The DotOrg Foundation will focus on two areas to differentiate the .org
TLD: a) Creation of new services that provide added benefit to the global
noncommercial .org registrants, as well as the Internet users interacting
with noncommercial organizations; and b) Outreach and Marketing to the
global noncommercial community, particularly in under-served regions,
to registrants, and to registrars.
The DotOrg Foundation anticipates that providing products and services
that focus on the global noncommercial community will increase overall
.org registrations by noncommercial organizations. At the same time,
this renewed focus will not diminish the Foundation’s commitment or delivery
of world-class registry services to all current and future .org
The DotOrg Foundation plans to implement a series of new technologies
and services over the next several years to increase the usefulness of
the .org TLD and to increase the adoption of .org by the noncommercial
community. These proposed new products and services will be shared with
the .org community for comment and suggestions prior to development.
Development of new products and services must meet some or all of the
In keeping with these goals, the first new service proposed by DotOrg
Foundation is an optional validation service for noncommercial registrants,
accompanied by a digital certificate for each domain name.
The DotOrg Foundation anticipates building a validation product that
will allow trusted and respected third party validators to evaluate and
validate the bona fides of noncommercial organizations registering
in the .org TLD. The Foundation would rely on Kintera, Inc. to provide
the technology, infrastructure and management of the services necessary
to support such Authentication/Validation, while continuing to oversee
The value of this product is two-fold: First, it will engender a far
greater level of public confidence when encountering validated noncommercial
organizations online; and, second, it will facilitate the validated organizations
reaching their audience and conducting transactions with them. This is
an important differential from the commercial TLDs in that it focuses
on a benefit of value specifically for noncommercial organizations. Additionally,
the DotOrg Foundation’s strategy creates value to the public, which in
turn promotes a differentiation of the TLD.
Public trust in .org registrants must be supported and improved, yet
consumer familiarity about Internet interactions with noncommercial organizations
has been stunted by the mistrust of the unknown. See Attachment H1. In
some cases this is expressed through the mistrust these noncommercial
organizations have in deploying the technology and in other cases the
mistrust consumers have in using it. “[Nonprofit organizations] ... are
torn between a desire to join the online party and fear of mingling with
pirates,” according to SmartBusinessMag.Com.
The concept of trust is crucial because it affects a number of factors
essential to online transactions and activities, including security and
privacy. Therefore, the DotOrg Directory and Validation / Digital Security
services proposed by the DotOrg Foundation offer noncommercial organizations
a reliable, tested and trusted technology resource that responds directly
to consumers’ need to feel secure in their on-line activities with the
The DotOrg Foundation envisions that validators from around the world
would apply to validate those subsets of noncommercial organizations that
they know. These validators currently serve an important function in
society by providing trusted guidance for the public regarding noncommercial
organizations. The importance of providing third-party evaluations on
a large scale at this juncture in on-line activism and philanthropy cannot
be overstated.  Two societal streams – financial and technological
– are converging and creating an opportunity and a challenge to expand
and strengthen this sector’s use of the Internet. But, this convergence
depends on building public trust.
Validators may include a number of entities: universities, trade groups,
watchdog organizations, and government agencies. For an example, see
Attachment G1. The validation process may also link to governmental databases
containing information on noncommercial organizations, for example. Databases
containing information on nonprofit entities exist currently in North
America and parts of Europe. The DotOrg Foundation may also work with
governmental agencies in countries that do not currently have databases
of registered noncommercial organizations and foster the development of
such databases. As more countries provide validation services and linkable
databases and more of their population uses the Internet, the DotOrg Foundation
believes that the number of noncommercial organizations registering for
.org will increase world-wide.
In addition to overseeing the independent validators – using Kintera’s
services – the DotOrg Foundation would provide overall policy guidance,
based on community input. Among the key policies already considered are:
privacy, competition, and criteria for eligible noncommercial organizations.
