|VIII.||DIFFERENTIATION OF THE .ORG TLD|
Describe any measures you propose to make to differentiate
the .org TLD from TLDs intended for commercial purposes. Your proposal
should describe in detail any planned marketing practices designed to
differentiate the .org TLD, promote and attract registrations from the
global noncommercial community, and minimize defensive and duplicative
Differentiation of the .org TLD
Based on NeuStar’s both primary and secondary market research, some of which is outlined in this proposal, as well as our practical experience with the .biz intended purpose TLD, NeuStar has developed a plan which we believe will differentiate .org in the following manner:
Preserving and enhancing the .org “Brand”—Based on the primary research conducted by NeuStar, Internet users and prospective registrants do currently identify the .org brand with noncommercial organizations. In addition, the .org brand is viewed as being far more trustworthy than all other gTLDs, see Proposal Section C38.3, Primary Research.
NeuStar is prepared to invest in marketing activities that build on the current level of awareness and continues to affiliate the .org TLD with qualities like trustworthiness. The marketing activities, which is described in more detail in Section 38.4, are as follows:
NeuStar’s ability to successfully execute target marketing at a specific market through strong branding is demonstrated by the result achieved with the .biz TLD. Currently, ninety two percent of live .biz websites are associated with business. NeuStar will pursue the same level of brand integrity within .org.
Minimizing defensive or protective registrations—First and foremost, it is important that the new registry operator ensure the intended use for .org not compromised in any way. Past marketing practices designed to promote .org to commercial registrants has resulted in a significant number of commercial registrations within the .org space. Specifically .org names have been offered as promotional giveaways or offered at a discount to commercial organizations registering other gTLDs. As demonstrated by the current renewal rate for .org, this approach may generate near term revenue, but in the long term this only serves to undermine the brand.
NeuStar is committed to combat this issue by targeting all NeuStar supported marketing of .org domain names specifically at the noncommercial community, including any potential registrar programs that involve NeuStar co-marketing funds. This commitment is evidenced by our proposed Code of Conduct provision restricting NeuStar funded promotional activities to those that target the noncommercial community and restricting NeuStar from marketing efforts designed to attract commercial companies to .org. The proposed Code of Conduct Provision is as follows:
“NeuStar shall not market .org domain names or offer promotions or incentives that are specifically targeted at encouraging commercial registrations within the .org TLD”.
NeuStar operates all of our current businesses under strong Codes of Conduct. Strict adherence is central to NeuStar’s position in the marketplace as a trusted neutral third party. We fully intend to abide by both the intent and the spirit of the above provision of the .org Code of Conduct as one means of minimizing defensive or protective registrations.
Introduce differentiated services—Noncommercial organizations are increasingly relying on the Internet to provide information, communicate with their members or constituency, to provide important services, and to raise funds. In many ways, however, the noncommercial community is only beginning to harness the power of the Internet to more effectively carry out their respective missions.
Many noncommercial organizations, however, cannot afford to invest in the dedicated infrastructure required to address what would be very useful applications. Although the community is very diverse, common needs, which are best addressed by a shared infrastructure, do exist. NeuStar intends to work with the noncommercial community to develop differentiated services within .org that specifically meet the needs of the noncommercial community.
Several examples of potential future services are described in Section C38.5 including the following:
These services should not be considered to be definitive, however. It is NeuStar’s intention to collaborate with the noncommercial community after the successful transition of .org, through the .org Global Policy Council and through outreach activities, to identify applications for which would best serve the community and differentiate the .org gTLD.
