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.

Screen Shot 2013-07-16 at 9.40.34 AM

[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:

890x

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

Litterati: Crowdsource-Cleaning the Planet

Jeff Kirschner came up with the idea for the “Litterati” movement after his young daughter spotted a piece of litter floating in a river near his home in Northern California. “Daddy, that doesn’t go there,” she said.

Feeling the need to create a movement to stop the world’s littering habit, Jeff came up with the idea to take a picture of litter he found and post the photo to Instagram, using the hashtag #Litterati. He began encouraging people across the world to share pictures on Instagram of litter they found before disposing of the trash. Using the #Litterati hashtag, picking up trash became a social – and oftentimes artistic – activity.

Image

A @Litterati Instagram photo

It was not hard to find others eager to help rid their communities of mindless litter. With “Litterati” quickly growing, Jeff started to organize tagged #Litterati photos from all over the world into a “Digital Landfill” on http://www.Litterati.org.

Using Instagram’s geo-tagging and time-stamp features, Jeff could also track where and at what time the pieces of litter were found. He built a map on Litterati.org showing all of the locations across the world in which participants are finding and picking up litter, using the #Litterati hashtag. In addition to the litter map, the Litterati website also presents statistics of litter data for public viewing. Currently, 13,059 pieces of trash have been picked up around the world by Litterati participants – and that number is quickly growing.

Jeff has big plans for how he uses all of this Litterati data:

“I believe Litterati is in a position to create a level of environmental awareness that touches millions of lives,” he writes in an email. “Litterati will be able to work with local government, helping city officials understand more about where trash is emerging, and which brands are the most commonly littered.  We’ll collaborate with brands to help them better understand the lifecycle of their product packaging, so that they can move towards earth-friendly designs. Whether it’s a young child, a government official, or high-powered executive, our goal is to inspire people to take ownership of the [litter] problem.”

Image

One of Litterati’s maps of litter collection

Public Interest Registry chose to spotlight Litterati.org because we love the way Jeff is using his dotORG to help solve our world-wide littering problem. Litterati’s core values of integrity, collaboration, and simplicity resonate with our own, and we fully support Jeff’s use of the Internet to reach other people across the world interested in cleaning up the Earth.

Imagine the impact we could make if every single person in the world disposed of just one piece of litter. In Jeff’s words, “Global collaboration is paramount towards reaching a litter-free world. Individually, we can make a difference. Together, we can make an impact.”

Visit www.litterati.org to view Litterati’s impact so far. Use the hashtag #Litterati on Instagram to join the Litterati movement! You can also follow @Litterati on Instagram and Twitter.

Back to the Future, Making an Impact on the Way.

BTTF-Wallpaper-back-to-the-future-19874563-2000-1236

Today marks the 28th anniversary of Back to the Future’s theatrical release in 1985. For nearly two decades, the critically acclaimed, science-fiction comedy film has delighted audiences with its memorable cast, musical score, iconic references, and of course, the DeLorean time machine.  Ronald Reagan even quoted the movie in his State of the Union Address when he said, “Roads…where we’re going, we don’t need roads”. The legacy of BTTF will surely live on for generations to come.

Today is not only a day to celebrate Back to the Future’s release and cultural impact, but it is also an opportunity to highlight the notable efforts of a foundation that was created by Marty McFly’s real-life counterpart, Michael J. Fox.

Michael+J+Fox+Foundation+Parkinson+Research+VwikH3R3LVfl

Fox was diagnosed with young-onset Parkinson’s disease in 1991. Although this news was not made public for another 7 years, he has since committed himself to Parkinson’s research through his organization, the Michael J. Fox Foundation, which he founded in 2000. In its campaign to pinpoint the cause of Parkinson’s and uncover a cure within our lifetime, the Michael J. Fox Foundation has become the leading Parkinson’s fundraiser in the US, putting over $140M into research (The Guardian).

According to the foundation’s core values, the team is 100% patient-focused, comprised of risk-takers and problem-solvers that won’t stop until a cure is found – one that will improve the lives of people living with Parkinson’s today. Fox is correct when he says: “The cures we want aren’t going to fall from the sky. We have to get ladders and climb up and get them.”

