#NGOs + Gov. + Businesses = #Collaborative; #2030NOW #SocialGood Summit


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[photo by Mashable]

The theme of this year’s Social Good Summit (SGS) is:

Big Ideas + New Media = Innovative Solutions; #2030NOW.

Why #2030NOW and not #2013? SGS is calling for long-term thinking about ways that new media and technology can be used to solve the world’s leading challenges. The idea is that long-term thinking will lead to long-term solutions that have a positive impact on future generations and ultimately make the world a better place.

SGS is organized by some of the worlds leading organizations in international affairs, philanthropy, technology, and social good: the United Nations Foundation, 92Y, Mashable, Ericsson, UNDP, and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. This event is not only an opportunity to unite people that are passionate about the digital social space, technology, and sharing information; SGS turns global leaders into global listeners, and it encourages important dialogue that we as a global community can take and translate into action.

578503_10151745210219457_2029167989_n[photo by Public Interest Registry]

The SGS is taking place at 92Y in NYC during UN week; however, +SocialGood and the United Nations Development Programme have worked to spread the SGS to over 120 countries through Meetups and Livestreams, where people all over the world have been able to tune into the one of the largest and most vital conversations happening on Earth.

The map below shows the distribution of Meetups that have taken place internationally in conjunction with the SGS:

social-good-summit-meetups[photo by Mashable]

The past three days have (without a doubt) been extremely rich in content, covering global issues, discussing existing and emerging technology that could be used to transform the condition of today’s world for the better by 2030. Here are a few soundbytes:

  • We need to think higher, feel deeper, and make sure that those who are not connected gain access to new ideas, technology and opportunities.
  • “It is a hope that someday 7 year old girls will say, “Mama, I hear people used to be poor in Africa. What was that like?” – Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, Under Secretary-General & Executive Director of UN Women
  • “The cost of inaction is starting to outweigh the cost of action.” – Paul Polman, Unilever
  • “Think about how to engage the unengaged by telling them real stories that make them want to change their own behavior.” – Ben Keesey, CEO of Invisible Children
  • All human beings have equal and inherent value; we are a global community.
  • “It’s not enough to connect. We have to connect on behalf of change for everyone.” – Melinda Gates, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
  • Change thoughts in order to change feelings; change feelings in order to change behavior.
  • Impact investing; use your entrepreneurial spirit to address social challenges.
  • “You shouldn’t be able to report about Syria without reporting how we can help Syria.” – David Darg, RYOT
  • Volunteering allows people to contribute their own talents to a given cause or mission.
  • Strangulation of regulation; we need to tailor policies to actually fit the needs of people. We can’t provide a solution if we don’t know the root of the problem.
  • “Without peace, there’s no development. Without development, there’s no peace.” – Jan Eliasson, Deputy Security General of the United Nations
  • If we define the future today, we declare our responsibility to take action toward making that future a reality.

The speakers and panels at this year’s SGS have been incredibly insightful and inspirational. Of all the sessions that have taken place thus far, one topic of discussion seemingly continued to surface and it really resonated with Public Interest Registry and our own initiatives. A number of speakers over the past 3 days have expressed the notion of global collaboration between governments, businesses, civil society, the independent sector, research, and science. With the SGS’s theme in mind, the frequented call to action has been to develop a platform that would allow each of these sectors to interact, communicate, and work with one another toward achieving the Millennium Development Goals. Collaboration. Collaboration! #Collaboration

While sitting in the audience, our team is beaming inside and out because we have been working on a digital platform that is directly in line with what these passionate people are envisioning in a 2030 world. Public Interest Registry – the longstanding operator of the .ORG domain name extension – will soon be launching a dual initiative to empower global Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) by connecting them to governments, businesses and potential partnerships in a single online space.

The first dynamic of our initiative is to launch 2 new domain extensions: .NGO and .ONG (the translated equivalent of NGO in Romance languages). These domain names will be “closed”, meaning that in order to obtain them, you will have to be validated as an NGO/ONG; they will only be available exclusively to these organizations in the effort to highlight credibility and maximize brand recognition.