The noncommercial community—While it is impossible to say for certain how large the entire noncommercial community is worldwide, all data indicates that it plays a significant role socially, politically, and even economically. The Johns Hopkins Center for Civil Society Studies recently examined the noncommercial community in 22 countries and found that this sector is a $1.1 trillion industry that employs over 19 million paid workers. This data alone still does not capture the scope and impact of noncommercials because they attract huge numbers of volunteers as well. An average of 28% of the population in these countries donate their time to noncommercials adding an incremental 10.6 million workers employed in the support of noncommercials. In addition, these figures do not include religious congregations—this data adds 1.5 million paid workers to the total. (Note: the countries covered in the John Hopkins study include: Netherlands, Germany, Ireland, Belgium, France, United Kingdom, Spain, Austria, Finland, Czech Republic, Hungary, Slovakia, Romania, Argentina, Peru, Brazil, Colombia, Mexico, Australia, United States, Australia, Israel, and Japan)
Market segmentation—NeuStar recognizes that the global noncommercial community is incredibly diverse. Therefore, any attempt to fully “define” or “classify” the community can not be definitive or comprehensive. The organization types and community sectors discussed below are provided as background to assist in the marketing analysis only. This section, by no means is intended to define eligibility for .org registration.
The following table includes descriptions for various types of organizations that fall within the noncommercial arena. This list was developed based on information gathered from material published by Independent Sector – a noncommercial organization that supports the non-profit and philanthropic community through research and other activities and services. While it is not intended to be an exhaustive list, it does provide an overview of many of the subcategories of organizations that operate within the noncommercial community. A more exhaustive list of noncommercial classifications can be found in the Appendices at the end of this proposal.
Noncommercial TLD market—There are over two million .org TLD domain registrations around the world as of May 2002. The current registrant base is highly concentrated. Ten countries currently hold 90% of the total .org names with the United States, United Kingdom, and Germany being the largest. U.S. based .org registrants alone represent 65 percent of .org registrations. .org domain names are held by all classifications of organizations. Finally, 90% off all .org TLDs are sold through 15 registrars with Network Solutions/VeriSign being the largest registrar by far.
In a research study conducted by NeuStar in 2001, 77% of American Internet users indicated that the .org TLD is generally perceived as the most recognizable indicator of a “not-for-profit Website.” In many other countries around the world, however, noncommercial sites commonly use the geographically relevant ccTLD. Examples of this are:
While ccTLDs are widely used outside of North America, additional research conducted by NeuStar in 2002, indicated that the .org TLD is familiar to 78% of Internet users worldwide. NeuStar’s marketing plan outlines programs to geographically diversify the .org space to include potential growth markets and to position the .org TLD as a regional or global TLD for noncommercial entities.
Noncommercial organizations and technology—In a study conducted by Princeton Survey Research Associates for Independent Sector and Cisco Systems, these questions were investigated. A sample of 203 noncommercial executives for human service organizations were asked a series of questions related to their organizations’ use of technology. Executives were drawn from small, medium, and large noncommercial organizations to form a representative sample. Highlights of the findings are:
A summation of the findings indicates that “Most noncommercials
are interested in the Internet because of its donation potential, but
having a Website and other communication technologies in place creates
other benefits, such as lowering fundraising costs and to propagate their
message to a much larger audience.” These findings clearly suggest that
noncommercials have benefited from IT. Further promoting the benefits
of IT and the .org TLD in particular will undoubtedly benefit the noncommercial
Primary market research
NeuStar was seeking information from the vantage point
of both the noncommercial community and the Internet user. Two global
research studies were conducted independently, to gather the empirical
data. Study 1 was directed to the international noncommercial community.
Understanding how the noncommercial community views the .org TLD is essential
as a building block for future efforts. Study 2 was conducted with Internet
users worldwide. The noncommercial community relies heavily on the attitudes
of Internet users to attract interest in the organization to seek information,
fundraising, and attracting employees and volunteers. The data gathered
was instrumental in providing the foundation for a marketing plan that
differentiates the .org TLD from commercial TLDs. An overview of how
the research was conducted and the key findings follows.
Noncommercial community—Study 1 was conducted with noncommercial organizations to establish their attitudes and perceptions relative to the .org TLD. Executive-level, one-on-one interviews were conducted with decision-makers at noncommercial organizations located in a broad range of geographic locations around the world, and representing a wide variety of groups, including health and human services, religious, trade, museums, cultural, and tourism. The overall goal of the interviews was to collect information that would be of value in determining a strategy for positioning and branding .org TLD in the international marketplace. Complete charts of all participants sought for these interviews can be found in the Appendices at the end of this proposal.
