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C35. Describe in detail the mechanisms you propose for ensuring that the policies and practices followed in your operation of the .org registry are responsive to and supportive of the noncommercial Internet user community, and reflect as much of its diversity as possible. Your description should include any affiliation you propose with representative noncommercial organizations and details (including proposed bylaws or other chartering documents) regarding any governing or advisory groups that you propose.

Affiliation with Representative Noncommercial Organizations

The DotOrg Foundation is a nonprofit organization formed by individuals and governed by Directors, all of whom from the outset reflect a diverse group steeped in noncommercial experience, affiliated with a variety of organizations, representing different geographic regions and cultural experiences, and contributing a range of policy and technology expertise.  Moreover, the Foundation is finding support among other noncommercial organizations, some of which intend to affiliate themselves with the Foundation for purposes of introducing future value-added products for the .org registrants, providing guidance to the Foundation, and partnering with the Foundation for outreach to the noncommercial sector.

Listening and Understanding

Fundamentally, the opportunity and challenge for any new registry operator of the .org TLD is to ensure that the .org TLD is administered in a way that creates benefits and opportunities for noncommercial registrants, while securing for all .org registrants both continued stability of registry services and an enhanced registry for all current and future .org registrants and registrars. 

Policy issues concerning governance, security, intellectual property protection, privacy, consumer protection, and organizational verification will be among the core issues the DotOrg Foundation will address.  The DotOrg Foundation envisions its role as a convener of noncommercial forums where ideas may be examined and disseminated.

In establishing such a platform, the DotOrg Foundation will strive to:

  • Create mechanisms and open governance structures to elicit dialogue with and participation by .org stakeholders, particularly the noncommercial Internet community;
  • Listen to and understand the noncommercial community’s goals and concerns and build an engaged and participatory constituency;
  • Provide for transparent and accessible meetings and decision-making processes that allow for global participation; and
  • Include accredited registrars in outreach and policy formation mechanisms.

An important component of being responsive to the noncommercial community is to listen to what this community is saying.  The DotOrg Foundation will provide at least six public “town hall” meetings to solicit comments from the noncommercial community.  The number of these meetings, four held in conjunction with ICANN meetings, and two additional meetings to be in other regions not on ICANN’s schedule, should eventually increase as the community grows.  The meetings will allow for both in-person and virtual participation through the Internet.

In addition, the DotOrg Foundation’s website will have message boards and other interactive components to allow worldwide feedback.  Foundation staff will actively monitor and participate in these discussion boards.

The DotOrg Foundation also will provide to registrars newsletters on at least a quarterly basis focused on issues and ideas for success of noncommercial organizations.  These newsletters will be educational in focus and will available in several different languages.  The registrars may wish to send the newsletters registrants. 

Through the newsletters and other means, the DotOrg Foundation may conduct surveys in cooperation with registrars to understand the needs of the .org constituency and their satisfaction with the DotOrg Foundation’s stewardship of the .org registry.  

The DotOrg Foundation will encourage and promote the use of its website and its interactive tools for the benefit of the community, but it will also participate in other forums and discussions in furtherance of its mission.  In addition, the Foundation will look to the activities of other groups, such as associations, trade groups, governmental organizations, and research gatherings for opportunities for the Foundation to participate and listen to these audiences.

The DotOrg Foundation will encourage the formation of international associations focused on the needs of noncommercial organizations using the Internet.  As these groups are created and nurtured over the next several years, the Foundation can use these groups as a major component of its outreach and listening.  In fact, if possible, the Foundation would encourage and try to facilitate entities that serve the noncommercial community to become accredited or partner with accredited registrars in order to better address that community’s needs.

DotOrg Foundation Governance

The DotOrg Foundation’s very governance structure will enable it to ensure that the policies and practices followed in the operation of the .org registry will be responsive to and supportive of the noncommercial sector.  The DotOrg Foundation anticipates two tiers of governance.   See Attachment A1.

Board of Directors

The Board of Directors will set policy and oversee the operations of the Foundation.  The Board will provide guidance to the DotOrg Foundation staff, which will carry out the daily activities of the Foundation and oversee the sub-contractors and business partners.  In addition, the Board will have oversight of the use of the .org registry funds, including the endowment, and the distribution of excess funds, should that occur.  

The Board of Directors will be comprised of seven to fifteen members, representing various sectors of the .org community and geographic distribution.  The Board will elect its Chair.  The Chief Executive Officer of the DotOrg Foundation will be a voting ex officio member of the Board.  The Board will also include three voting ex officio representatives elected by the Advisory Council. 

The Board will create committees as needed in order to improve management of the DotOrg Foundation.  Initial committees are likely to include:

  • Technology – oversight of sub-contractors, liaison with Chief Technical Officer, oversight of registry services, and oversight of validation services;
  • Nomination – nominations to the Board of Directors;
  • Finance – oversight of the DotOrg Foundation budget, oversight of endowment or other excess fund disbursement, setting and reviewing compensation of the Foundation staff, liaison with Chief Financial Officer, and financial oversight of sub-contractors and business partners; and
  • Policy – oversight of DotOrg Foundation policies, oversight of outreach to .org community, oversight of ICANN relationship and agreements; and liaison with Chief Policy Officer and Director of Outreach. 