Under the process as planned, validation would be available as soon as
a noncommercial organization registers its domain name, and any time thereafter
during the term of the registration. The organization will have the opportunity
to be validated based upon its specific characteristics (service focus,
geographic location, etc.) The organization would choose the validator
from a list posted by the registrar. The registrar would be in control
of which validators to include in its offering.
The organization (registrant) would be given access to web-based forms
querying for the information to be validated by the selected validator.
Once the noncommercial registrant has been validated, it has the option
to post on its website the results or simply a symbol, the DotOrg Seal,
showing it was validated and the name of the validator. The DotOrg Seal
would point to the validated DotOrg Record showing the entity that had
conducted the validation and the evidence used for such validation. When
purchasing this validation service, the .org registrant would also receive
at no extra charge an optional digital certificate that securely links
to its DotOrg Record (see DotOrg Directory description in our response
to Question C27).
Validations would be renewed on at least an annual basis to maintain
their currency and accuracy. The DotOrg Foundation will establish and
update the overriding policies in regard to the responsibilities of validators
to keep their validation data up-to-date. Registrants may update their
validated records at any time, upon approval by the validating authority.
A secure mechanism would update the DotOrg Record. This process would
ensure the security and trustworthiness of the validated record and validation
This validation product would engender a higher level of trust within
the public as well as an increase in the overall value of the .org TLD
to the noncommercial community. While many validating organizations exist
today for the nonprofit community, much of their information is dispersed
or simply not available online. It is envisioned that a new industry
of worldwide validators will be born out of the DotOrg initiative, making
their data much more widely available and accessible.
1 An Organization visits a registrar to register a .org domain name.
2 The Organization supplies Whois information.
3. At the point of registration, the organization is queried for additional
information for the DotOrg Directory (see C27) and provided with an option
to purchase validation services from a list of validators. 
4. The Organization determines which validation service is appropriate
for it and purchases that service through the registrar.
5. Registration is completed and
a. The Organization’s Whois data is populated in the Registry Database.
b. The Whois information and the additional information provided
for the DotOrg Directory is populated in the DotOrg Directory.
c. The information described in 5.b. and any additional information
required by the validator is communicated to the validation authority. 
6. The validator initiates its services. Such services may include:
a. Requesting the Organization (registrant) to log on to either the
registrar or the validator (at the option of the registrar) to provide
more information that will be delivered directly (by EPP) to the DotOrg
b. Authentication by direct contact and verification of the Organization’s
c. Validating legal, financial, and/or association type of information
related to the requesting organization, etc.
Figure C38.1a The Validation Process
7. Validator completes its evaluation and the Organization’s Whois
and DotOrg records are contacted by a secure Internet connection using
a digital certificate and EPP.
8. The Registry and DotOrg records are marked as being “Validated”
as of that specific date and the expiration date is noted.
9. The Organization is notified of their validation completion and
an “Official” serialized DotOrg Seal is issued to that Organization for
placement on their website. The DotOrg Seal will be issued by the DotOrg
Foundation and will provide a link to the Organization’s record in the
DotOrg Directory (see below).
10. An SSL server certificate is issued for installation on the Organization
server. This certificate has a link in the certificate information field
that provides a secure HTTPS connection to the DotOrg directory. The
digital certificate and Seal are included in the overall Validation services
Figure C38.1b The Validation Process
11. Consumers can obtain information on the Organization and view the
“Validated” DotOrg Record by:
- Visiting the DotOrg Foundation website and looking up the Organization’s
- Using the Whois database function (a link is provided to each DotOrg
- [OPTIONAL] Clicking on a “GotOrg?” logo and/or HTML link provided
by a website
- [OPTIONAL] Clicking on the DotOrg Seal provided on the Organization’s
- [OPTIONAL] Clicking on the link provided in the digital certificate
(“yellow lock”) from the Organization’s website.
Figure C 38.1c The Validation Process
Periodic Validation or Renewal
Validation or renewal of Validation can be done post-registration after
a connection through the registrar or directly through the validator,
if permitted by the registrar. The process is much the same as above,
except that the interface would allow the registrant to login with its
username and password and initiate the validation. The registrant would
choose a validator from among those listed by the registrar and supply
additional information as needed. The validator is notified as in Step
5 above, and Steps 5 – 11 would follow.
