
extending the brand globally in a way that is not possible with traditional media.
2) How will you interact with the community? What structures exist for input
from the community, not merely for issues of policy, but for more run-of-the-mill
RegisterOrg appreciates the importance of being responsive
to and supportive of the global noncommercial user community. By its nature,
running an important public resource such as the .org registry requires a unique
business paradigm that seamlessly balances the demands of the public interest with
commercial realities. In order to accomplish this feat, RegisterOrg is committed
to transparency and community involvement. As we describe below, the Community
Portal will be a principal vehicle for soliciting input and receiving feedback from
noncommercial users. Moroever, in the event of any Registry policy modifications,
other than the implementation of new ICANN–consensus based policies, RegisterOrg
will provide 60 days notice of any proposed policy that would substantially affect
the .org community, and invite a minimum of 30 days for public comment on any such
proposed policy. Within five days following a meeting of the RegisterOrg board,
all policy decisions will be posted for the public to review. In cases where
the Registry is required to implement new ICANN related (consensus based) policy,
the Registry will provide notice of such policy modifications upon approval of any
such policy. Furthermore, as stated in our application, RegisterOrg will keep
users informed of policy discussions at the ICANN level since it will be participating
in the ICANN policy process as an operator of a gTLD registry. In this way,
users who are often outside of the scope of ICANN policy discussions will be able
to find relevant policy discussions and updates.
Additionally, RegisterOrg will
interact with the community through:
· Customer Service: As a commercial
operator, RegisterOrg values the servicing of its customers as its foremost priority.
Through Registry Advantage, RegisterOrg currently provides a multilingual, 24-7 service
support network, which will be expanded to provide support for the international
.org community. Ultimately, customer satisfaction, as well as policy and marketing
outreach, will be essential in growing the base of international registrants for
the .org Registry. This philosophy has fueled the continuous financial success
of Register.com (RegisterOrg’s parent) since its inception as the first commercial
competitor to VeriSign/Network Solutions. Moreover, as a commercial operator,
RegisterOrg will have the management depth, financial capitalization, and customer
service orientation to build, service, and grow a global .org domain while serving
the interests of the international noncommercial constituency.
· Community Portal:
The Community Portal will serve as a central place where all users may engage in
dialog about the issues that affect them most and provide an opportunity for users
to participate in Registry issues, including both broad policy concerns and run-of-the-mill
matters. Specifically, RegisterOrg will reserve a portion of the Community
Portal for community input and feedback and will post key policy issues for public
comment and debate. To facilitate this process, RegisterOrg’s grantee partners
will disseminate information globally through their networks to the noncommercial
community regarding important policy issues and solicit input from the noncommercial
user community. Through the Community Portal, RegisterOrg will construct an
online community of global resources for the development and growth of nonprofit
organizations, create a place for users to post relevant papers and research regarding
.org and the noncommercial Internet in a variety of languages, and foster international
discussion groups on relevant policy issues and sharing strategies for building a
successful noncommercial site. (For a detailed description of this portal,
see our response to C21).
· Grant Funding: RegisterOrg will grant two-and-a-half
million dollars ($2,500,000.00) to the Open Society Institute and the Benton Foundation’s
Digital Opportunity Channel (a joint initiative of the Digital Divide Network and
One World.net). Both of these organizations have a demonstrated ability to
reach out to and work with the nonprofit sector on a global scale. RegisterOrg
believes that the missions of the selected organizations are consistent with the
principles of promoting broad participation by noncommercial organizations in online
policy-making, improving worldwide access to and use of the Internet by noncommercial
organizations, and encouraging technological innovation to foster the continued growth
and development of the Internet. Through these organizations, RegisterOrg can
involve an existing network of noncommercial groups in establishing .org as a resource
for all noncommercial users. As grantee partners, Benton and the Digital Opportunity
Channel will provide content for the Community Portal, disseminate information, and
solicit user input regarding best practices, policy issues and Internet governance.
Moreoever, RegisterOrg believes that this contribution will seed the growth of a
robust.org community by encouraging technology capacity building on an international
scale, as well as fostering global policy awareness, education and participation,
and technology innovation that will benefit the .org user community as a whole.
