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.

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

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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.

 

Why Are Brands Abandoning gTLD Applications? by @JenWolfe of @Wolfedomain

Original Source Posted by Jennifer Wolfe on Wed, Jun 05, 2013 @ 02:36 PM

A number of brands have recently fallen from the list of visionary companies applying for gTLDs. Hasbro’s Transformers, Hilton, GM’s suite of gTLDs and Heinz have all decided to pull their gTLD applications, opting out of participating in the first paradigm shift of the Internet.

Why? There two likely reasons — companies are having difficulty responding to ICANN’s clarifying questions that were designed more for an open registry than for brands, or they are balking at the costs associated with applying for and migrating to a gTLD environment.

In the grand scheme of business, both of these reasons are shortsighted, as companies with gTLDs will have significant brand differentiation and innovation opportunities as compared to those who have not applied.

The clarifying questions that may be troubling to brands involves explaining their gTLD strategies and financial models, as brands may not have determined their exact strategies or financial models at this point. However, a response does not need to include a full-blown list of plans.

For most brands, their gTLD strategy simply involves a migration of their .com business model into a top-level domain environment. While this could certainly evolve as new ways of using gTLDs are revealed, the basic model is pretty straightforward. In addition, costs are projected to be the same as operating a .com, plus the specific registry functions of a gTLD, and revenue should not be expected to change at the get-go.

The other primary reason that brands may be dropping off is that they question the value of continuing the application process and see the cost of operating the gTLD as much higher than with .com. While there is certainly a higher cost involved, I would challenge brands to consider whether the cost savings from dropping out is worth more than the value of moving forward. The answer for any large company is “no.”

To break this down:

1.  The cost to apply for a gTLD is $185K.

2.  The cost to migrate .com over and run the gTLD is approximately $250K per year (before you consider investing in innovative ideas). This cost represents significantly more opportunity and responsibility than .com, as brands own and can therefore leverage all the Big Data opportunities.If gTLDs don’t change everything, then this costs about as much as a bad ad campaign or a spot during the SuperBowl that doesn’t work. For big car companies, hotels or even the mighty Transformers, this amounts to a rounding error.

3.  If gTLDs do change the way everyone uses the Internet, then this is a cheap investment for owning critical Internet real estate and being one step ahead of competitors. And if gTLDs do transform the digital world and you abandon, then you are likely to go through this process again in the next round — not to mention wasting the investment thus far.

4.  I have talked with many C-suite executives at Fortune 500 companies, and most of them don’t want to be the leader who didn’t make a relatively small investment in the next big thing just because they couldn’t figure out how to answer some challenging questions.

This gold rush of the Internet is a calculated risk worth taking — acquiring the real estate you want is critical, and the price is well worth it. If everything changes and you have drop out while competitors stayed in, you could lose market position.

So don’t quit while you are ahead. Think creatively, get better advice, and consider that the cost of dropping out is far greater than staying the course of opportunity.

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