There is one special circumstance to be considered. If a registrant/registrar
wants to modify the data in the Registry database record that has already
been validated, then the validation will be released. This record would
then have to be revalidated, if desired, but only through the validator.
The following is a list of potential validation categories available
to noncommercial registrants. The final categories for validation ultimately
would be provided by the validators.
- Authentication: Validation services provide direct contact
and confirmation (e.g., phone call and verification)
- Category: Validation services based on category of organization
(e.g., validates only associations)
- Cause: Validation based on mission of organization (e.g.,
validates based on % of funds going to cause/mission)
- Financial: Validation based on financial policies and practices
(e.g., validates based on financial status, use of funds)
- Geographic: Validation services based on geographic regions
(e.g., validates European based organizations)
- Governance: Validation based on adequate governing structure
(e.g., board compensation, conflict of interest, etc)
- Governmental. Link to governmental databases containing verified
information regarding noncommercial organizations.
- Group: Validation services based on pre-existing membership/grouping
(e.g., validates member nonprofits)
- Legal: Validation based on legal or governmental regulations
(e.g., IRS 501c(3), tax status, etc.)
- Level/Type: Validation services based on certain level and/or
types of validation
- Security: Validation based on completion of privacy and security
audit (e.g., meets security audit criteria)
- Standards: Validation based on established standards. (e.g.,
meets the XYZ standards of charitable solicitations)
See Attachment H6 for a list of potential validators. Please note that
these validators have yet to be asked to participate in this initiative.
Digital Certificates and Seals
At the time of purchasing a validation, the .org registrant is entitled
to receive a digital certificate and a Secure Server Seal for the basic
validation price. The certificate will link back to the Whois record
and the DotOrg Directory Record of the registrant, providing the public
with reassurance that such website is that of the organization being sought.
Kintera is working with GlobalSign, a Belgium-based provider of certification
and trusted third party technologies based upon European Union law. GlobalSign
is privately owned by Vodafone (international mobile telecoms), ING (an
international bank), KBC (a major Belgian bank), and Ubizen (software).
GlobalSign products are designed to provide multilingual services to large
public key infrastructure (PKI) projects in which the certificate numbers
run into many millions. PKI is the basis of cryptographic (secure)
communication on the Internet and PKI infrastructure is the network that
underlies the use of public/private keys on the Internet. GlobalSign is
currently providing products to nations such as Iceland and Bulgaria,
to the European Commission as well as to large organizations and multinational
companies. GlobalSign can provide certificates containing an HTML
link to a validating site. Their Secure Seals can link to a validating
site, as well. See Attachment H8 GlobalSign.
The database schema will contain the same objects as those in the registry
database, as described in C17.2. Data transmission to the Registry is
one way, and only the validator can write the validated flag, although
it can be released by either the validator or the registrant. Status Attributes
will be used to control this parameter and lock data records while validation
is taking place.
New data fields will be accommodated as part of the contact object, related
to a particular registrant (see C17.2). This will allow one registrant
to be associated with multiple domain records. There may be some new data
fields for the Domain object, such as free-form text to describe a particular
domain and its relation to the noncommercial registrant.
Kintera has built its infrastructure in a manner very similar to that
of Registry Advantage. The requirements are similar with the need to support
at least 5 million domains in the database and large scale registrations,
up to 100,000 per day. However, the Whois records of registrants participating
in the DotOrg Directory will be replicated to Kintera which will substantially
lower the relative processing needs over what would be required were there
simultaneous writing to the DotOrg database. Validation recording will
be brisk and the system is engineered to support five times the expected
requirements. Kintera will substitute hardware and supporting software
of greater or equal functionality as it becomes available and indicated
from a scalability, reliability and throughput basis.