The second dynamic of Public Interest Registry’s initiative is to build an online NGO directory that essentially functions as a “Facebook for NGOs.” When organizations register their .NGO/.ONG domain names, they are automatically entered into the directory and gain access to communication with government and business contacts. Our goal is to bridge the gap between sectors, prompt discussions and partnerships that will ultimately help NGOs become more sustainable, and encourage collaboration as a means to a well-defined 2030 (and beyond) world.

Here’s an infographic that explains how it works:

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This is Public Interest Registry’s first year of attendance to the SGS, and we are grateful to have the opportunity to engage in conversations about utilizing new media and technology to make the world a better place for all. That is truthfully a huge part of our mission and the purpose behind the .ORG and .NGO/.ONG domain extensions. It is our hope that .ORG continues to be an online space where people share their reason, their cause, or their crazy idea with the rest of the world; and that .NGO/.ONG effectively unite the independent sector with governments and businesses so that together, they can work toward #2030NOW.

Join @Sept11Memorial Today in Honoring the 12th Anniversary of 9/11

Today’s .ORG highlight is in honor of the 12th Anniversary of 9/11.


The National September 11 Memorial & Museum (www.911memorial.org), located at the site of the World Trade Center, is a tribute to the (nearly 3,000) victims that lost their lives during the terror attacks on September 11, 2001, as well as those who were killed in the WTC bombing in February 1993.

About the design:

In 2003, an international competition was held to find a design for the new 9/11 Memorial. In total, there were 5,201 submissions across 63 different countries. Below is an excerpt from statement of the winners of the design competition, Michael Arad and Peter Walker, who had submitted their idea of “Reflecting Absence”:

This memorial proposes a space that resonates with the feelings of loss and absence that were generated by the destruction of the World Trade Center and the taking of thousands of lives on September 11, 2001 and February 26, 1993. It is located in a field of trees that is interrupted by two large voids containing recessed pools. The pools are set within the footprints of the Twin Towers. A cascade of water that describes the perimeter of each square feeds the pools with a continuous stream. They are large voids, open and visible reminders of the absence.

The surface of the memorial plaza is punctuated by the linear rhythms of rows of deciduous trees, forming informal clusters, clearings and groves. This surface consists of a composition of stone pavers, plantings and low ground cover. Through its annual cycle of rebirth, the living park extends and deepens the experience of the memorial.

Surrounding the pools on bronze parapets are the names. The enormity of this space and the multitude of names underscore the vast scope of the destruction. Standing there at the water’s edge, looking at a pool of water that is flowing away into an abyss, a visitor to the site can sense that what is beyond this parapet edge is inaccessible.

The memorial plaza is designed to be a mediating space; it belongs both to the city and to the memorial. Located at street level to allow for its integration into the fabric of the city, the plaza encourages the use of this space by New Yorkers on a daily basis. The memorial grounds will not be isolated from the rest of the city; they will be a living part of it.

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After nearly a decade of looking at photos of what once was, we can now proudly look at this Memorial and Museum as a positive stepping-stone forward.

The Public Interest Registry team would like to send its condolences to all of those who have lost friends, family members, or colleagues during 2001 and1993, as well as the firemen, policemen, and response units that worked relentlessly to save others. Today we honor them, we will never forget.

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For more information about the 9/11 Memorial & Museum, please visit www.911memorial.org.


Introducing .NGO/.ONG at @InsideNGO’s Annual Conference, Exclusively for the NGO Community

Last week, Public Interest Registry had the privilege to exhibit at this year’s annual InsideNGO conference in Washington, D.C. InsideNGO is a membership association that focuses on strengthening “inside” operational staff members and leadership in the international NGO sector; this particular event provides members of the NGO community with the opportunity to share strategies, solutions, policies and procedures with one another. This was Public Interest Registry’s first time attending, and we truly benefited from the experience.

Many if not most of today’s NGOs occupy the digital space by sharing their story and working for a cause through a .ORG website. As the longtime operator of the .ORG domain, it was inspirational for us to meet face-to-face with the members of some of the amazing organizations currently using .ORG to advance their mission. Still, we recognize that the biggest issues that these NGOs seem to face are money, resources and sustainability. With that being said, we were delighted to present a new offering to these members, an invaluable tool for NGOs across the world, that Public Interest Registry will soon make available: .NGO (.Non-governmental organization) and .ONG (the translated equivalent of .NGO for regions that speak romance languages) domains.

