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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 as possible 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.

RegisterOrg’s mission is to transition the existing .org domain into a globally identifiable top-level domain (TLD) that is recognized as the preeminent resource for noncommercial Internet users—the core constituency of the .org domain. In order to respond to and support the noncommercial Internet community, RegisterOrg’s bid to operate the .org registry aims to:
· Encourage greater use of .org by civic and community organizations globally by embracing and supporting the interests of noncommercial users worldwide;
· Build the civic capacity and value of the Internet for noncommercial users internationally by providing resources that help build technology capacity and facilitate successful use of the Internet by nonprofits and individuals;
· Bridge the digital divide through the support of projects that bring information technology to underserved communities worldwide;
· Expand the understanding of key Internet policy issues and their significance among the global noncommercial Internet user community in general, and more particularly, about issues raised by Internet governance and domain name registration and management;
· Encourage development of innovative tools and applications for noncommercial Internet users; and
· Provide opportunities to noncommercial users for input and discussion regarding .org policy issues, and increase participation by non-U.S. organizations.

RegisterOrg’s parent company,, is an established registrar that provides registry services to ccTLD operators around the world and backend technical services to RegistryPro, the operator, through its Registry Advantage division, of the .pro TLD. Hence, RegisterOrg will draw upon the experience, financial stability, and technical capability of its parent company to create a viable and sustainable registry. RegisterOrg’s proposal incorporates a multifaceted approach to accomplishing its mission:

· RegisterOrg will disburse two-and-a-half million dollars ($2,500,000.00) between two .org-registered foundations with global, noncommercial constituencies, whose work will contribute to our mission. This contribution will seed the growth of a robust .org community by encouraging technology capacity building on an international scale, global policy awareness, education and participation, and technology innovation to benefit the .org user community.

· Relying on the partnerships formed with the technology seed money, RegisterOrg will create a .org Community Portal, a central place where all users may engage in dialog about registry issues and find information and links to Web sites about global Internet policy development and Internet governance, as well as resources to help .org registrants build their Web presence and better communicate with their target audiences.

· RegisterOrg will run the .org registry in the most efficient and technically proficient manner, bringing to bear the experience of its parent company,, in the domain name system to benefit the noncommercial community.

Technology Seed Money
To respond to and support the needs of the .org constituency, RegisterOrg proposes to distribute two-and-a-half million dollars ($2,500,000.00) between two .org-registered foundations to seed the growth of a robust .org community through technology capacity building, bridging the digital divide, policy education and advocacy, and technology innovation. We have selected the following organizations as our funding partners to support the .org community:
· The Benton Foundation, which funds the Digital Divide Network and the Digital Opportunity Channel, among other programs; and
· The Open Society Institute’s Information Program.

By disbursing funds to the foregoing entities, both of which have a demonstrated ability to reach out to and work with the non-profit sector on a global scale, RegisterOrg will provide the broadest range of services possible to support the noncommercial user community. Through these organizations, RegisterOrg can involve an existing network of noncommercial groups in establishing .org as a resource for all noncommercial users. A description of the partners we have selected follows below, after a brief explanation of why we believe their efforts will be generally supportive of and responsive to both the policies and expansion of the .org community. RegisterOrg believes that the missions of the selected organizations are consistent with the principles of promoting broad participation by noncommercial organizations in online policy-making, improving worldwide access to and use of the Internet by noncommercial organizations, and encouraging technological innovation to foster the continued growth and development of the Internet.

How Funding Benefits the Noncommercial Internet Community
Civic and community organizations lag behind in technology adoption, in large part because of a lack of resources, but also because the value of an online presence is not self-evident. In an e-commerce dominated Internet, non-profits do not always understand the empowering potential of the Internet to improve delivery of core services, expand the reach of their message, and build an organization through online fundraising, volunteerism, campaign activities, and data management. In order to harness the potential value of the Internet, funding for technical assistance and education is necessary. Only when non-profits see the value of having an online presence will the .org registry grow and clearly become a recognized, critical resource for civic and community organizations as well as individuals.