The specific survey objectives were to:
Analysis and conclusions
Internet users—A second study was conducted to determine Internet user attitudes towards organizations with a .org TLD. NeuStar conducted a quantitative research survey with Internet users worldwide in order to determine what having a .org TLD says about a noncommercial entity. This research is pertinent to understanding how the .org brand is perceived internationally, and to gauge the general level of .org awareness of .org. This information can be used to consider possible messaging strategies.
Analysis and conclusions
Many natural uses for the .org TLD already exist. As Exhibit C38-1, Internet users worldwide feel that any noncommercial entity ought to have .org as its suffix. This also holds true for specific vertical noncommercial segments. In fact, Internet users in every region think that it is appropriate for noncommercials ranging from religious institutions, to hospitals, to use the .org TLD. This perception holds true whether one is referring to a local, national, or international institution.
The .org suffix has important brand attributes that should be leveraged in the market place. Most importantly, more Internet users think a Website that uses a .org extension is more trustworthy than a gTLD or ccTLD. As seen in Exhibit 38-2, this attribute makes a .org TLD particularly attractive to organizations seeking to raise funds.
International Internet users believe that Websites that use the comTLD are easier to remember than .org TLD. Websites are also more likely to be described as interesting if they use the .com TLD over the .org TLD. In Europe and Asia, the .org TLD is further hampered by the popularity of the ccTLD – in those regions Internet users say the ccTLD is much easier to remember than the .org TLD.
While .org is the preferred top-level domain in North and South America for local, national, and international non-profits, in Europe and Asia some favor a ccTLD. Overcoming this preference in Europe and Asia may be key to international adoption of .org TLD.
NeuStar believes that a terrific opportunity exists within the global noncommercial space for the .org TLD. Internet users have strong, positive associations with websites that use .org as a top-level domain. We believe that demand exists for the .org TLD and that a strong targeted marketing campaign will create the requisite interest in the .org TLD.
Positioning—Product positioning defines how a product should be known, described or characterized, in the customer’s mind. Based on the research outlined above, the following are examples of how the .org TLD could be positioned for promotional materials:
NeuStar’s research to current .org and non-.org owners revealed several interesting points related to sales of the .org TLD.
The information gleaned from the research conducted combined with targeted incentives provides the basis for the channel campaign.
NeuStar’s marketing strategy
The three elements of the plan are as follows:
The need to have a focused branding initiative for the .org TLD is further supported by recent quantitative Internet user research indicating that the .org TLD is not recognized by Internet users as “easy to remember.” While the .org TLD is recognized in Web sites, it is still not as “easy to remember” as .com.
Many of the organizations that participated in the qualitative research thought that the .org TLD was specifically for academic, religious, or civic organizations. This data indicates that repositioning and reemphasizing the .org brand is required. NeuStar’s brand strategy will be to widen the identity beyond just these specific areas (academic, religious and civic), to include all noncommercial enterprises, and position it such that .org is as easily identifiable as other common TLDs to Internet users and businesses. While marketing of the .org TLD will be focused on noncommercials, the communication of the brand messaging will extend to a broader audience to ensure widespread awareness beyond the noncommercial arena. The brand attributes that would be communicated are:
To execute the brand initiative five programs will be undertaken:
Public relations—In an integrated communication program, PR is a natural complement to advertising and marketing. Research has shown that year-after-year, the most admired companies share one attribute: they all have an active public relations program. They are admired, quite simply, because they are known. To put it another way: familiarization breeds favorability. This basic reality will drive the public relations efforts in support of the .org TLD. The .org TLD PR program will follow several guiding principles: frequency, staying on message, staying on strategy, and recognizing that all media is not equal. With these principles in mind the PR program will be developed. Key messages will be defined and modified for different audiences, and then simplified to three concise but compelling points. Every effort will be made to capitalize on all news opportunities on-going communication with media.