Expected to launch January 2015, .NGO/.ONG will be closed domains, accessible only for validated NGOs, and they will be offered as a bundle, meaning, a single registration includes both domains. Obtaining the .NGO/.ONG domains will also mean inclusion to our NGO Hub – an online community where NGOs can find and communicate with each other, donors, volunteers, and potential partners. Think of it like “a Facebook for NGOs” that will feature profile pages and the ability to search for NGOs by name, cause or region.

The feedback that we received from the conference attendees about .NGO/.ONG domains was positive and enthusiastic. Many wanted to know when and where they could sign up. Here are some of the most common questions we received at Inside NGO:

1)     I know .NGO is something my organization will want to utilize. What can I do now in preparation for the .NGO launch?

Answer: You can go to www.globalngo.org for the latest news and updates about .NGO/.ONG, and subscribe to our newsletter. At globalngo.org, you can also submit a free and unbinding Expression of Interest (EOI) for the .NGO/.ONG web address you desire.

2)     I’m on a .ORG website right now. Do I need to switch from my .ORG if I want to buy .NGO/.ONG?

Answer: We actually encourage NGOs to keep both web addresses. Here are a couple of reasons why:

  • To maintain brand equity. Since your organization has already invested in building a brand under .ORG, your supporters likely already recognize you as a .ORG, and we believe that there is great value to maintain and continue with this trusted recognition.
  • To increase brand awareness. Because .NGO/.ONG is a validated domain, it would be advantageous to use this extension to show the world that your organization is a validated NGO. When people see the extension to the right of the dot in your organization’s web address, it will be understood that you have undergone a vetting process to attain this.
  • To secure your brand name. If another NGO has a name that is similar to yours, it will be important to distinguish yourself and minimize confusion from the consumer perspective.

3)     How much will .NGO/.ONG cost?

  • The price has not yet been finalized, however, if you sign up for our newsletter on globalngo.org, you’ll be one of the first to know when we release pricing information.

In fact, as we get closer to the launch of .NGO/.ONG we will certainly provide more updates including the development of the NGO portal through our monthly NGO newsletter. To sign up for this newsletter is highly encouraged.

Our ultimate goal is to reach as many NGOs across the globe as possible and create a place online for meaningful connections. Please, help us spread the word about .NGO/.ONG and share the guide below!

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You may also view this guide here: http://www.ngotld.org/files/NGOFlyer_Final.pdf

We would like to just give a quick thanks to InsideNGO for organizing this important annual event. We are very fond of the work that this organization does to help provide NGOs with more resources and opportunities. And thank you to everyone who stopped by to visit us in the exhibit hall! It was a pleasure meeting you all, and we look forward to connecting again soon in the future.

#dotORG Highlight: Everybody + POOL (@PluspoolNY) to Make First Swim in NYC’s East River in over 100 Years Possible!


New York City is not only the most populous city in the United States, but it is truly a global power city, having an incredible impact upon culture, media, art, fashion, technology, education, and entertainment. People from all over the world travel to visit and experience the Big Apple — for the views and leisure trips, to get a taste of the cultural groups that line each crevice of every borough, to pursue professional opportunities, and to see if they can make it in the famously competitive city.

However, New York City has one strange shortcoming—NYC’s inhabitants are unable to swim in the waters that almost completely surround the city.

Simple Idea: Instead of trying to clean an entire river, what if you started by just cleaning a small piece of it?  And what if you could change how New Yorkers see their rivers, just by giving them a chance to swim in it?

Three years ago, friends Dong, Archie and Jeff proposed the + POOL — a floating pool for people to swim in, that would act as a water filter for the East river.


They have since been working with leading engineering firms, design offices, architectural and environmental organizations, as well as city and state private organizations that have stakes on the water, to further develop a plan to clean the river and enable New Yorkers to swim in the water for the very first time in over 100 years.

So, how would the filtration system work?



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The layered filtration system in the + POOL is designed to clean up to half a million gallons of river water every single day, eliminating bacteria and contaminants incrementally to ensure that the water meets both city and state standards, and is suitable for people to swim in. There will be no chemicals or additives used, just natural river water.

Who is this pool for? EVERYONE!



