Dear Mr. Lynn:
I regret that I was unable to attend ICANN's recent meeting in Bucharest,
but I am confident that my colleague Mikhail Kazachkov was able to outline to the
ICANN board our proposal to operate the .org TLD. I write now to answer questions
about our proposal which, due to time constraints, Mikhail was not able to fully
address at that time.
First, if I may, I want to provide brief background on the
DotOrg Foundation. DOF, as we sometimes call ourselves, was established this
spring with the specific purpose of operating the .org TLD. Those who have
agreed to serve on our board of directors bring an unusual range of experience and
expertise - in both the operations of the Internet and the wider needs of civil society.
The latter, of course, is essential as we attempt to strengthen the .org space, the
part of the Internet most closely associated with non-commercial organizations.
Board members hail from both developed and developing societies.
Mikhail Kazachkov, for example, holds both Russian and U.S. citizenship. Trained
as a physicist, a survivor of the Gulag, Mikhail today is deeply involved in a number
of U.S - Russian ventures in the fields of technology and communications. A
second director, Charles Musisi, is a leader in the development of the Internet in
Africa. A third director, LaDonna Harris, has spent more than 40 years pioneering
new programs and organizations to serve the native community, in the U.S. and elsewhere.
I will not review all the members of the board, but I am delighted to be able to
call them colleagues. I know we all look forward to the election of other directors
from around the world. Indeed, we expect to expand our Board later this summer.
quite young, DotOrg Foundation is fully operational. Our bylaws are in place,
there for all to see. We are particularly committed to governance procedures
that are transparent:
* The Foundation will provide 60 days notice of any proposed
policy that would substantially affect the .org community, posting the proposed resolution
on our web site.
* We will allow a minimum of 30 days for public comment on any
such proposed policy.
* Not later than five days after a meeting of the board,
decisions of the board will be posted.
* The Foundation has even incorporated
into its bylaws a right of appeal so that .org registrants can bring to our attention
policies that might unintentionally harm the TLD.
We also seek to
be inclusive in our governance. Not only do board members already reflect different
perspectives and different parts of the world, the Foundation will be assembling
a council of advisors. One seat on the council is reserved for an individual selected
by ICANN accredited registrars. Up to five more seats are reserved for individuals
selected by .org registrants themselves. Finally, the immediate past chair,
the current chair and the chair-elect of the council will automatically have seats
on the board of directors itself.
I spend much time discussing who we are and how
we shall govern ourselves, but I do so to demonstrate our commitment to ensuring
that the .org space reflects the needs and concerns of those who operate in the non-commercial
As Mikhail explained in Bucharest, DOF recognizes that our paramount responsibility
is to ensure the smooth operation of the .org TLD. This includes managing the
transition from the current registry as well as strengthening the TLD in the years
ahead. We are pleased at the expertise and resources that both Registry Advantage
and Kintera offer and are confident that they will help us deliver the highest possible
service to registrars and registrants alike. With this letter, I provide a
brief paper that Registry Advantage has prepared, answering what we believe to be
key questions concerning the reliability of the proposed DOF registry services.
responsible stewardship of the registry, we believe the future of the .org TLD rests
on the ability to attract new registrants and new web site users. As we discuss
in the attached White Paper on Validation, we confront a quandary: the decline
of .org registrations even as the not-for-profit community expands year after year.
Clearly, not all those who could register sites are doing so. Clearly, the value
of a .org address is not evident to everyone. That said, we believe the potential
for .org TLD growth is substantial - in both developed and developing societies.
simple terms, we seek to offer not for profit organizations new ways to reassure
those who may wish to support or become involved in their valuable work. We
propose to address head-on the lack of trust that many have when visiting the web
sites of not for profit groups. We propose as well to use the special leverage available
to the registry operator to assist those in developing societies to more fully adopt
the Internet. The non-commercial space is vast, and DOF proposes to develop
services that reflect that world's rich variety.
In shaping these new services,
DOF will work closely with interested parties throughout the ICANN system - from
ICANN itself, to registrars, to registrants. The services described in our
White Paper on Validation will be completely optional: Registrars may elect
to offer them or not; organizations can elect to use them or not.
We seek to build
the .org TLD by differentiating it from other TLDs. There is a need for
the .org space, and it is up to the new registry to work with registrars and the
wider non-commercial community to demonstrate that need.
Again, on behalf of the
board of directors of the DotOrg Foundation, I wish to express our thanks for this
important opportunity to contribute to the growth and impact of the .org TLD.
We stand ready to answer whatever questions you and your colleagues may have and
look forward to your ultimate decision.