With Fox, there was a story beyond a DeLorean time machine that needed to be told. After getting a better understanding of the core values of his foundation and how they are impacting lives every day, it truly makes us happy at Public Interest Registry to see the Michael J. Fox Foundation carrying out its cause and mission on the .ORG platform.

As the longstanding operator of .ORG, it makes us proud to see individuals, groups, companies and organizations working towards improving the lives of people through this online space. It is also comforting to learn that the values of .ORGs like the Michael J. Fox Foundation are directly in sync with our own values — to build a true sense of community, ensure trust and credibility, and to help make the world a better place – both online and off.

Marty McFly would be proud to see the impact that his real-life counterpart and the Michael J. Fox foundation is making an impact on the way back to the future.

Taking Rachel’s Challenge.

“I have this theory that if one person can go out of their way to show compassion, then it will start a chain reaction of the same. People will never know how far a little kindness can go.”

These words were written by 17 year old Rachel Joy Scott shortly before her life was taken during the Columbine High School shooting in 1999.

Investigations following the shooting revealed that Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold, the gunmen, were often isolated from the rest of their peers. They had each kept journals in which they wrote about their interactions with other students and expressed their disdain. Both of the shooters were publicly classified as gifted children that had allegedly been victims of bullying for four years. This in turn has focused more attention on the link between bullying and school violence.

Did you know:

  • An estimated 1.6 million children in grades six through 10 in the United States are bullied at least once a week. — Human Rights Education Center of Utah
  • Six out of 10 American teenagers witness bullying in school once a day. — National Education Association
  •  A reported 160,000 (15% of all) students don’t show up for school each day out of fear of being bullied while at school — (Fried & Fried, 2003).
  • Every seven minutes, a child on an elementary playground is bullied (Pepler, Craig, & Roberts, 1998).

In memory of Rachel and her compassion for people, her family started Rachel’s Challenge; a series of student-empowering programs and strategies that were created based on Rachel’s writings and artwork, and whose ongoing mission is:

“to inspire, equip and empower every person to create a permanent positive culture change in their school, business and community by starting a chain reaction of kindness and compassion.”

The core component of Rachel’s Challenge is a school assembly that tells the story of Rachel Scott to inspire change among students (in elementary, middle and high schools) to treat others with respect. The results and feedback from this initiative have truly been remarkable. According to the Rachel’s Challenge research:

  • It was found in Texas that there were 90% fewer disciplinary referrals in elementary schools within the state in just a few months after any Rachel’s Challenge program was initiated.
  • A High School in Illinois experienced 84% fewer out-of-school suspensions after having initiated a Rachel’s Challenge program.
  • 78% more students indicated they would intervene in a bullying incident after seeing Rachel’s Challenge.
  •  In a recent 24 month period, Rachel’s Challenge received more than 450 emails from students who indicated they had changed their mind about taking their own life after Rachel’s Challenge made their school a better and more caring place.

We can all learn from Rachel and her chain reaction theory, which has become one of the most recognized anti-bullying initiatives. The key takeaways are:

  • Take Off Your Labels… Be Who You Really Are
  • Appropriate Affection
  • Our Words Have the Power…to Hurt or Heal
  • You are Not Alone…We Have Shared Experiences
  • Today is YOUR Chain Reaction Moment

these-hands

This week, Public Interest Registry has chosen to highlight the work of Rachel’s Challenge because this organization has successfully used their dotORG as an amazing platform to carry out their cause and mission and to help improve the lives of others. Rachel’s story is also one that anyone can relate to, and we want to be a part of the chain reaction that she has started. To date, Rachel’s message has touched more than 19 million people. Every single one of these people will help continue the legacy of making a difference in their communities.

 

If you would like to donate to Rachel’s Challenge, please click here.

 

Domínio .ONG será chancela de credibilidade para ongs internacionais via @idgnow

Fonte Original: IDGNOW
Por Cristina De Luca
Publicada em 17/06/2013 10:00

Grande parte das organizações não governamentais sem fins lucrativos, sobretudo em mercados emergentes, se depara com o obstáculo de provar sua legitimidade, principalmente na internet, onde as ações de crowdfunding e campanhas de arrecadação de fundos através de doações voluntárias.