+ POOL is designed as four pools in one: a Kids’ pool, Sports pool, Lap pool and Lounge pool. Each can be used independently, combined to form an Olympic-length pool or opened completely into a 9,000 square foot pool for play. Its simple and iconic shape will mark the return to clean rivers in New York City.


+ POOL by the numbers:
Pool Dimensions: 164′ (l) x 164′(w) x 5′ (d). Each arm is 32′ (or four lanes) wide.
Pool Area: 9,300 sf
Pool Volume: 285,000 gallons
Deck Dimensions: 205′ (l) x 205′(w) x 8′ (d)
Deck Area: 14,700 sf
Water Turnover Period: Every 6 hrs (2 hrs at Kids’ pool)
Water Turnover Rate: 707 gpm (259 gpm at Kids’ pool)
Max Daily Turnover Volume: 694,000 gallons/day

Crazy Idea: + POOL is driven by the supporters, backers and collaborators that want to see the pool in the river.  What if the pool was broken down into bite-size chunks and everybody had the opportunity to have a tangible and measurable impact on building the pool?

+ POOL, including the deck, walls and floor, will be made up of 70,000 tiles. If every single tile is purchased, the entire $15 million construction budget of + POOL will be funded from front to back. Get one for yourself, for your mom, for your girlfriend or boyfriend, with an image of your dog or your favorite Gucci Mane quote. This is an opportunity for EVERYONE to make their lasting mark on a new landmark in New York City.


Check out the tile pricing options and associated perks of each purchase here.

+ POOL (www.pluspool.org) is a truly innovative #dotORG with an exciting mission: to clean New York City’s rivers and enable the city dwellers to swim in them for the first time in over 100 years. It’s a beautiful thing to see the power of a #dotORG organize people for a cause; in this case the cause will go beyond technological advances by creating a positive environmental footprint in a global power city. Who knows, maybe this initiative will prompt additional power cities and alternative ones throughout the world to follow suit. We can’t wait to see the development of the + POOL between now and 2016!



This week we wanted to recognize and honor the story of a 13-year-old girl who devoted her short time on this earth to supporting children and families who live with cancer, while battling cancer herself.

Talia Joy Castellano was just seven years old when she was diagnosed with neuroblastoma, a malignant tumor that develops from nerve tissue. This is the most common form of cancer found in childhood and infancy. A short time later she found out that she also had Leukemia, a cancer of the blood or bone marrow which causes almost one-third of all cancer deaths in children and adolescents younger than 15 years old. Battling two cancers at once is almost unheard of.

Following the diagnosis, Talia started spending more time with Tammy DeLaRosa, a cancer survivor and close family friend. DeLaRosa shared in an interview, “I have drawers and cabinets and stuff full of makeup, and she just started going through them and pulling them out, and then she asked me if I would put makeup on her and so I did.


Talia began experimenting with makeup after losing her hair to chemotherapy treatments. She created her own tutorials and posted them to YouTube. One of her videos earned more than 8 million views, and her channel (GMA News) gained more than 750,000 followers. “I love and adore makeup, using it as my wig and having so much self-confidence to go out to the grocery store without a wig,” she says in one of her videos, “It’s just amazing.” What seemed even more amazing was Talia’s positive attitude despite the circumstances, truly evoking her middle name, Joy.

The YouTube make up guru had mentioned in a video once that she dreamt of meeting Ellen Degeneres. The TV host caught wind of this and turned Talia’s dream into reality when she invited Talia to appear on “The Ellen Show” in September 2012.  She said, “I am inspired by people like yourself. I think there are a lot of people who go through a lot of struggling situations, and despite what the doctors have said and the cancer you’re going through, how do you stay so positive?” she asked.

Referring to Ellen’s character Dory in Finding Nemo, Talia responded, “When people ask me that, what do you want me to do, be depressed? I mean a little fishy told me, ‘Just keep swimming, just keep swimming!’


Ellen, a Cover Girl representative herself, made Talia an honorary Cover Girl and presented her with her own portrait. The makeup brand was awed by Talia’s story and also awarded her a makeup table and $20,000.