Additionally, while access to the Internet is increasing, so is the imbalance between resources for the rich and the poor, the powerful and the marginalized. The challenge is to bridge this widening gap and find a means to provide access in a constructive way to ensure equal digital opportunities for all. Information Communication Technologies (ICTs) can be a valuable tool to widen civic participation, support community services, and help non-profits overcome obstacles to economic development. RegisterOrg believes that the .org registry should be the civic space on the Internet, and that the domain will become increasingly valuable as more people around the world obtain access to and participate in its online community.

Just as the lack of technical knowledge is a barrier that prevents non-profit organizations from getting online, the lack of knowledge of Internet policy keeps many non-profit and individual domain holders from participating in key policy debates. To best serve the noncommercial user community, it is imperative to expand the understanding of key Internet policy issues and their significance within the community, and, perhaps more essentially, issues raised by Internet governance of domain-name registration and management. In addition, it is equally important to broaden the involvement of noncommercial Internet users outside of the United States and Europe.

Moreover, a direct investment in the tools, applications and models that can provide increasing functionality to non-profit organizations online is critical to the creation of a robust community of noncommercial participants. The development and advancement of Internet technologies is a creative and collaborative process. Its history demonstrates that much innovation occurs outside of corporate settings; grants for private research enable creative research that may not otherwise be possible.

The Benton Foundation’s Digital Divide Network and
The Digital Opportunity Channel

The Benton Foundation begins its third decade with a deepened commitment to accelerating digital opportunity for all. In the 21st century, digital technologies will prove essential for educational advancement, economic success and civic engagement, and may leapfrog marginal groups into society’s mainstream. The Benton Foundation is working with strategic partners and developing innovative approaches to ensure that these technologies serve all communities, and that the content delivered to and produced by communities meets the diverse needs of underserved populations.

The Benton Foundation was founded by William Benton in 1948. Benton, a United States Senator, UNESCO Ambassador, and University of Chicago Vice-President, was a champion of free speech and civil liberties. His lifetime preoccupation was how to apply his understanding of, and belief in, what he termed “the high significance of the media of communications” to education and citizenship. Today’s Benton Foundation continues that legacy as a laboratory for exploring the potential of new communications technologies and techniques to help solve social problems. Thanks to the Foundation’s efforts, ordinary citizens can gain greater understanding of topics ranging from children’s issues to campaign finance reform, locate arts programs in their communities, or to find out how schools are being wired for new technologies.

Digital Divide Network (
One of the Benton Foundation’s most high-profile initiatives is the Digital Divide Network, or DDN. Established in 1999, DDN is the Internet’s premiere online community for discussing the digital divide and developing strategies for promoting digital opportunity. Utilized by practitioners, policymakers and community leaders from the United States and abroad, DDN serves as a knowledge network for sharing the latest news, research, analysis and best practices for bridging the digital divide. DDN addresses the issue from multiple perspectives, including citizens’ access to computers and the Internet, improving literacy and skills, content production and economic development.

The Digital Divide Network plays host to DIGITALDIVIDE, the Internet’s largest e-mail forum for discussing the digital divide. With over 3,000 participants from over 50 countries, DIGITALDIVIDE is a robust online community where citizens from around the world tackle this complex issue from a variety of professional and cultural perspectives. Currently, approximately 25% of list traffic is generated from outside the United States.

Additionally, DDN serves as the coordinator of ConnectNet, a database of 20,000 libraries, community technology centers, and other facilities offering free public Internet access and IT training. Accessible via the Internet and a toll-free telephone number, ConnectNet directs users to the most convenient Internet access points in their community. Utilized by the general public, as well as researchers and funders, ConnectNet is America’s leading directory of organizations bridging the digital divide.

Over the course of the next year, the Digital Divide Network will go through a major reorganization in order to forge greater ties with our diverse community of users. In early 2003, DDN will re-launch as the Digital Opportunity Network. The new Web site will continue to reflect the basic principals of the current DDN, but with a broader range of content and tools. The Digital Opportunity Network will emphasize partnership building and collaboration, featuring online resources and applications crafted by leading technology assistance providers and capacity building organizations.

