C38. 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 registrations.
Repositioning and Differentiating .org
RegisterOrg intends to expand the .org registry through an aggressive marketing plan that looks to define and reposition the .org brand. Although .org registrations have been declining because of a drop in new registrations and a low renewal rate, RegisterOrg believes that by creating a strong, undiluted identity for .org, the TLD will be revitalized and truly recognized as the pre-eminent domain for people, causes and ideas. Such branding and positioning will also serve to obviate defensive and duplicative registrations by entities falling outside of the target market.
RegisterOrg recognizes that the continued commercial vitality of the .org registry will require both a greater understanding of the currently varied .org registrant base, and an ability to identify what makes this group of registrants so different from those who register through other TLDs. Moreover, RegisterOrg sees the international marketplace as one that is primed for .org, perhaps more so than for any other TLD. RegisterOrg’s marketing plans will aim to differentiate .org from other gTLDs and attract U.S. and global registrants who can best benefit from using the .org space.
The three methods by which RegisterOrg plans to achieve its marketing plan is by clearly defining the .org brand through (I) understanding the user community;and (II) marketing through the registrar channel to both registrars and end users.
I. Understanding the User Community
The RegisterOrg marketing team conducted an analysis of the current .org registrant base. The results are discussed throughout C38, and further attachments can be found in Section XIII, Marketing Strategy, Research. The analysis was largely based on bulk Whois data information of the five largest ICANN-Accredited Registrars (as measured by share of .com, .net, and .org registrations under management as of March 31, 2002, by the Snapnames, State of the Domain Report, April 23, 2002). While we recognize that this data provides an incomplete picture of the user base, we believe it is still illustrative of the general characteristics of that base.
The Findings: American Dominance
According to our analysis, the vast majority of current registrants (approximately 71%) are from the U.S. Not surprisingly, most of the remaining 29% of registrants come from higher-income countries, with greater Internet penetration. Of the non-U.S. registrants:
· Approximately 64% are from member countries of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), which includes Australia, Canada, Japan, New Zealand, and much of Europe.
· Approximately 45% of OECD registrants are from the United Kingdom (27%) and Canada (18%).
· Italy, Spain, Japan, the Netherlands, and France account for the next largest current .org registrant customer base.
Based on our research, the U.S. and OECD currently account for approximately 89% of all .org registrants, leaving approximately 11% for the remainder of the world. However, RegisterOrg believes that these less-developed markets will be the key to .org’s growth. Not only are they experiencing a growth in Internet and domain use (see attachment, Section XII, Marketing Strategy, Research) but they also stand to benefit the most from the clear positioning of .org. RegisterOrg recognizes that it is important to ensure that proper attention is given to these audiences in developing the .org marketing strategy.
Based upon historical data and an analysis of current Internet growth rates, we estimate that the market will decline in year one by 6% followed by a steady increase of between 8-11% due to the effects of the repositioning of the brand and market outreach efforts.
Based on regression and correlation analyses of OECD markets, we determined that .org demand correlated highly with overall Internet grow rates, but lag behind by two to three years. Aside from statistical correlation, this relationship has intuitive appeal, as non-profit organizations do not tend to be early adopters of technology.
Demand for .org was determined as follows:
· Researched projected regional Internet growth rates;
· Adjusted growth rates to reflect the “lag” time; and
· Used those adjusted growth rates to calculate .org registration for each region.
Short-Term Goals: Revive the U.S. and OECD Markets
Although the U.S. market for .org is in a much more mature stage than any other market, RegisterOrg believes that opportunities to grow .org exist. RegisterOrg’s plan will focus on slower-adopting non-profits and other community/social groups to expand in the U.S. In addition to the more traditional market of organized non-profit corporations, the Registry intends to market .org to community/social groups that would benefit from having an online community presence. Below is a chart of some of the types of organizations that RegisterOrg intends to target.
RegisterOrg believes that, in contrast to the U.S. market, the high-income OECD countries have been a less mature market for .org registration, and that there is opportunity for short-term growth or expansion for .org registrations. Unlike regions where there is limited Internet use, market indicators show that in this region, online access is relatively high. Therefore, we will look to grow .org registrations by targeting more traditional non-profit organizations and community/social groups.
The Need to Understand the Market in the Developing Countries
RegisterOrg intends to aggressively market .org within those countries that have demonstrated a “readiness” for the .org domain by the purchases to date. Among the countries included in this group are: China, Republic of Korea, India, Turkey, and Indonesia. While these countries have high registration numbers compared with other non-OECD nations, their Internet penetration is still growing.
There is a tremendous potential for the growth of .org in these countries, as the projections for their Internet and technology use grow 20-30 percent per year. As this technology penetration grows, we believe new users in these regions will gravitate toward .org in large part because a “.com-centric” Internet does not serve the needs of new users. E-commerce and corporate Web sites are of less interest than those promoting the exchange of ideas and resources. We submit that RegisterOrg’s new branding of .org—as a place for people, causes, and ideas—rings most true for these nations.
By leveraging our relationships with community organizations to be funded by RegisterOrg RegisterOrg will have the global reach needed to spur growth and involve new users in developing regions. Our partners have demonstrated success in tackling issues of the digital divide, and will help us in carrying out our goals.
Through programs run by organizations with global reach and success in this arena, such as the Benton Foundation’s Digital Divide Network and the Open Society Institute, which will receive community fund grants from RegisterOrg (see C36), the Registry intends to make market investments in research and capacity building. These efforts will not only help users in underserved regions obtain technology access, but better utilize the Internet as a communications vehicle via tools offered through our partner foundations. Moreover, these programs will provide users with a voice in local and global Internet governance issues.
