The VeriSign Endowment


Section IX — The VeriSign Endowment

  Executive Summary
C40. Instructions
C41. Receipt of Endowment Funds
  C41.1. Proposed Use of the Endowment
  C41.2. Explanation of Qualification to Receive Endowment
C42-49. Intentionally Omitted

Executive Summary

PIR proposes that the endowment be dedicated to expanding outreach and services to non-commercial organizations on behalf of .ORG. As shown in the market analysis segment of Section VIII, the non-commercial community worldwide is technologically behind other economic sectors in adopting and leveraging the Internet. Since access to and usage of the Internet can significantly improve the ability of these organizations to deliver benefits to their nation and publics, the key gating variable is KNOWLEDGE.

To address this pressing need, ISOC and PIR propose to field extensive educational and awareness building programming for non-commercials that will have the dual benefits of: 1) helping these organizations enter the Internet age; and 2) better serving their 'customer base' and more quickly meeting their objectives and mission.

In addition to outreach, we plan to accelerate the launch of several new services tailored to non-commercial registrants. This will enable the community to more quickly realize the benefits of the re-delegation.

We believe that this proposed usage meets the qualification criteria for two reasons. First, the programs will be undertaken by ISOC and PIR (both are not-for-profit), initially leveraging the ISOC mechanisms. Second, this is true primary market development activity-especially in technologically emerging areas-making the investment a future operating (marketing and product development) expense. By initiating these programs immediately, we can build on the smooth transition already planned and begin .ORG's migration into a growing, vital home for a larger portion of the non-commercial segment.

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C40.  Instructions

The current .ORG registry agreement between ICANN and VeriSign, Inc., states:


5.1.4 No later than 90 days prior to the Expiration Date, [VeriSign] will pay to ICANN or ICANN's designee the sum of US $5 million, to be used by ICANN in it sole discretion to establish an endowment to be used to fund future operating costs of the non-profit entity designated by ICANN as successor operator of the .ORG registry. [VeriSign] agrees that such funds, once paid to ICANN, will become the property of ICANN and/or ICANN's designee, and that [VeriSign] will have no ownership or other rights or interests in such funds or in the manner in which they are used or disbursed.

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C41.  Receipt of Endowment Funds

Do you propose to seek to qualify to receive any funds from this endowment?


(C41.1.)  Proposed Use of the Endowment

If so, describe in detail how you propose to use this endowment. Include the commitments you propose to make about the uses to which the endowment would be put. Explain why those uses are consistent with the smooth, stable transition and operation of the .ORG TLD for the benefit of current and future .ORG registrants.

Public Interest Registry (PIR) is proposing to apply funds from the endowment for the purpose of accelerating and deploying educational outreach, awareness building, and new services programs to enhance the ability of the non-commercial organizations to obtain the benefits of an online presence.

Easing their adoption of the Internet will enable technologically emerging countries will obtain two important benefits from these programs: 1) it will revitalize their economies; and 2) it will help to close the Digital Divide. At the same time, it will help revitalize .ORG, as a growing non-commercial sector is also a successful component of a strong and healthy nation. Internet access both enhances their ability to further their goals and improve their way of life. Immediate activity can help jumpstart the recovery process for these countries.

The first area of focus will be community outreach. Initially, this programming will be built on the successful ISOC models. ISOC's experience and impressive track record in providing workshops on a global basis on a variety of topics will be very important in shaping and recognizing this PIR initiative. Additionally, this programming is consistent with .ORG's character and ISOC's mission statement: "to assure the open development, evolution and use of the Internet for the benefit of all people throughout the world."

We would both leverage existing program models and create new opportunities based upon input from the proposed .ORG Advisory Council. Listed below are some specific ISOC initiatives that can be modified and leveraged to directly benefit the non-commercial community:

  • Network Training Workshops—ISOC's experience with Network Training Workshops (NTW's) has been excellent, and many NTW graduates have gone on to spearhead the network infrastructure development required to get their countries on the Internet. The limiting factor on expansion and/or evolution of these workshops is funding.

  • Children and the Internet—ISOC maintains a list of links to Web sites of interest to kids, parents and teachers-many of these are non-commercial in nature.