As part of this effort, the network will feature Benton’s popular capacity building resource, Strategic Communications in the Digital Age. One of the most widely utilized online resources for nonprofit IT capacity building, Strategic Communications will be integrated into the network to provide our users with a greater range of capacity building tools. Additionally, the network will feature a variety of content focusing on government policies that facilitate digital opportunity, as well as analysis of high-speed broadband applications and their potential to improve quality of life in communities around the globe.

Digital Opportunity Channel (
An initiative of the Digital Divide Network and, the channel focuses on using information technology for global development and bridging the digital divide worldwide. The channel is co-produced by DDN and OneWorld South Asia, based in New Delhi, India. An online coalition of over 1,250 NGO partners around the world, OneWorld aggregates the vast online resources produced by its partners into a worldwide database, allowing these resources to be channeled into thematic websites. The Digital Opportunity Channel taps into the strengths of both DDN and OneWorld, promoting OneWorld’s immense collection of IT and global development resources, while harnessing DDN’s skills as a community builder and a producer of news and analysis.

Five days a week, the Digital Opportunity Channel highlights the latest news in the world of IT and global development. It also publishes weekly features highlighting IT success stories around the world, as well as analysis of policy and practice trends. Additionally, the channel features a campaign section, produced by OneWorld partners in the Netherlands, tracking the latest national and international campaigns promoting digital opportunity.

Because the channel was developed based on a set of decentralized editorial principles, DDN hopes to bring in other partners to manage other sections of the Web site, based either on topic or geography. For example, the channel’s design would allow a coalition of NGOs in Bangladesh to edit a section of the Web site dedicated to the latest news and features of interest specifically to Bangladesh, published in English, Bangla, or any other language they prefer. And because all content published in the channel’s database is tagged by both geography and topic, similar groups in other countries could easily access one another’s content and collaborate online. The Digital Opportunity Channel, therefore, will evolve into an international community of NGOs and individuals, interacting with each other on a global, national, and regional scale.

In the near term, the channel is seeking out partners to manage content regarding specific subtopics of the channel, such as e-government, literacy and emerging technologies. Additionally, the channel is partnering with, a coalition of leading capacity building organizations around the world, working together to share multilingual capacity building resources and applications. The channel is also entering into discussions with the Education Development Corporation (EDC), manager of the Internet’s leading e-mail discussion for global development, the GKD discussion list. The channel seeks to partner with GKD and utilize the discussion group as the channel’s official forum for development issues, to be promoted jointly with DDN’s current DIGITALDIVIDE discussion group.

Despite the fact that the Digital Opportunity Channel is less than one month old, the channel has received tremendous feedback from around the world, as well as submissions from numerous practitioners eager to publish their experiences and research on the channel. Designed with the future in mind, the Digital Opportunity Channel has the potential to serve as a virtual base of operations for both global dialogue and global action, bringing together a diversity of organizations interested in working together to provide digital opportunity for all people, no matter their culture, location or circumstance.

The Open Society Institute’s Information Program (
The Open Society Institute (OSI) was established in 1993 by the Soros Foundations Network to promote the development and maintenance of open societies around the world. The Soros Foundations Network and OSI have an international presence, including the former Soviet republics of Ukraine, Russia, Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, and Azerbaijan; Central and Eastern European countries including Hungary, Poland, Romania, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Bulgaria, and Macedonia; Asian countries such as Burma, China, Indonesia, and Hong Kong; Western European countries including France and Belgium; African countries including South Africa; and Central American countries such as Guatemala and Haiti.

The OSI Information Program is based on three premises:
1. Human beings are not only passive subjects or economic agents seeking personal gain, but civic beings who share a world that they have the power to shape.
2. The ability to exchange ideas, knowledge and information is the lifeblood of citizenship, and participation in a shared public sphere.
3. While traditional media remain essential to citizenship, new digital technologies hold largely untapped potential for enhancing civic life, as well as dangers that are not yet fully understood.