Reliability and High-Availability
Kintera will use the concept of primary and secondary data facilities
to maintain system reliability. The primary facility will be at Inflow
San Diego and the secondary facility at a location to be determined in
Europe or Japan. In the event of a failure at the primary site, failover
will direct traffic to the secondary backup site. Sun Fire 6800 servers
with Solaris 8 and Oracle 9i will be used for the database application.
EMC storage arrays, Symmetrix 3930 for the active database and backup
database and Clarion FC4700 for the standby database will be initiated
with 500 GB of primary table space. EMC Connectrix switches will be used
for the storage area network for the database. A NetApp 810 in a clustered
configuration will be used to store database log files and compressed
database files in the primary and secondary data facilities. Clustered
IBM x330 servers running Linux will support the applications of Kintera,
including the DotOrg Directory and the validators/registrars interface
to the DotOrg database, and the certificate/seal issuing process. Alteon
(Nortel) load balancer switches will be used for local and geographical
load balancing of these application servers. Cisco routers, switches,
and firewalls (Pix 525) will be used. There are no single points of failure.
High-Availability is provided by redundant network devices, redundant
colocation facilities and cluster technologies. See Attachment H9, Colocation,
for an overview of the primary data center. The equipment chosen has been
shown to perform well in the field and parts are reasonably well available.
This architecture is inherently scalable, with more memory and processors
able to be added to the Sun Fire computers and more application servers
able to be added to the local clusters as needed, and provides the same
capacity as detailed above for Registry Advantage.
Security would be provided by the physical restriction of access to the
colocation facilities, the firewall and the Layer 4 switches (Alteon),
the use of internal IP addresses behind the Alteon, the encryption in
the database, the use of VLANs and DMZs, Unix authentication procedures,
and generally accepted measures for security. Read-Write access to the
database is by the SSL secure protocol and this database cannot be reached
directly from the Internet.
Tape backup will be performed daily and the tapes are secured offsite.
There are redundant copies of the database available at all times.
There are strict policies in place to protect privacy of data.
All computers that can access Network servers have antivirus software
running on a continuous basis. There are strict corporate controls in
place to prevent introduction of viruses.
Potential Future Products and Services
The DotOrg Foundation has an important responsibility to steward the
development of the .org community, particularly in developing regions
and communities. As part of this stewardship, the DotOrg Foundation may
develop plans for new products and services that will be of use to the
noncommercial community, as well as the .org registrants at large. Among
such products may be new search capabilities for the intellectual property
community, Whois-related products, or other products designed to improve
registration or transfer capabilities. Products and services would be
introduced by the Foundation upon consultation with the .org stakeholders
and its Advisory Board in order to be responsive to the needs of the community
and to build the competitiveness of the registry. These proposed new
services must meet the same criteria outlined at the beginning of our
response to Question C38.
Automated Directory Records
The DotOrg Foundation may in the future provide for automated validation
by registrants participating in the DotOrg Directory. This would allow
noncommercial registrants to be validated through automated look-ups in
third-party databases. While the DotOrg Foundation believes that the
initial adopters of this validation would be legally registered nonprofit
organizations, this system could easily accommodate various other noncommercial
organizations that are members of associations, trade groups, or identified
in government databases, or any other group that has a verifiable and
web-enabled database of its members.
Intellectual Property Searches
The DotOrg Foundation may in the future provide the ability for trademark
holders and other intellectual property professionals to conduct advanced
Boolean searches – in fields and by more text strings than available today.
However, many noncommercial organizations do not have the resources to
professionally monitor the database. To help these organizations protect
their names from malicious uses and to help the public avoid scams and
other negative situations, the DotOrg Foundation may introduce a service
that would allow registrants in the Directory to protect their intellectual
property through a notification system that informs them of others registering
using the same validation criteria.
The DotOrg Foundation believes in reaching out globally, which means
serving registrants and registrars in countries where English is not the
primary language. In order to effectively serve this community, the Foundation
will strive to make its outreach and products and services accessible
in multiple languages. The Foundation’s expansion into multiple languages
will be gradual – beginning with the major languages (identified in consultation
with the .org community).