  • Conferences—ISOC sponsors: 1) INET, an annual conference that brings together cyberspace leaders to focus on global issues of Internet networks, applications and policies for worldwide infrastructure; as well as 2) the Network and Distributed System Security conference (NDSS), which annually brings together researchers, implementers, and users of network and distributed system security technologies to discuss the important security issues of the day. A non-commercial track can be included in these key gatherings.

  • Internet Workshop for Latin America and the Caribbean (WALC)—Tailored to Latin American technical challenges, we would extend this program to reach out to non-commercials in this developing area.

  • Regional Workshops—More than just a portable version of NTW, these workshops are designed to train professionals about the configuration, maintenance and management of information networks, and can be expanded to reach non-commercial technology professionals.

  • Internet Fiesta—Sponsored by the Internet Society and the European Union, the Internet Fiesta is an annual international celebration designed to help increase access to the Internet and promote its use worldwide. We would reach out to invite participation from local non-commercials, bringing them into the mainstream of the Internet.

  • RFC "Summaries"—We would also like to improve the accessibility of technical information by creating a summary reporting service that simplifies the various standards and protocol documents (or RFC's). This service (similar to "Cliff Notes") creates short, easy to understand digests that would help both technical and laypersons in developing countries to keep abreast of the standards and protocol process. It is especially helpful for areas with limited or cost prohibitive Internet access.

Our second area of focus is awareness and brand building activity. As a historically US-centric domain, .ORG has less awareness in Europe, Asia, Africa and Latin America, and hence .ORG is not always seen as the first choice of non-commercial registrants. We would apply some of the endowment to efforts to reach out and inform these audiences of .ORG's purpose and benefits as well as how to obtain a .ORG domain. These activities would include expanding:

  • Press materials and outreach—In addition to our core PR plan, we would seek a broader segment of press (beyond non-commercial trade media) and develop tailored materials to generate coverage that would build awareness.

  • Speakers Bureau—Non-commercial organizations gather in many places throughout the world. We would expand our coverage of these events to broaden awareness and reach more people with our message of .ORG's benefits.

  • On-line resource center—As the "home of non-commercials on the Internet" .ORG should have a robust on-line resource that can help any non-commercial organization. Beyond the basics, additional funds could provide materials tailored by language, geography, and non-commercial sector, making it easier for visiting organizations to quickly adapt and use the materials.

  • Advertising—We would also invest funds in targeted advertising that informs non-commercials of the availability of these resources and encourages them to take advantage of them.

Our third area of focus is to accelerate the launch of some of the new services noted in Section V. While we plan to launch these products as part of the ongoing plan, these funds would provide immediate resources to initiate development and get these into the market more quickly. These products are designed to help organizations develop their visibility, give donors peace of mind, and connect people to communities. They include:

  • No-cost services—These domain enhancements add value to .ORG. ORGRing facilitates the linking of sites, similar to Web rings. DotORG Directory provides an optional free domain directory listing with each registration.

  • Low-cost services—These products add even more value to .ORG sites that are more actively marketed. ORGWatch automatically monitors names for changes and alerts the registrant immediately if any are detected. ORGSearch gets the word out more quickly by submitting new sites to a wide variety of search engines. ORGCloak allows the protection of certain portions of your WHOIS information from the public (useful for those under repressive regimes). ORGLock Service prevents changes to domain names without the explicit permission of the registrant. And ORGSure is a certification service that helps protect online identity.

(C41.2.)  Explanation of Qualification to Receive Endowment

If you propose to seek to qualify to receive the endowment funds, explain why you believe that your proposed use is consistent with the terms of the endowment.

ISOC believes that the proposed uses of the endowment are directly related to the normal and ordinary future operational expenses of PIR and consistent with its proposed not-for-profit charter. For the past decade, ISOC has served as the international organization for global coordination and cooperation on the Internet, promoting and maintaining a broad spectrum of activities focused on the Internet's development, availability, and associated technologies. This heritage will provide PIR with invaluable experience and knowledge to ensure that the original objective of the endowment is met.

The endowment was set aside to fund future operating costs of the new registry operator. By extending the out reach programs, supplementing our awareness generating activity and accelerating the availability of new services, we can "jump-start" .ORG's revitalization and more quickly reach a much wider non-commercial community than .ORG now supports.

In summary, the endowment is not required to effect a successful transition to PIR management. However, it will enable PIR to more quickly make the kind of impact we all expect of the next .ORG operator.

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C42-49.  Intentionally Omitted

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