Pensando nisso, a Public Interest Registry (PIR), desde 2003 gestora do domínio .ORG – são mais de 10 milhões de sites – viu na recente leva de expansão de domínios genéricos de primeiro nível da internet uma oportunidade para solicitar a criação dos domínios .ONG/.NGO, e expandir sua atuação, garantindo às organizações do terceiro setor, uma presença online “certificada”.

“Ao saber da expansão, pensamos em criar formatos que pudessem beneficiar as organizações sem fins lucrativos, nossas clientes ou não, e outras tantas ongs que hoje encontram dificuldade em ter uma presença global na rede, por seu tamanho ou ou por sua atuação local”, diz Link Nancy Gofus, ex-executiva da Verizon que, desde 2012, dirige as operações da PIR.

A ideia foi atrelar a concessão dos registros .ONG/.NGO (sim, ao registrar um, a entidade receberá automaticamente o outro) a um rigoroso processo de validação da organização sem fins lucrativos, no contexto local e global. Só ongs legítimas, filantrópicas e de interesse público, sem nenhum foco comercial, terão o registro. “Vamos atestar que a organização é de fato sem fins lucrativos, sem foco comercial e político, é independente e segue as leis do país onde opera”, diz Nancy.

“Além da questão da credibilidade, muitas dessas organizações enfrentam problemas para serem achadas na rede”, prossegue Nancy. Por isso, os registros .ONG/.GNO contarão com uma espécie de catálogo online _ uma espécie de páginas amarelas com um pequeno perfil com informações sobre o seu trabalho e links para mídias sociais _ onde as organizações sem fins lucrativos poderão expor seus trabalhos, suas campanhas para arrecadação de donativos e recursos, trocar informações e experiências com outras ongs de atuação similar em diversos países.

“Vamos construir o primeiro diretório global de ONGs. Esperamos que essa iniciativa mude o uso da internet para aqueles que estão mudando o mundo. A torne mais útil”, afirma Nancy, lembrando que muitas ongs não têm nenhuma presença na internet. O catálogo daria a elas uma página na internet, antes mesmo que terem condições de criarem seus próprios sites.

A intenção, portanto, é proporcionar às ongs um local seguro e confiável que lhes permita aumentar as oportunidades de engajamento, consciência e financiamento.

No catálogo, as ongs serão catalogadas por causa defendida, país, e região entre outros critérios que facilitem a busca. E terão acesso a ferramentas para o recebimento de doações através da página do seu perfil no catálogo. Outros serviços adicionais irão acompanhar os novos domínios. A intenção da PIR é a de , durante os três primeiros anos de operação, reverter parte da renda  com os registros para a oferta de projetos educacionais e ferramentas online focadas na expansão do conhecimento e capacitação das entidades no uso da internet.

Trabalho já começou
Embora a expectativa da PIR seja a de os novos domínios só estejam disponíveis em 2014, em função do longo e moroso processo de autorização da Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), entidades que desejem ter o registro dod domínios .ONG/.OGN já podem entrar no site da PIR e manifestar seu interesse.

O envio dessa manifestação coloca as ongs no radar da PIR, que pode já iniciar o processo de validação, e as permite estarem permanentemente informadas sobre o desenvolvimento de todos os processos de lançamento dos domínios.

“O Brasil já é o terceiro país em quantidade de organizações interessadas, atrás de EUA e Índia”, comenta Nancy, que visitou o país no início do mês para conversar com entidades brasileiras a respeito da iniciativa.

A muitas delas, Nancy explicou que os registros .ONG/.OGN são complementares ao registro .ORG.BR e até mesmo ao registro .ORG, embora muitas das mais de 10 milhões de organizações com o registro .ORG não preenchem os requisitos para terem os novos registros.

“É evidente que o Google.org não é uma organização sem fins lucrativos”, afirma Nancy, dando uma dimensão do quão rigoroso o processo de validação será.

“Há uma mistura grande de organizações que utilizam o .ORG. Há ongs, mas há também entidades de responsabilidade social de empresas privadas, clubes esportivos, associações comunitárias, igrejas”, diz Nancy.