Knowledge is not sufficient to create open societies. But given adequate economic resources and a serviceable legal and institutional environment, access to knowledge in all its forms is possibly the single most important factor in determining the success or failure of an open society. Over the past five years or so, the predecessors to the Information Program have done much to provide open access to knowledge and information in previously closed societies. The Internet Program has helped to introduce Internet connectivity in more than 35 countries, and has been at the forefront of funding for Internet policy for human rights and independent voices online.

The mandate of the OSI Information Program is to assist with the more equitable deployment of knowledge and communications resources —providing access to content, tools and networks —for civic empowerment and more effective democratic governance.

A secondary mission of the program is to enhance the effectiveness of other OSI/Soros foundations programs through the use of knowledge media and ICTs (Information and Communications Technologies). Initiatives in related areas such as economic development and e-commerce, distance education, public health, or culture are pursued in close partnership with other OSI programs.

Program Areas and Strategic Objectives
The Information Program supports initiatives that produce a systemic effect by changing the environment in which ICTs are deployed (e.g. policy advocacy), projects that are highly scalable (like consortia) or have a powerful multiplier effect (like new toolsets), and pilot or demonstration model projects, which can then be replicated by others (like “digital communities”). The Information Program has five components designed to take advantage of the capacity of ICTs (Information and Communications Technologies) to deliver content, provide tools, and build networks for civic empowerment and effective governance:

A policy component aims to develop an environment that makes it possible for civic actors and governments to take advantage of the democratic capacity of ICTs in the following ways:
· Policy advocacy to enable and encourage investment in infrastructure, protecting basic liberties in the new media environment, and enhancing access to public-sector information;
· A content component, which would provide access not by funding content directly, but by developing global consortia for affordable access to content;
· An initiative to develop robust, low-cost ICT toolsets for civil society, governance and learning applications; · An ICT networking project to empower civil society and to provide ICT support for the nonprofit sector, enabling civic actors to take full advantage of new technologies; and
· A local community informatics project, which will apply the integrative capabilities of information policy and technology to particular communities.

The OSI Information Program has funded numerous projects worldwide, including: Global Internet Policy Initiative, ASPiration, Global Internet Liberty Campaign, European Internet Policy Organization, Internet Society Training Workshop for Developing countries, Compumentor, and Npower. Additionally, OSI’s Information Program has developed long-standing partnerships with numerous international organizations, including Association for Progressive Communications, OneWorld, Consumer’s Unions, the Center for Democracy and Technology, and iTrain Online. Additionally, the Information Program sponsors a “New Opportunities Fund”—a grant program that makes small and medium-sized grants available exclusively for pilots and models that could form the basis of new network-wide projects. Grant areas include: e-democracy, e-government, distance education, intellectual property conservancies, socially responsible design initiatives, orphan technology redeployment, and accessible technologies.

Community Portal
RegisterOrg understands that the growth of .org and the optimization of Internet use by its registrants requires a greater understanding of the needs of the current .org registrants and other organizations and individuals looking to develop an online presence as .org registrants, as well as greater input from these parties. To that end, the RegisterOrg team believes that the creation of a Community Portal—a .org “commons,” where registrants may find a wide range of support and resources, as well as news about policy development at the Registry and ICANN levels—will be an effective way to give voice and support to the needs of the community. The Community Portal will enable any number of users to comment on issues, be they large institutions or individual site owners, as well as increasing participation in relevant discussions by non-U.S. organizations. Moreover, it would enable the RegisterOrg team to solicit user input on any new services or community needs.

The Community Portal could also be used to facilitate virtual registry discussions about the state of the registry, policy, and other efforts to improve access to Internet resources. By utilizing the Community Portal, Internet users who are often unable to participate in remotely located meetings may be able to listen and communicate (through e-mail questions or statements).

