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.

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

Dan Pallotta: The way we think about charity is dead wrong.

In this TED talk, Dan Pallotta (@danpallotta) claims that there is a double standard that currently persists for nonprofits: they are often rewarded for how little they spend — not for what they actually get done. Pallotta asks the public to start rewarding not-for-profit groups for the ambitious goals that they set out to attain, and the results that they produce, as opposed to reprimanding them for thinking outside of traditional efforts for funding and support. …Well, Public Interest Registry couldn’t agree more. We want to see nonprofits and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) — big and small — become empowered by sharing their cause with the world, raising money, and developing their skills and infrastructure, despite the cost(s) to make this happen.

For nearly a year now, Public Interest Registry has been slowly rolling out the idea of .NGO — a new domain extension that will provide NGOs with greater and immediate recognition online as members of a trusted community, as well as the opportunity to advance their mission. This means that by having the .NGO extension as part of your domain name, you would have already been validated as an organization that is non-governmental, non-for-profit, and non-criminal.

The .NGO domain extension supports Pallotta’s point in that it encourages NGOs to try new methods of engagement with the general public, donors, and potential strategic partners. We anticipate that once .NGO truly grows into fruition it will function as an exemplary tool and transform the traditional model for NGOs across the globe [for the better].

Part of that model will include Your.NGO — the social space for NGOs to connect with one another online and promote their cause. There are several objectives here:

to create a credible online database of validated NGOs
to highlight NGOs’ social causes
to bridge gaps and strengthen alliances between groups that focus on similar efforts
to provide donors with direct search capability so that they can support the specific cause(s) of their choosing
Ultimately, the Your.NGO profile page will supplement each NGO’s home website, driving as much traffic as possible from the social medium to the organization’s home entity. Online integration will help maximize audience reach and productivity.

This truly is a very exciting time for the domain industry because the Internet is changing, becoming more accessible and dynamic every day. This means that there is a lot of opportunity and potential for NGOs to have their voices heard on a magnified scale. But as Pallotta points out in his talk, in order to get some actual traction towards achieving their mission, these groups need to take chances despite fear of failure. In turn, we need to applaud and reward NGOs’ accountability for their productivity and results.

Support .NGO, A Public Interest Registry Initiative

Within a year new generic Top Level Domains (gTLDs) will be launched worldwide, joining the likes of .ORG, .COM, and .NET. Among the proposed new gTLDs is .NGO. .NGO will be the exclusive domain for local and global non-governmental organizations looking to advance their missions or to inspire their communities.

In preparation for the launch of .NGO/.ONG, visit ww.ngotld.org to submit your Expression of Interest (EOI) now!

Public Interest Registry Opens Call For Expressions of Interest For .NGO and .ONG Domain Registrations

Contact:

Karyn Barr Amin / Jamie Rismiller

202-223-9260

pir@allisonpr.com

 

Registry to Keep Interested Parties Updated on Launch of the .NGO and .ONG Domains and Registration Processes

 

RESTON, Va. (February 19, 2013) Public Interest Registry – the not-for-profit operator of the .ORG domain – today announced today that it is accepting Expressions of Interest (EOI) from organizations that wish to obtain a domain ending in .NGO or .ONG. Interested parties who submit an EOI online will receive alerts and updates on the status and registration process of .NGO/.ONG domains when they become available in 2014.

There is no fee to submit an EOI to Public Interest Registry as it is non-binding. More benefits of submitting an EOI include:

  • Email updates on developing information regarding all launch processes by the authoritative operator of the .NGO/.ONG domain extension.
  • An alert service containing relevant and important data pertaining to the registration process of .NGO/.ONG, such as how to register for the Trademark Clearinghouse and requirements for participation in early registration.
  • Exclusive news on any offers from authorized companies handling the registration of .NGO/.ONG at launch time.

Public Interest Registry’s application to be the operator of the .NGO and .ONG domains with the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) is currently under evaluation as part of ICANN’s program for new top level domains (TLDs). ICANN will set forth rules and guidelines, as well as a launch sequence, which dictates who (such as trademark owners, early adopters, and the general public) can register a domain name during a predefined launch phase. In the interim, Public Interest Registry’s open call for EOIs is intended to serve as an informational resource for interested parties and is the first of many steps that the registry is taking to prepare for the domains’ upcoming launch.

As the current and long-standing operator of the .ORG domain – which is home to more than 10 million registrations worldwide, Public Interest Registry is committed to serving the interests of the non-profit and non-governmental organization (NGO) community by providing an exclusive domain extension for NGOs looking for immediate recognition online and broader opportunities for public engagement, funding and partnerships.

“For more than a decade, we’ve worked to ensure that the global non-profit and NGO community feels their online needs are being supported and that users feel they are connecting with organizations they can trust,” said Brian Cute, CEO of Public Interest Registry, “At the same time, it’s humbling to know that we also have the support of members from this community who will continue looking to us when the new top-level domain names become available.”

One such supporter is the DKRS Group, a New Dehli-based NGO that aims to improve the social, economic and education levels of various under-served communities across India. The organization was the first to submit an EOI to Public Interest Registry. According to DKRS Group spokesman Rahul Malik, “The .NGO domain will help us instill faith in our organization amongst the online community because people will know that we’ve been verified by a credible organization.”

For more information on Public Interest Registry’s pursuit of .NGO and .ONG or to submit an Expression of Interest, please visit: www.ngotld.org.

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About Public Interest Registry

Public Interest Registry (PIR) is a nonprofit corporation that operates the .ORG top-level domain — the world’s third largest “generic” top-level domain with more than 10 million domain names registered worldwide. As an advocate for collaboration, safety and security on the Internet, PIR’s mission is to empower the global noncommercial community to use the Internet more effectively, and to take a leadership position among Internet stakeholders on policy and other issues relating to the domain naming system. Public Interest Registry was founded by the Internet Society ( http://www.internetsociety.org ) in 2002 and is based in Reston, Virginia, USA.