No Brasil, o registro do domínio .ORG.BR já exige a apresentação de documentação que comprove a natureza da instituição não governamental sem fins lucrativos, de acordo com a legislação brasileira, e o CNPJ. Nos casos em que a instituição é um consulado ou uma embaixada, a exigência do CNPJ é dispensada. Até o momento, foram concedidos pelo Registro.br 47.659 registros .ORG.BR.

Como o Resgistro.br, a PIR é uma organização sem fins lucrativos. Nos últimos 2 anos (entre 2010 e 2012) viu os registros .ORG crescerem 47% na Ásia/Oceania, 25% na América Latina e 23% na África.

A atuação internacional deverá crescer ainda mais a partir disponibilidades dos domínios .ONG/.NGO. No Brasil,o domínio .ORG está disponível através de revendas de domínio e registradores autorizados. O mesmo deverá ocorrer com os novos domínios, embora a intenção da PIR seja contar com conselhos locais na tarefa de validação das ongs.

1,400 New Domain Names Are Coming. What Does It Mean For You?

Original Source: SimplyZesty
Written by Lauren Fisher, 10 Jun 2013

As we prepare for the release of 1,400 new domain extensions such as .book, .music to .sport, the Public Internet Registry (PIR) is also focusing on specific domains for the charity and non-profit sector that will see a whole new type of classification online with the domain extensions .ngo and .ong (which has its roots in Latin languages).

As the internet diversifies, the need for a new domain system is becoming more and more evident. We’ve seen slight shifts with the introduction of country specific extensions, but we are about to see the biggest overhaul of the domain name system in the history of the internet. The new system began rolling out on April 23 this year and by the end there will be a 6,300% increase in web domain names.

What are the implications of a whole new domain extension system and what does it mean for how we  use the internet to search and find trusted information? I spoke to the CEO of PIR, Brian Cute, about this topic. PIR, who operate the .org domain name, is currently accepting requests for registration of .ngo and .ong domain extensions and Brian had some interesting perspectives on what the new domain system represents in the wider context of online communication.

User Trust

As information online increases, there is a growing demand for a verification system to notify us of sites that we can trust. This is especially needed in the charity sector, where many smaller organisations rely on online donations, but how do we know who we can trust? A recent survey conducted on behalf of PIR found that two thirds of respondents would be more likely to donate to a charitable website with a validated domain name.

In addition. 80% of respondents felt that .ngo or .ong would be an acceptable domain for the community. For this to prove successful, it needs to be monitored by a third party who can manually approve requests. Just as Twitter relies on human authentication to grant profiles ‘verified’ status, we are about to enter a new phase that will see a similar process in action across the internet, one that will be tailored specifically for NGOs.

As Brian explained, where an organisation doesn’t already have NGO status, PIR will enter into a manual verification process to decide if the domain should be awarded. The impact this has on our online behaviour is significant. With 1,400 new categories launching, we will approach websites differently and will have to develop an understanding of how the categories function (to an extent) to get the information we want.

We will need to judge the difference between domains like .co.uk or .london to decide which is the right one for us. Brian asserted that even though organisations have a diversified presence online – which can include social profiles and apps as well as a website – it is still the website that people ultimately trust. He explained that:

“…the humble website remains one of the best ways to completely control the environment around your brand and we think they will remain a primary home on the web for years to come.”

The Role Of Search

This will have a huge knock-on effect for search engines, which will need to develop a new system of categorising websites. Right now, we’ve a relatively simple system where just a few domain variations need to be categorised.

We risk seeing multiple results for a product name that could have multiple domain name variants. with a need to support category domains to filter information, how we search in the future will be drastically different to how we search now.

This could even mean domain specific search engines if you only want to search within .sport for example. Suddenly, we have semantic search made possible by the domain name itself. Speaking about the impact on search, Brian said:

“This is yet another indicator of how drastic these changes will be and why organizations and the Internet community must begin to prepare now.”

Below is the interview in full with Brian Cute.

Lauren Fisher (LF): Right now domain names are fairly standardised, and so are easy for people to remember and use. Do you think the release of up to 1,400 additional domain names could over-complicate this?

