- Application for the .org Top-Level Domain -
The .ORG Foundation


C40. 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.

C41. Do you propose to seek to qualify to receive any funds from this endowment?

The .Org Foundation does intend to seek to qualify to receive funds from the ICANN endowment. We feel that the funds were set aside to serve the needs of the .org community. The .Org Foundation is committed to using the funds to support the .org community by providing stable, reliable registry service. Also, The .Org Foundation intends to seek matching fund donations equal to or greater than the amount of the endowment funds we propose to use. These matching funds we intend to invest back into the .org community through grants that support the .org communities increased access to Internet technology, consistent with The .Org Foundation mission statement.

After two years from the initial selection of the Registry Operator by ICANN, if ICANN has not identified a use for any excess endowment funds for their intended purpose, The .Org Foundation will submit an additional request for access to the remaining funds so that they can be used by The .Org Foundation for the purposes of carrying out its mission to serve the .org community.

C41.1. 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.

If The .Org Foundation is the designated successor operator of the .org registry, the ICANN endowment funds will be used to help cover the costs of running the .org TLD registry for the benefit of the .org registrants and the rest of the Internet community.

The .Org Foundation in conjunction with eNom, Inc., the registry service provider, will provide continued, stable registry technical service for .org registrars, registrants, and the Internet user community and also provide the following improvements:
  • Transition to EPP from RRP, providing many benefits, the biggest one may well be authorization codes to facilitate transfers, the basis of competition.
  • Better handling of deleted names, with the same fairness and cost as re-registering deleted names today.
  • Real-time zone file updates for faster domain provisioning and so that zone file errors can be detected and corrected faster.
  • Free transfers. To help encourage competition among registrars and freer choice for registrants, after the transition to EPP, transfers will be free, and will not add a year. (This complies with RFC 2832.)
  • Self-categorization. The .org registry will be open and unrestricted to any registrant, just as it is today: non-profit, for-profit, organization, individual, etc. Registrants can continue to decide if the .org TLD is appropriate for them and there will continue to be no eligibility requirements, though we propose the following new feature: After the EPP transition is complete, registrants will be given the opportunity to declare whether or not they are a commercial for-profit, or a non-profit organization, an individual, etc. and if they are non-profit, are they a grant making, or grant receiving (or both) organization. This non-required information will be displayed in the whois output, gives an added benefit for non profit organization to select the .org TLD, reinforces the original purpose for the .org TLD, allows grant-making .orgs to connect with grant receiving organizations via a registry (or 3rd party) supplied search, and will allow the registry to disburse excess and matching funds/resources back to non-profit organizations that the registry primarily serves. The information will not be used to settle disputes amongst registrants.
  • EPP polling mechanism. To provide a voice for the .org registrants, the EPP interface will be extended to allow each registered domain to cast a vote; in much the same way as whois information is modified today. Since transfers are free, registrants who wish to vote can easily choose which registrar to utilize that provides the voting capability to registrants. Validation of registrant identity by the registrar is the same as for changing name servers for a domain, for example. Votes will be published in the whois output for the domain. The foundation board will get a report, for example, showing how many domains who declare themselves to be a non-profit organization, voted "for" the resolution.
To achieve these goals The .Org Foundation will seek $2.3M of the endowment, and matching funds from 3rd parties equal to or greater than this amount. The funds will be used to cover the operating costs incurred in delivering the mandates of the .org registry proposal including, differentiation for the .org TLD, promoting and attracting registrations from the global noncommercial community, minimizing defensive and duplicative registrations and providing responsiveness to the noncommercial Internet user community. These costs include start-up costs pre-January 1, 2003 that the .Org Foundation must incur to ensure the smooth and stable transition including $1.2M for Server and Network hardware and software for the Registry, $300k for developing The .Org Foundation website, $65k for hardware and software for network, email, and firewall for The .Org Foundation, and approximately $200k for startup personnel costs.

As with most new organizations we will incur a first year operating loss. For us it will be approximately $400k. However, in subsequent years our budget does achieve positive cash flow and over the five years we plan to achieve a positive cash position excluding the start-up costs. In month 15, payment to ICANN of the estimated yearly fee of $127k is due. After this payment is made The .Org Foundation begins to generate positive cash flow. In total these startup costs equal the $2.3M The .Org Foundation will seek from the endowment.

The .Org Foundation is run essentially at break even with an operating profit of $32k over five years. This five year budget includes $1.17M for Foundation development, advertising and marketing; $1.2M for G&A and $3.85M for Technology expenses. See the Foundation's proposed budget in Appendix B for more details.

C41.2. 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.

The .Org Foundation is a registered nonprofit corporation with the State of Washington, U.S.A. (filing in process). The mission and goals of the Foundation fully address the requirements of the .org registry proposal and the criteria for assessment determined by ICANN. The funds will be used to cover the operating costs incurred in delivering the mandates of the .org registry proposal including, providing a stable, well-functioning .org registry, differentiation for the .org TLD, promoting and attracting registrations from the global noncommercial community, minimizing defensive and duplicative registrations and providing responsiveness to the noncommercial Internet user community.

C42-49. Intentionally omitted.

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