Of all the positive messages that Talia video-blogged online, the one that resonates with the Public Interest Registry team most is the idea of leaving impactful footprints on the world and being a part of something bigger. This little giant certainly did that.
Talia’s favorite charity was the Base Camp Childeren’s Cancer Foundation, a nonprofit #dotORG that serves 200 families that are fighting cancer daily. With her footprint in mind, Talia launched a fundraising campaign called “Bring Hope Home” to raise $125,000 so that the local charity in Orlando, FL would be able to buy an office condo to create a permanent home for their programs.


Talia wanted to leave her legacy at the BASE Camp office by creating Talia’s room — “a destination where girls can come when they’re feeling down, a place where they can come to get pretty…filled with make-up, nail polish, pretty dresses, jewelry and shoes!” (BaseCamp)

Please help BASE Camp fulfill Talia’s Legacy with your donation.

Last week, on July 16th, Talia unfortunately lost her battle to cancer, but she continues to win over all of our hearts. Just a few days before she passed, Talia posted her 74-item bucket list to her official Facebook fan page. This list included to-do’s like “leave my handprint in wet cement,” “send a message in a bottle,” “help a newbie with cancer,” and “jump in a pool of jello.”


Talia’s supporters are now honoring her life by completing all of the items on her list and sending in photos to with the hashtag #TaliasBucketList on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

We would like to send our deepest condolences to Talia’s family and friends. Thank you for helping this bright young girl share her light and energy with the rest of the world. Her legacy will continue to live on.

Reflection on UBM’s Business4Better

Last week, UBM held its 4th annual Business4Better event in London. This two-day conference is part of the company’s Community Engagement Series, which was founded in Brazil in 2009 and now also takes place in India and the United States. Business4Better “brings together not-for-profits, social enterprises, business leaders and corporate responsibility professionals to share, learn and connect.”

Thuy LeDinh of Public Interest Registry had the opportunity to attend B4B for the first time and witness how UBM has made this event, along with the rest of the Community Engagement Series, part of its personal commitment to operate as a responsible and sustainable business in its longterm effort to bring the voluntary and business sectors together.

There has been a growing trend for businesses to exercise their corporate social responsibility (CSR) through foundations, events, campaigns, specialty programs, and projects for various causes. What is inspiring about UBM is that they have truly begun facilitating their business based on the idea of improving society. UBM understands that the interconnectivity between sectors is vital for success in a future society.

For decades, we have recognized three main sectors: business, government, and independent. In the standard model the third sector has essentially been perceived and labeled as a third wheel because its consituents (not-for-profits, NGOs, NPOs, etc.) have not clearly defined a universal name to use, and do not have the same resources that businesses and governments have access to. The overarching problem with this model is that the three sectors rarely – if ever – seem to work together cohesively, simultaneously.

LeDinh reflects on a story that Lord Michael Hastings, KPMG International’s Global Head of Corporate Citizenship, shared in London:

On April 24, 2013, an eight-story building collaped in Bangladesh. This building, the Rana Plaza, contained apartments, a bank, a variety of other shops, and garment factories for some of the world’s largest apparel companies, such as H&M, Primark, and Walmart. Despite concerns and evacuation requests that Bangladeshi NGOs had voiced to employers about cracks in the building, workers were prompted to show up the next day. That very next morning, the building collapsed, trapping 3,122 workers inside. After 17 long days of digging through rubble, the death toll reached 1,127 people, and approximately 2,500 people rescued from the building alive were injured. Given that the majority of these workers were women that were single parents and/or sole providers for their families, the entire village of people was disrupted, and effectively destroyed.

After this horrific tragedy, some of the questions we are left asking are:

  • How do we prevent tragedies such as this from happening again?
  • What dialogue needs to happen? Between who?
  • Who will be held responsible for making sure that brands and businesses who set up international factories implement proper safety precautions and pass factory inspections?
  • How do we promote ethical working environments, and ultimately ethical consumerism?

In the case of the Bangladeshi factory collapse, it would have been advantageous for dialogue to occur between advocates on behalf of the workers, businesses, and government officials – to regulate safety measures before allowing people to work in the building. Communication must work both ways; if businesses and governments work together with the independent sector, they will likely have more effective and efficient results.

Like UBM, Public Interest Registry strongly believes in a new paradigm where businesses increase their interaction with government and members of the independent sector in order to develop strong relationships that will improve society. We feel that to make this happen, there is a need to go beyond a digital impact and aim to create interpersonal connections via civil partnerships.