Outreach and Marketing
In addition to expanding the .org TLD services, the DotOrg Foundation
proposes to promote increased use of .org through an ambitious marketing
and outreach campaign. The DotOrg Foundation’s campaign will in part
rely on Kintera, whose core business, experience, and expertise is marketing
to the noncommercial sector.
The DotOrg Foundation’s marketing objectives are as follows:
- Position the .org TLD as a highly functional, user-friendly, reliable
and trustworthy source of information among noncommercial audiences;
- Renew the .org TLD’s commitment to the noncommercial sector, thereby
reducing the need for trademark protection within the .org space;
- Preserve the current .org registrants’ use of the .org TLD; and
- Build a reputation as a strong and innovative registry.
The DotOrg Foundation believes it can significantly enhance the .org
registry by undertaking several marketing outreach initiatives:
Upon award of the bid, the DotOrg Foundation proposes to conduct further
market research to better segment and evaluate the .org product and potential
customers. The research would include a fully confidential, comprehensive
survey project, conducted in coordination with registrars, targeting all
tiers of customers, e.g., registrars, commercial end users and noncommercial
organizations. The results of this survey would be shared with all .org
registrars in order to help them ensure that they offer .org domain names
to the appropriate customer segments. In order to respect registrar-registrant
relationships and privacy concerns, the DotOrg Foundation would not disclose
any particular registrant’s information or any particular registrar’s
information without the appropriate registrar or registrant permissions.
To supplement the results of the survey, the DotOrg Foundation proposes
to conduct focus groups with both noncommercial end users and registrars
to capture more anecdotal and detailed information regarding how or why
they use / offer the .org TLD. Other research initiatives would include
general research on the state of the domain name market, gTLD versus ccTLD
registrations, and changes in technology that may impact usage of domain
The DotOrg Foundation also proposes to undertake registrar outreach initiatives
in an attempt to make the .org TLD more widely available to noncommercial
organizations. The DotOrg Foundation would reach out to currently accredited
ICANN registrars to ensure enhanced participation in the .org TLD. Outreach
to current registrars would include email updates, seminars at ICANN conferences,
and participation in other Registrar Constituency activities and programs,
to inform such registrars of any new benefits in the .org registry and
any impending changes. Programs designed for current registrars would
include live demonstrations of the registry’s Account Management Interface
(AMI), which is an on-line interface through which registrars can manage
new and existing registrations, as well as run reports and monitor billing
activities. Such programs would also include access to account managers
who would provide individual and timely assistance as registrars negotiate
new registrar agreements with the DotOrg Foundation and implement and
launch the new registry-registrar protocol. The account managers would
also be the registrars’ main point of contact for any questions, new product
introductions, or support on an on-going basis once the registrars launch
their systems and are actively registering .org domain names.
In addition to current registrars, the DotOrg Foundation would also like
to reach out to associations and similar entities that specifically communicate
with noncommercial organizations, both in the US and globally. Outreach
to these organizations would focus on encouraging them to become ICANN
accredited registrars or partner with registrars in order to better serve
their noncommercial constituents by offering .org registrations. The
DotOrg Foundation would post a list of all .org registrars, with contact
information, on its website.
Education and Public Awareness
Much of the media placement strategy on behalf of the DotOrg Foundation
will be educational in nature and focus on noncommercial trade publications
and conferences. Elements of the program to be implemented will include
speaking engagements to raise public awareness of the .org TLD and its
renewed focus on the noncommercial community. The DotOrg Foundation proposes
to increase contact with noncommercial stakeholders, and to provide written
materials to those organizations outlining its renewed commitment to them,
which they can distribute to their members to publicize the improved .org
TLD. The DotOrg Foundation also proposes to participate in and make presentations
at meetings and conferences with a noncommercial focus in order to further
raise public awareness of the new .org TLD and .org registry.
In addition to members of the DotOrg Foundation attending such events,
the registry will encourage registrars to attend and sponsor events at
various domestic and international conferences, and if possible, support
their attendance. Support to build public awareness could include co-marketing
funds, facilitating travel arrangements, and helping to prepare materials
and presentations for the events.