Through research and market understanding the right information has been identified—PR will be utilized to determine the best ways to deliver it. NeuStar has proven its ability to generate positive PR both domestically and internationally. For the recent launch of .us domestically, NeuStar’s PR effort generated over 116 million impressions in one month. Internationally, PR was instrumental in increasing awareness and driving the internationalization of .biz. NeuStar maintains agencies internationally on retainer to drive PR efforts to increase awareness and educate constituencies.
Partner program—Working with all international registrars and resellers to promote the .org TLD is an essential component to the branding effort. Brand materials including positioning, promotional materials, and online messaging will be provided to all .org registrars and resellers to encourage brand promotion. Registrars and resellers will be encouraged to promote the .org brand utilizing testimonials from their customer base as a means of adding credibility and brand support.
Website/online—NeuStar will create a .org website that will serve as a basis for the messaging and branding identity. The .org website will serve several functions, the most important of which, is to promote the brand with consistent messaging. It will also communicate the benefits of owning a .org TLD, answer potential customer questions, direct customers on how to purchase a .org extension, and provide links to registrars and resellers. A section of this website will also be set aside for the PR effort to encourage media visits.
Search engines—According to a study by IMT Strategies that asked 400 Internet user and business e-mail users how they discovered new Websites, 45.8% cited search engines as their top method. Three of the five most visited properties on the Internet in May, 2002 were MSN, Yahoo and Google. Advertising programs with lead search engines providers offer language, geographic, and keyword targeting to guarantee a targeted campaign. NeuStar will utilize the worlds top search engines to promote .org.
Print campaign—Creating awareness to the entire noncommercial community including those that do not frequent search engines, or those that may not yet be online is the objective for an international print campaign. The program is designed to reach a wider audience with the .org brand message. Key opportunities for a print promotion are: branding messages, testimonials, and high profile user sites examples.
Some potential print vehicles for this effort are:
Vertical marketing programs
These programs will be implemented in conjunction with the channel partners to ensure interested customers have a clear means to register their .org domain name. It is likely that online programs will be the best vehicle. In “The Chronicle of Philanthropy Subscriber Study,” 1999, 45.5% of respondents indicated they used the Internet to make purchases, 34.3% participated in online newsgroups, and 30.1% visited philanthropic publication Web sites regularly. Key selling messages for these campaigns will be the widespread favorability of the .org extension with Internet users. Additionally, Internet users feel that .org Websites are more trustworthy than both .com or ccTLD websites.
The quantitative research indicated several areas of opportunity for vertical marketing. Internet users look to .org websites to be informational and communal. There is also an expectation that .org websites can be religious or for health care purposes. Further, the interviews conducted with noncommercials indicated any organization that wishes to reach constituencies beyond their own borders, or that looks to generate or enhance its global visibility would benefit from the inclusion of a .org as an extension. Given this data, there are several recommended vertical segments that are likely opportunities for promotional marketing efforts. The vertical segments and the underlying supporting details are outlined in the table below.
NeuStar has performed preliminary research into these vertical segments worldwide. The following table provides a sampling of the types of organizations that could be targeted within each of the vertical markets noted above. Vertical marketing efforts supported by NeuStar through co-marketing initiatives, provided they focus exclusively on reaching noncommercial entities.
Vertical market opportunities
Marketing plan conclusion
This marketing plan conclusively demonstrates NeuStar’s
ability to successfully achieve both vertical and geographic diversification
of the .org space within the noncommercial community while preserving
the brand integrity of the .org as a space specifically for noncommercial
organizations. NeuStar has reviewed and addressed the key factors for
success. It has conducted research to understand what the noncommercial
community and Internet users think about the .org TLD. It is committed
to the integrity of the space and will implement marketing and public
relations programs dedicated to this belief. With an understanding of
the market, NeuStar has developed a plan to reach the global noncommercial
community. NeuStar recommends getting started on this plan prior to transition
to ensure greater awareness within the communities of interest
Noncommercial service differentiators
Noncommercial organizations are increasingly relying on the Internet to provide information, communicate with their members or constituency, to provide important services and to raise funds. In many ways, however, the noncommercial community is only beginning to harness the power of the Internet to serve more effectively carry out their respective missions.