Other uses of the Community Portal that may promote user participation in registry policy or definition include:
· Developing an online community of resources for the development and growth of non-profit organizations;
· Featuring links to important resources that relate to the goals of the Registry;
· Giving links to .org Registry grantees with description of their projects and the relationship of those projects to .org (see description above);
· Providing content from RegisterOrg grantees regarding best practices, policy issues, Internet governances, and creating an online presence;
· Links and information about .org-sponsoring registrars;
· Creating a place for users to post relevant papers and research re: .org and the noncommercial Internet;
· Discussion groups on relevant issues including Internet policy and sharing of online strategies—e.g. how to build a successful site; and
· A secure Web-based portal for registrars to communicate with the Registry for technical support and pertinent Registry news (e.g. Registry downtime and maintenance). For a detailed description of this portal, see our response to C21.

Ultimately, the Community Portal would contribute to the development of a .org brand by providing support to the .org community, and serving as a gateway to resources critical for developing a robust noncommercial Internet community. The idea is designed not only to appeal to Internet-savvy registrants who are already involved in policy-making issues, but to reach out to others who may benefit from developing an online presence or who are looking to find ways to broaden their reach.

.org Registry Policy
Among the policy objectives of RegisterOrg is to maintain a flexible registration policy that is neither overly prescriptive nor exclusive of existing registrants, but leaves the decision as to whether to register for a .org domain name to the individual user. RegisterOrg also intends to maintain current registry policy, including those relating to transfers and grace periods (see Section III, c17.02). RegisterOrg is currently home to a broad range of registrants, including activists, health care providers, schools, charities, news providers, individual site owners, artists, political speakers and commercial registrants as well. Hence, a disruption in policy, we believe, could detrimentally impact those that have had long-standing registrations, and have built their online identities in the .org domain. Moreover, we believe that as awareness about .org grows through RegisterOrg’s marketing efforts, noncommercial users in particular may gravitate to the Registry, while others may choose to register elsewhere. Instead, RegisterOrg will create a marketing plan that will attract a broadly defined noncommercial user community and better define the .org space as being representative of such registrants.

RegisterOrg’s view that flexible registry policy should be maintained was also espoused by the Names Council final report on divestiture of .org (the “Names Council Final Report”). RegisterOrg also concurs with the following policy findings of the Names Council Final Report:
· The new registry should not impose eligibility requirements for .org registrants, as is the case today, and should not evict current users that do not conform as non-profit users or deny such registrants from renewing their domain names in the future; and
· The Registry Operator will not attempt to impose any new prior restraints on registrations of domain names, or propose any new dispute initiation procedures that could result in the cancellation of domain delegations.

RegisterOrg as a Commercial Operator
RegisterOrg appreciates the importance of being responsive to and supportive of the noncommercial user community. By its nature, running an important public resource such as the .org registry requires a unique business paradigm that seamlessly balances the demands of the public interest with commercial realities. In order to accomplish this feat, the .org registry must both serve the public interest and offer financial stability and demonstrated leadership in the domain name space.

RegisterOrg will directly serve the public interest through its funding partnerships, which will create an alliance with a global network of non-profit organizations and resources that are critical to developing a robust .org community. Additionally, as set forth above, RegisterOrg will engage in policy outreach through communication with the community through its Web site.

RegisterOrg believes that while the .org registry operator will be an essential architect of the global .org community, equally important will be its responsiveness to sponsoring registrars and end-users as its customers. As a commercial operator, RegisterOrg will value the servicing of its customers as its foremost priority. Ultimately, customer satisfaction, as well as policy and marketing outreach, will be essential in growing the base of registrants for the Registry. In this way, the aspirations and self-interest of the .org community and RegisterOrg as a commercial entity are closely aligned. This commercial philosophy has fueled the continuous financial success of (RegisterOrg’s parent) since its inception as the first commercial competitor to VeriSign/Network Solutions. Moreover, as a commercial operator, RegisterOrg will have the management depth, financial capitalization, and customer service orientation to build, service, and grow the .org domain while serving the interests of the noncommercial constituency.

Consequently, we believe that RegisterOrg’s approach is superior to proposals that would designate a non-profit to set the registry’s policies while delegating all of the technical aspects of running the registry to a commercial third party. Ultimately, in order to ensure the stability of the .org registry, and continued financial viability of an operator, we believe that .org should be operated by a commercial entity that can manage the registry in an efficient and technically proficient manner.


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