What will the transition look like from the end-user point of view? In particular,
if certain services will be suspended during the transition, how will you notify
registrants? If procedures exist for emergency updates of information, how
will these work? The winning bidder should understand that the majority of
registrants are unsophisticated users, and should not rely on all users receiving
notice until a service is interrupted.
As set forth in response to Question
C.18.1, RegisterOrg has developed a nine step technical plan that will ensure that
a transition from VeriSign to RegisterOrg would have minimal impact on both .org
registrants and Internet users seeking to resolve .org names. The primary goal
of the transition is to ensure the continuity and stability of the .org TLD by ensuring
zero data loss, continuous resolution of all domain names, no conflicts between new
registrations and existing registration data, and clear communication with all stakeholders
throughout the transition process. RegisterOrg is currently reviewing and updating
its transition plan in order to ensure that it remains current given the schedule
revisions published by ICANN.
The fact that VeriSign is required to continue to
provide DNS resolution services on its name service infrastructure for up to a year
after the beginning of the transition period will ensure that the DNS resolution
function will continue uninterrupted throughout the transition period. Registry
services, such as Whois and DNS zone file generation, may suffer from a limited interruption
in service while the final set of data is imported from VeriSign. However,
that will not affect continued DNS resolution of any transferred domain name.
The continuous updating process during the month leading up to the transition of
registry operators should limit any potential unavailability of the system for new
registrations to less than 24 hours.
Although the Registry would be fully
capable of operating, after the initial data import, RegisterOrg is providing a one
week period after the data migration has been completed to allow registrars and other
members of the Internet community to reconcile the contents of the new Registry database
with the data contained in VeriSign’s legacy registry. This one week period
will apply to any system, such as the shared registry system (SRS) and portions of
the Account Management Interface, that has the capability to perform write operations
on the registry’s database. During that time, the Registry will temporarily
suspend registration services, such as registering new domain names, modifying name
servers for existing domain names, initiating a transfer of registrar for an existing
domain name, and deleting domain names. RegisterOrg anticipates that this suspension
will occur during the first week of the transition, beginning at midnight on January
1, 2003, and ending on January 8, 2003. Beginning on January 8, the Registry
will begin to allow registrars to connect to the shared registry system with a limited
number of connections. The number of connections allowed per registrars will
gradually be increased over the following week, until the Registry is operating at
its full capacity.
If selected to run the .org Registry, RegisterOrg will immediately
begin to provide registrars with initial information about the transition plan, including
target dates for each of the major activities throughout the transition process.
Once the contract with ICANN has been signed, RegisterOrg will distribute contracts
to registrars, who must execute this contract in order to allow them access to the
Registry Advantage registrar toolkit (RTK) and to the testing environment.
RegisterOrg will distribute the RTK and all documentation associated with the new
Registry’s operation upon receipt of the registrar’s executed contract.
the transition period, after a reasonable set of data has been imported into the
Registry Advantage systems, RegisterOrg will initiate a test and reconciliation process
via two interfaces: a Whois system and a DNS zone, which will be publicly accessible
and will allow the Internet community to validate the accuracy and completeness of
the imported data set. These services will be run using unique sub-domains
within the registerorganization.org top-level domain name. For example, the
Whois server may use a domain name such as testwhois.registerorganization.org, and
the zone file may be rooted in a sub-domain such as testzone.registerorganization.org.
In such a case, an imported name such as example.org would be available for testing
purposes as example.testzone.registerorganization.org. Once data has been made
available to registrars and to the Internet community through each of these mechanisms,
RegisterOrg will allow and encourage registrars to notify the Registry of any discrepancies
between the new and legacy registry databases. Throughout this process, registrars
will be responsible for interacting with their .org registrants to identify and process
notifications of data mismatches.
Finally, RegisterOrg will provide the financial
stability necessary to ensure a smooth transition that is transparent to the end-user.
RegisterOrg anticipates that a successful transition will require approximately $10
million in working capital. This figure takes into account the months following
the transition during which we expect that there will be only a small infusion of
capital from new registrations and renewals. Because RegisterOrg will not rely
on the VeriSign endowment or outside venture capital, neither objections from VeriSign,
a dealy in the ICANN award process, administrative delays from funding sources nor
minimal registrations and renewals will cause any delay to RegisterOrg in implementing
the transition. Moreover, RegisterOrg has the financial capacity to absorb
any unexpected transition costs without any inconvenience to end-users.