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[Image taken from the World Economic Forum’s Report: The Future Role of Civil Society]

UBM is taking the first step toward trying to unite all three sectors; we would like to see this trend become a way of life across the globe.

Public Interest Registry will be offering .NGO, a new and exclusive domain extension representing “Non-governmental organization”, as a part of this initiative – to give NGOs around the world the opportunity to find and communicate with one another, with donors, and with potential business partners. The ultimate goal is to help NGOs build capacity and become sustainable while working towards improving society.

The .NGO domain is expected to launch in 2015. Its counterpart, .ONG – the acronym for .NGO used in Romance languages – will also become available to the public by Public Interest Registry at that time. To learn more information and submit an expression of interest for these domains, visit www.ngotld.org.

CEO Brian Cute on Computerwoche: A Facebook for NGOs

Brian Cute, CEO of Public Interest Registry, recently sat down with Simon Hülsbömer of Computerwoche.de in Germany to discuss the 1400+ new generic top level domains (gTLDs) coming to the Internet. Public Interest Registry is the longstanding operator of the .ORG domain database, one of the original TLDs, and will soon be offering two new exclusive domain extensions, .NGO and .ONG, for non-governmental organizations (NGOs), as well as 4 international domain names (IDNs) in Cyrillic, Hindi, and two Chinese scripts.

Key points from the interview:

  • Since Public Interest Registry already operates the .ORG domain, we are excited to give a voice and a platform to the NGO community.
  •  Our decision to apply for .NGO was based on three goals: to support NGOs, give the NGO community an identity of its own, and build a verification process required to obtain .NGO/.ONG.
  • The verification process will be a challenge, but can be managed with support of the community (national registration lists, relevant authorization documents etc.).
  • Public Interest Registry’s internal benchmark for .NGO registrations is one million.
  • Each NGO has to decide which domain extension is the best fit for their organization.
  • The .NGO/.ONG domains will also offer a directory and the option to set up a profile page (“a Facebook for NGOs”).
  • The .NGO directory will help to increase readiness to donate, as it enables searching for specific organizations.
  • The website is the most important tool for NGOs to create visibility as it is under their own control – unlike Facebook or Twitter or other social media platforms.
  • A growing number of companies will use different domains for different purposes, e.g. a .ORG domain for their CSR activities.

See the interview (in English) below:


Brian Cute, CEO of Public Interest Registry
Photo: Public Interest Registry

CW: The gTLD approval process is like a cliffhanger. At what stage is it currently?

CUTE: ICANN would like to begin with their release by the end of September. We at PIR have applied for four IDNs and expect that this can go live in the fourth quarter of 2013. Since our applications for .NGO and .ONG had higher numbers in ICANN’s draw, they were placed a little later in the series for approval and launch. About 20 top-level domains are to be released each week, so we expect the start of the launch phase of .NGO/.ONG to begin toward the middle of next year.

CW: How many gTLDs have been approved by ICANN?

CUTE: A total of 1,400 (at 1930 applications ). 663 of them are brand-based and applied by their respective rights holders, for example, .BMW. 400 are generic, such as .Hotels, .Aero, or .Jobs. 84 entries have a social or charitable purpose – we fall in this category. Then there are the IDNs and TLDs for specific geographic regions or cities.

CW: Why did you choose to apply for .NGO/.ONG?

CUTE: With the .ORG domains, we give a non-commercial community a voice and a platform. When we were thinking about whether we should apply for new TLDs, it came to the question of where we would have the best opportunities. The main argument, on the part of users for a domain, is its own identity. Precisely for this reason, .NGO was on the wish list; we wanted to distinguish non-governmental organizations from the crowd and help them create their own identity. The counterpart to .NGO is .ONG, which is the acronym used in Romance languages, so with both extensions the entire globe is covered.

Create a global trust

After these considerations, we had about 18 months of workshops organized – in Africa, Central America, India. We wanted our own idea of ​​the web identity for NGOs at the grassroots level, so to speak, at the grassroot test. The feedback was positive – particularly in the southern hemisphere, where non-governmental organizations have a very strong self-image. In addition, we asked for an admission for the new domain extensions – which means a verification process that is used to ensure that only NGOs may apply for these TLDs. That aspect has also found wide support. Finally, it has been often shown that current events such as the tsunami a few years ago bear a number of companies with fraudulent intentions that call themselves NGOs, collect donations and disappear from the scene.