Directors’ committee assignments would be staggered for continuity of governance.

Selection of Board members, other than the ex officio members, would be by virtue of nominations by the Nominating Committee.  The Nominating Committee shall strive to invite members to the Board who continue to provide diverse representation of the .org community, including factors such as geographic, organizational and skill-set diversity.

Advisory Council

The DotOrg Foundation shall have an Advisory Council that provides guidance to the Board.  The Council shall be comprised of ten to twenty-five members, representing the .org community and providing the diverse set of expertise needed by the .org registry.  The Council will elect a Chair to serve a one-year term.  The Chair-elect, current Chair, and Immediate Past Chair will serve on the Foundation’s Board of Directors.

The Advisory Council members will be selected by a combination of nominations and elections.  The Foundation and the .org community will benefit greatly by the Council including experts, particularly with technology backgrounds, to help guide the registry in providing a stable and superior service.  Therefore, the DotOrg Foundation management and the Board Nominating Committee will be responsible for locating and nominating  advisory members with the appropriate expertise.

An important tenant of the DotOrg Foundation’s mission is to provide for input by .org stakeholders.  Therefore, the Advisory Council would also include two to five members directly selected by the .org registrant community; and one member selected by .org accredited registrars.  The Foundation would strive to establish selection methods that foster selection of advisors who represent the geographic and organizational diversity of .org registrants and registrars. 

The selection of the registrant representatives may take several forms.  The DotOrg Foundation is committed to ensuring that the process is fair and transparent and is accepted by and responsive to the .org community.  Therefore, the Foundation is contemplating potential election mechanisms.  While implementing an elected governance structure immediately is challenging, the DotOrg Foundation proposes the following timeline for elections to the Council:

  • First Quarter 2003 – Appointment of the Advisory Council members nominated by the Board, and their selection of committee chairs and members, with staggered terms to preserve governance continuity. 
  • Second and Third Quarters 2003 – Hold on-line forums and discussions with the .org community to gain consensus regarding an election mechanism and internal Council governance.  Finalize governance process and make appropriate changes to bylaws and articles of incorporation.
  • Fourth Quarter 2003 – Establish such mechanism and disseminate the information to the electoral community.
  • First Quarter 2004 – Hold elections.
  • Second Quarter 2004 – Elected members begin their terms.

In the interest of efficient and effective operations, the Advisory Council is likely to have several Advisory Committees that focus on specific areas of responsibility and bring in relevant experts.  Initial committees are likely to include:

  • Outreach – advise on outreach to global .org community;
  • Technical – advise on registry and validation services; and
  • Legal and Policy – advise on registry policies, ICANN policies, and the Foundation’s charitable activities


It is important to the .org registrars and registrants and the DotOrg Foundation that decisions that affect the constituency are made in the open and that the dialogue and discussions are available to the public.  All message board comments will be public and archived records of such comments will be accessible to the public.

Additionally, the DotOrg Foundation will publish on its website certain governing decisions, as follows:

  • Resolutions adopted  by the Board (other than personnel or employment matters, legal matters, matters that the Corporation is prohibited by law or contract from disclosing publicly, and other matters that the Board determines, by a two-thirds vote of Directors voting, are not appropriate for public distribution); and
  • Revised or new policies adopted by the Board.  Prior to even considering such decisions, the Board will post notice of such consideration and accept public comments regarding the decisions.

The Foundation will make every attempt to answer questions from the .org constituency and provide access to information, as appropriate.

New Products and Services

The DotOrg Foundation’s free and optional services described in Question C27 further answer the needs of the noncommercial community and help bring new noncommercial registrants to the .org TLD.

The outreach and governance mechanisms described here and in response to C38 will help shape the DotOrg Foundation’s responsiveness to the noncommercial community, including the strategy for new and improved product offerings.  The DotOrg Foundation believes that the .org community is in the best position to identify its own needs.  The Foundation plans to solicit input from this community for new products and services.  For example, the “town hall” meetings described above would allow the Foundation to conduct focus groups and brainstorming sessions for new ideas and feedback on current services.

Even as the Foundation prepares to engage in such outreach, it and its vendors in this bid have identified products to address noncommercial Internet users’ needs.  These products and services, described in C27 and C38, are based on the knowledge of the noncommercial sector brought to the project by the Foundation and Kintera, its provider of some of the new products.  This preparation demonstrates the Foundation’s understanding of the sector, and its commitment to responding to noncommercial needs.

As described in C38, the validation of noncommercial registrants that the DotOrg Foundation proposes to offer would involve independent third party validators.  These validators would generally be organizations and associations currently involved in serving and certifying the noncommercial sector in their locations and/or areas of expertise.  These validators would further increase outreach to – and input from – the noncommercial entities that they reach.  These value-added services should encourage increased numbers of noncommercial entities to use the Internet and register in the .org TLD.


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