The DotOrg awareness campaign would include the following outreach to
- Advertising in trade publications;
- Participation in tradeshows;
- Viral email campaigns;
- Direct mail campaigns;
- Banners on partner registrars if applicable; and
- A public relations campaign, including a Video News Reel (VNR) featuring
industry experts stressing to the public the importance of looking for
a validation Seal prior to transacting with any nonprofit site, a schedule
of press releases reiterating content featured in the VNR, and pitching
the story to major news organizations.
In addition to reaching out to the noncommercial community, the DotOrg
Foundation would reach out to current .org registrants to make them aware
of the renewed noncommercial focus within the .org TLD. This outreach
would focus on the benefits of having a new registry administrator, and
any new and beneficial features of the .org TLD. This effort would also
focus on ensuring continued domain name renewals in the .org space by
emphasizing the trust and stability associated with noncommercial entities
with a .org TLD. The mechanisms for this general education effort will
include: information on the DotOrg Foundation website, links allowing
.org registrants to send information and suggestions to the registry;
and information and educational materials sent to registrars to disseminate
among their customers.
Registry / Registrar Co-Marketing
Much of any marketing strategy targeting end-users would be the responsibility
and decision of the .org registrars. The DotOrg Foundation’s marketing
strategy would encourage registrars to heavily promote the .org TLD, and
provide them with a new message to offer to their existing customers and
as a way to increase new registrations and renewals. The DotOrg Foundation,
in consultation with registrars, proposes to develop materials for use
in registrar marketing and would encourage aggressive media strategies
at the registrar level. To further encourage registrar marketing activities,
the DotOrg Foundation may offer co-marketing funds to registrars to be
used to target noncommercial end users. Marketing initiatives that are
likely to be eligible for co-marketing initiatives include media and creative
costs for online, print and direct mail. Additionally, the DotOrg Foundation
would consider co-sponsoring various registrar promotions such as product
giveaways and renewal incentives.
Interactive Community Outreach
The DotOrg Foundation proposes to host an interactive community outreach
space on its website to provide regular updates and information regarding
the .org TLD and enable .org stakeholders, users, and other Internet consumers
to provide input to The DotOrg Foundation Registry and share ideas amongst
themselves. The website would provide a range of useful information,
including transition schedule, and registration procedures, rules, and
policies. This would enable anyone seeking information regarding the
.org TLD to independently access such information at any time and from
any location. A publicly available site with such information would especially
help smaller nonprofit entities and smaller registrars who may not have
the resources to respond to inquiries in a timely manner.
 It is estimated that the radio gained a population
of 10 million listeners in 20 years. Television reached that audience
in 10 years. Hotmail reached it in 7 months. Use of the Internet
is bringing this revolutionary growth to philanthropy. It is only natural
to expect that donors would seek opportunities to use the power of the
Internet to promote the causes they support.
However, the dark side of the Internet is that it is very easy to exploit
unwary donors who think that they are giving to a real nonprofit.
Not unlike telemarketing scams that convince consumers to donate to
non-existent organizations, the Internet provides an easy vehicle to
do the same. It is important to the integrity of the philanthropic
sector in general and the ePhilanthropy movement in particular that
we take a proactive approach in providing trusted verification of nonprofits.
Electronic communication provides an unprecedented opportunity for
the noncommercial organizations to reach out, to communicate the nature
of continuing (as well as new) societal problems, to offer innovative
solutions, and to seek support. The Internet in general and ePhilanthropy
in particular can enhance this effort for large and small organizations
 The validation purchase and attendant query described
in this Step 3 and the subsequent Steps 4-11 may also occur at any point
after successful registration, through the Organization returning to
the registrar’s website.
 If validation occurs at a point subsequent to registration,
the Whois data would have already been populated in the registry database.
Similarly if validation occurs after a DotOrg Directory Record had been
created, the relevant data would have been mostly populated in the Directory.