In short, there are three key factors that drove us to ensure the purely moral support of NGOs to give the community an identity and establish a verification process for these organizations.

CW: A formal verification for NGOs is an honorable thing. But how will this be possible?

CUTE: It will be a challenge. But we already have examples of other TLDs where it has worked. These include .hotel; in order to apply for such a domain, you must appear in an official hotel directory that is managed by a global central governing body. For NGOs, there is no such association as of yet, but at least in some countries national lists of registered organizations do exist, which we can aggregate. In regions without such lists, it is important to identify the documents that confirm that someone has a legitimate NGO status – be it business reports, tax returns or best practices. This will vary from country to country. We will have to consider the origin of the enrollee, any relevant documents to examine, and then decide whether to release the registration or not. Again, we rely on the help of the community: the NGOs need to tell us which of the references in which regions are legitimate.

Most like a million

CW: Which orders of magnitude we are talking about? How many NGOs would be interested in this?

CUTE: Worldwide, there are about ten million NGOs . On our website, these NGOs can submit a letter of intent to domain name registration, or expression of interest (EOI). So far, 700 organizations have submitted their interest. How many are there really? I do not know, but our workshops have received positive feedback and I am very optimistic. We are convinced that our idea will be a success. The critical mass of a successful domain registrar is one million registrations; this is the only internal benchmark we have. I think that we will get there.

CW: Large NGOs have been present in other domains such as .org. How will .NGO compare?

CUTE: There are now ten million registered .ORG domains, mostly in the United States and Europe. The greatest potential for .NGO domains will be in the southern hemisphere — in India, Africa, Central and South America, Asia. A common question in our workshops was whether someone should secure both the .NGO domain and a .ORG domain. We have left the question unanswered as each NGO has to make the choice themselves. The .ORG domain has a good reputation and is already well known, so it might be worth keeping in addition to the .NGO/.ONG extensions. The .NGO addresses, however, will only be available to a limited, select group. With a NGO address directory available, NGOs will be able to create their own profile page and communicate not only with each other, but also with donors and potential business partners. It will act as a “Facebook for NGOs”, so to speak, where the organizations can also raise money.

Donations increases

We see often large online donations to nonprofit organizations. In the U.S., for example, an average of 93 dollars per donor is contributed. Imagine what an African NGO could do with only five of these donations. With a central NGO directory, we will give donors the opportunity to search for organizations by name, region and cause, thus making them feel more confident and happy about supporting a specific group.

CW: Is a website with its own domain in the era of the social web at all necessary?

CUTE: It’s all about visibility, especially for NGOs. A home website is still the premier tool to use. Facebook and Twitter are great – but these platforms are controlled by a third party that I cannot control myself.

Brand management

CW: What do companies need to do to protect their brands?

CUTE: First, they should register their trademarks in the “Trademark Clearinghouse” (TCH), a service offered by ICANN that helps companies protect their brand. A second option is the “Uniform Rapid Suspension” system (URS), whereby any illegally registered domains by third parties can immediately be removed from the network at the rightful trademark owner’s request. We at Public Interest Registry have established more technical processes and a separate department that enforces the rights of trademark owners. However, I recommend all businesses to observe exactly what new extensions are registered and where they might have interest. This saves unnecessary legal disputes. Maintain your brand with vision!

CW: What is the best branding strategy?

CUTE: It is common for companies to register a number of different domain extensions for their brand when they are looking to build their presence online. Many of our new customers are actually part of a Corporate Social Responsibility program; in addition to their .com-presence, they utilize a non-commercial .ORG site for their foundation or to carry out charitable causes outside of their commercial work. A good example of this is the Japanese carmaker Hyundai, which started its non-profit children’s cancer research “Hope on Wheels” on a .ORG page that makes no reference to the carmakers’ commercial products. I expect to see many more examples like this in the near future when the new gTLDs come.

**This interview has been translated from German to English.**

Original Source by Simon Hülsbömer of Computerwoche.de