Brian Cute (BC): At first, all these new names may be confusing to most consumers. While .co.uk, .com and .org are the norm today, they will be joined by new web addresses such as .book or .music, and .eco or .sport.

However, as you breakdown the categories of the new domain extensions, you’ll find that more than half of them belong to trademarked holders while the rest are spread into categories including generic names, geographic locations and community-centric domains. Most consumers will gravitate to certain categories, and we think there is great potential in the domains that offer community identification and bring groups together under a shared passion or interest.

LF: Do you believe the domain name is still important, with the move to mobile and a heavier reliance on apps?

BC: The increase in domain names combined with the growth of social media platforms and apps does make for a cluttered content landscape. Yet the humble website remains one of the best ways to completely control the environment around your brand and we think they will remain a primary home on the web for years to come.

A recent survey conducted by the Public Interest Registry confirmed that 82% of people still think an organization’s website is the most trustworthy place to get information on a charity or social cause compared to other online resources such as social media sites. While not every new web address will have staying power, we think a community-centric and verified domain will be a strong draw for people.

LF:What are the criteria for an .ngo/ong domain to be granted?

BC: Knowing there is some diversity across the NGO community, the Public Interest Registry has identified six global commonalities to help determine who qualifies for the .ngo/ong domain which will encompass both traditional NGOs and also nonprofits.

We spent three years travelling the globe to speak with non-profits and NGOs to understand their challenges and opportunities. With the new domain, our goal is to create a unique space for the broader NGO community, and also to empower them with new tools such as a global NGO directory to make them more easily found by prospective donors around the world. The six criteria to qualify for an .ngo/ong domain are:

1. Not-for-profit: Non-commercial focus, members not exclusively benefiting.
2. Purposeful: Actively pursuing its mission.
3. Benevolent: Broad-based focus on the good of humankind, not political.
4. Independence: Have degrees of influence to operate – participation is voluntary.
5. Structured/Organized: Function in a defined manner.
6. Lawful: Operates with integrity in the bounds of the law.

Validation will be automated or manual as needed. The automated verification will happen instantly if those organizations have already been identified as NGOs, based on existing valid databases and lists.

If an NGO isn’t on an existing and credible list, we also have a manual validation process whereby organizations can submit required documents for review. Qualifying organizations will be eligible to receive both the .ngo and the .ong extensions (a linguistic variation of the NGO term in Latin-rooted languages).

LF: How will these new domain names impact search?

BC: Just as users and website owners will adapt to new domains, so must search engines. The changes may result in a single organization operating on multiple domain names – either pointing visitors to one flagship site or taking advantage of different domains to specific target audiences and purposes.

This is yet another indicator of how drastic these changes will be and why organizations and the Internet community must begin to prepare now.

LF: Could you expand on the recent survey carried out, where two thirds of respondents claimed they would be more likely to donate to a site with a validated domain name?

BC: The survey, regarding domain names for social causes and non-profits, queried 200 marketing and technology professionals in the UK and was conducted by Harris Interactive on behalf of Public Interest Registry. Respondents included 150 nonprofit leaders and 50 business leaders.

In addition to discovering that a majority of respondents are more likely to donate to a validated domain name, the survey also found that 80% felt that .ngo/ong would be a welcome domain and serve a recognized community.

LF: Do we have a need for these new domain names because the original system is only sustainable to a point, or because our behaviour is changing?

BC: The Internet’s addressing system has undergone several expansions in the past 27 years. Over this span of time, we have added country codes, such as .uk, .de, .fr, and a host of other generic terms. Of course, there has never been an expansion quite like this, in terms of scale and size.

However, it is an evolving landscape both to increase consumer choice and to encourage technology innovation. Consumer consumption is helping drive the appetite for a new domain ecosystem, which we see as very positive.

LF: How big is the market for .ngo domains?

BC: Public Interest Registry spent the last two years meeting with NGOs around the globe to better understand the market and the needs of NGOs. Under our definition of NGO – which includes all valid non-profits – we believe there is upward of ten million organizations that can join the new domain and help build a robust NGO community and online directory.