#TaliasLegacy

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.

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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!’

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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.

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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.”

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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.

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:

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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

ORGs for Boston

The energy in the air is nervous today. Eyes are low, constantly shifting from Twitter and Facebook mobile apps to the Arrival/Departure signs overhead. Security dogs are pacing up and down the halls as armed policemen herd us all like sheep. A man gets on the intercom and announces, “All trains traveling to Boston are suspended indefinitely until further notice.” Like clockwork, literally, all of the “ON TIME” trains scheduled to travel to alternate cities turn to “STANDBY”, “LATE” or “CANCELLED.” Penn Station is growing chaotic quickly, and “Police activity in Boston” is the answer to everything.

The Public Interest Registry team came to NYC this week to participate in the Big 3 Conference, hosted by PR News at Grand Hyatt Central. Given the focus on social media communication strategies, news updates about the Boston Marathon attack  — on Twitter and Facebook — did not go unnoticed by attendees in-between meetings and panels.

Despite feeling disheartened by the details of this catastrophic event, we were amazed to hear the stories — about the runners who kept running to local hospitals in Boston to donate blood; the firefighters, military vets, EMS, and policemen who helped get people out of danger; and the doctors who have been working relentlessly through the evenings and early mornings to monitor their patients. We also felt proud to see dot ORGs join forces and work diligently to try and alleviate the situation at hand in any way possible.

Immediately following the bombings at the finish line on Monday, Google.org activated its Google Person Finder tool so that family, friends and loved ones could search for or provide information about people that may have been missing or potentially injured. By the end of Wednesday, the tool was tracking just under 6,000 accounts – enabling controlled conversation between dispersed parties during a time of disaster.

American Red Cross, an official charity of the Boston Marathon, also exercised a tool similar to Google’s Person Finder called Safe and Well. Ultimately, this response tool helped to unite the community; it enabled emergency responders to delivery deliberate communication; and it helped people find participants and/or spectators that were present during the Boston Marathon attack.

There has unfortunately been concern about recently launched websites that aim to fraudulently raise funds at the expense of this tragedy. On this topic, the Better Business Bureau released a statement on Tuesday saying:

“There are already more than 125 domain websites with names connected to the Boston terror attack. Most of the time, legitimate [relief] websites will have a dot org at the end of their address – not a dot com.”

According to Public Interest Registry’s statistics, 156 dot org domain names were registered between April 15 -19, relating to the Marathon. All of these names currently have an active status, which suggests that all are active websites; however, this cannot be determined unless the sites are visited. Public Interest Registry maintains an anti-abuse policy and will take appropriate action in the event that we become aware of actual fraud or abuse related to these domain names. At this time, we have no information indicating that any of these domains are engaged in fraudulent activities.

Public Interest Registry would like to express its deepest sympathies to all of those who have been affected by the events that have taken place this week. To the Boston community, do not give up. Trying times are times for trying; together, we will get through this.

Sincerely,

The Public Interest Registry Team

The Ratings Are In: Measuring .ORG’s Trust and Success in Numbers

Written by Thuy LeDinh, Senior Marketing Communications Manager at Public Interest Registry

I recently discovered HBO’s new hit show, The Newsroom, which follows a team behind a nightly cable news program in their quest – in the name of ethical journalism – to deliver the best and most truthful news coverage to viewers. If you’re a fan of the show, you likely can understand how it made me think about how we consume, digest and respond to all of the information that media throws at us. Between the emails, embedded hyperlinks, tweets, pop-up banners, and mobile app notifications constantly popping up in our day-to-day lives, how do we cut through the clutter to differentiate between what’s important?

And when we need the facts, where are we most likely to turn for credible, reliable information?

So where do you turn for the most trusted source of information for a cause or charity?  Would it be through social media or the organization’s website?  We recently conducted a survey through ORC International to measure the level of trust consumers have in .ORG and their sentiments towards other online resources, such as social media, and found that 82% of survey respondents still think a website is the most trustworthy place to get information on a charity or social cause.  Despite the growing rise and popularity of organizational social media pages and accounts, Facebook, YouTube and LinkedIn were respectively ranked second, third and fourth most trustworthy.

At Public Interest Registry, we fully believe in the power of the Internet as a useful medium to spread knowledge, ideas and support for the common good. As the not-for-profit-operator of the .ORG domain, we have a responsibility to help maintain the integrity of the Internet by providing a trusted place online for organizations, companies and individuals to tell their stories and to mobilize their communities.

We were pleased to find that a large majority of all respondents (90%) associate a .ORG web address with the words “non-profit,” “trusted,” “exclusive,” or a combination of all three. Furthermore, nearly half (49%) of the respondents polled would choose to purchase a .ORG domain to relay information about a cause that they were passionate about. Other key findings include:

  • Assuming there are four websites, all with similar content but each with a different domain name, 39% of all respondents surveyed indicated they would trust .ORG the most; 23% chose .COM and 25% said they would trust them all equally (.ORG, .COM, .INFO, .NET).
  • In a time of crisis, 33% of all respondents would look for information on a .ORG, followed by .COM (31%) and .INFO (17%).

While these survey findings certainly help us validate our daily efforts to give more causes around the world a trusted online venue, they also demonstrate how audiences seek to connect with these causes and communities across the many Internet options available. As hundreds of new generic Top Level Domains (gTLDs) become available online in the months ahead, Public Interest Registry is working with the global community of non-profit and NGOs to ensure that the transformations coming to the Internet expand the opportunities for organizations and their causes around the world.

Original post may be viewed here.