Many noncommercial organizations cannot afford to invest in the dedicated infrastructure required to address what would be very useful applications. Although the community has very diverse, common needs, which are best addressed by a shared infrastructure, this shared utility does not exist. NeuStar intends to work with the noncommercial community to develop differentiated services within .org that specifically meet the needs of the noncommercial community.
The services presented below, including directory services, website promotion services and advanced search should not be considered definitive. It is NeuStar’s intention to collaborate with the noncommercial community after the successful transition of .org through the .org Global Policy Council and through outreach activities, to identify applications for which would best serve the community and differentiate the .org gTLD. Future deployment of such services would only be considered pending review and comment by the noncommercial community through the proposed .org Global Advisory Council and, if applicable under the agreement, approval by ICANN.
Noncommercial global directory service
Many noncommercial organizations do not have the financial or staff resources required to promote their services in multiple venues on the Internet. The establishment of an easily navigable noncommercial directory built upon a standard taxonomy of sectors, services and key words, has the potential to create organization from the current chaos and most importantly, connect people with the information, resources or help they need. In addition, this directory has the potential to encourage collaboration between noncommercial organizations resulting in collective efforts that best serve society.
This directory will enable noncommercial organizations to register pertinent information in a central location where users can easily locate them and noncommercial organizations can easily find each other. The global .org registrar community is in an excellent position to work proactively with the community to provide a mechanism that drives widespread adoption of the directory by the community and NeuStar has the resources and technical architecture to support a global utility to support the directory in a manner that serves all sectors of the community in a responsive and reliable manner. Pending community outreach activities and collaboration with, and review, by the proposed .org Global Policy Council NeuStar is prepared to explore the potential implementation of this Noncommercial Global Directory Service, subject to ICANN approval if applicable.
Noncommercial website promotion
NeuStar is prepared to work with the noncommercial community in a collaborative fashion to determine the usefulness of a noncommercial name promotion service, and to design the service to meet their specific needs. Assuming outreach activities to the community, including a favorable review by the proposed .org Global Policy Council, NeuStar is prepared to explore the potential implementation of the Noncommercial Website Promotion Service, subject to ICANN approval if applicable.
Noncommercial search engine service
Thousands of experts, many of whom are associated with noncommercial organizations, are already making their expertise available through “Ask-A” services (e.g., “Ask a Doctor,” “Ask a Lawyer”). A solution is required, however, that will allow anyone anywhere to get instant access to the millions of “invisible” experts and enthusiasts who are already online at any one time. Such a capability could be thought of as a blending of a universal search engine and a universal message board enlivened with real time communication.
In order to make resources available to answer questions, each noncommercial organization, associated individuals or non-affiliated individual subject matter experts could register an “Expert Profile” with the .org registry. The following is an example of the type of information included in a profile:
Users enter questions into a web-based interface and receive a composite response. The response includes information resources, relevant .org websites and a listing of experts who can answer the question, as well as an indication of whether the expert is available for a live chat session. If available for live chat, users can chat with an expert to obtain an answer. If the expert is not currently online, e-mail or telephone contact information will be available. Although the pricing structure has not been determined, satisfied end users will have the ability to elect to make a voluntary contribution to the associated organization through an on-line payment mechanism. In those cases where there is a fee associated with expert listing that will be indicated clearly so that the user is aware of any possible fees. In cases where answers are provided at no charge, end users can elect to make a contribution to the associated organization with an online payment mechanism.
One can imagine someone needing information about heart disease, for example, using this capability to connect with someone at a healthcare organization, or perhaps someone with a question about recycling reaching an environmental organization. Participation in this type of search by government and social service outreach programs, professional associations, philanthropic organizations, religious organizations, educators, librarians and other noncommercial organizations has the potential to fuel the return of the human voice to the Internet, and make this direct communication part of searching for the first time.
The .org registry operator and the .org registrars are in a unique position to accept registrations of subject matter experts from within the noncommercial community. Wondir, Inc., which plans to offer the expert search capability described above, intends to operate as a noncommercial company, and has approached NeuStar about offering the service to the .org community.