II. Marketing Strategy
RegisterOrg’s Marketing Strategy is to work with an expanded registrar network and educate and market to the end-user community.
Register.Org believes that the target customer base for .org is comprised of community-minded individuals and organizations, including, non-profits, civic and religious groups, clubs and other noncommercial entities--in other words .org is best suited for “people, causes and ideas.” But we recognize that reaching the target base cannot effectively happen without the involvement of regional and country-specific registrars worldwide, who are ultimately our customers and the key to successful growth of the registry. Therefore, RegisterOrg will utilize its multilingual, 24-7 support network (already available through Registry Advantage) to encourage registrars in all nations to recruit registrants in their local regions. This not only benefits the Registry, but also, in turn, serves to expand our reach into the international market.
Leverage Existing Registrar Channel
To assist registrars’ selling efforts, RegisterOrg will provide a marketing campaign and toolkit (described below) designed to drive awareness and demand at both the user and channel levels. These channels will include access providers, resellers, portal sites, hosting companies, and offline businesses that have not traditionally participated in domain name distribution. Consistent with its overriding policy of neutrality, RegisterOrg will provide these benefits to all registrars on an even-handed basis.
Expand Registrar Channel
RegisterOrg intends to promote diversity in the .org registrar space. The Registry intends to work with a variety of organizations, including non-profits, to develop a broader base of registrars focused on noncommercial users worldwide. An important part of this strategy is the marketing toolkit, which will be available to all .org registrars.
The toolkit will feature an aggressive .org repositioning strategy to help registrars attract the target markets through a crisply defined positioning of .org.
Highlights of the toolkit include:
· Co-marketing programs: RegisterOrg will propose a co-promotional marketing program to help registrars effectively target new customers.
· Sales and promotion materials: The Registry will offer region-specific sales and promotional materials, including, print, radio, e-mail, trade-show, advertising, and publicity materials. (For more information, see Section XII, Marketing Strategy, Research.)
· Graphics and artwork. The Registry will provide visual content in a variety of languages for use on registrar and reseller Web sites.
· Web content. The Registry will feature articles and other content, tailored by language and region, for registrars to include on their Web sites.
Drive Branding and Sales
RegisterOrg’s primary marketing objective is to raise global awareness of and interest in the .org domain.
Secondary objectives include:
· Appropriately position .org for audiences across a vast lingual, geographic, and political scale;
· Communicate the value of .org as a designation of non-commercial activities, such as information sharing, advocacy, fundraising, networking, or socializing;
· Educate consumers and organizations of the benefits implicit in the .org domain; and
· Expand the diversity and depth of .org registrants.
These objectives will be carried out through an aggressive media plan.
.org Media Plan
To further differentiate .org from other TLD’s, RegisterOrg plans to leverage media placement. We plan to buy media in vehicles often associated with not-for-profit and community minded organizations worldwide. The choice of media will help to position .org as part of the non-profit world. Given the target audiences and our core positioning, we plan to use primarily radio, print, e-mail advertising, conferences, and public relations.
The following enumerates the five media strategies identified for marketing and branding .org: radio, print, online marketing, conferences, and public relations.
National Public Radio (NPR) can cost effectively achieve a broad reach with consistency of message and supportive positioning of .org to the non-profit constituencies by underwriting select programs. RegisterOrg can get a 10 to 15-second spot before and after the program—which does not “feel” like commercial advertising. Although many NPR programs are heard worldwide, our initial entree will be to underwrite a program produced by a local NPR station, but broadcast nationally such as Marketplace (the fastest growing national program in public radio).
As the sales and marketing effort moves forward and matures, other viable options will be considered such as NPR and Public Broadcasting Systems (PBS) globally distributed programming. Additionally, the Registry will seek to identify other global and non-US national television and radio networks.
RegisterOrg anticipates relaunching the .org TLD within non-profit focused print publications such as Grassroots Fundraising Journal and The Chronicle of Philanthropy (the newspaper of the nonprofit world). The latter is the number one news source, in print and online, for charity leaders, fundraisers, grant makers, and other people involved in the philanthropic enterprise. Another consideration is Nonprofit World. Additionally, RegisterOrg plans to initially advertise in non-profit magazines directed toward non-profit organizations in Canada, Europe, and Japan.
E-mail is the most familiar element of Internet communication, and nearly everyone online has subscribed to at least one e-mail list. These are all double-opt-in e-mail lists supported with advertisements, usually allowing two to three ads per mailing. Each ad is usually six to seven lines long and in the language of the region.
Conferences are an important aspect of marketing especially to the international community. One of the keys to our marketing strategy is to position .org as part of the non-profit community. Attendance at conferences will play a key role in accomplishing this goal.
Publicity and Public Relations
RegisterOrg plans to make use of both active and passive public relations. Passive public relations rely on the media picking up newsworthy events (such as product launches, associations with foundations, underwriting, etc.). We intend to actively generate publicity via orchestrating events and utilizing spokespersons. Among things currently under consideration are contests that would encourage .org registrants to submit information regarding their creative use of their Web site to further their mission. It is anticipated, if properly orchestrated, that this type of a contest could generate significant coverage by both the non-profit press and general media.
RegisterOrg has budgeted $5,000,000 for sales and marketing over the course of the agreement.
RegisterOrg intends to further use market research tactically in three areas. First, we intend to use qualitative research as part of our copy development process. Second, we intend to marry the message to the market. We expect to use both qualitative and quantitative methods to determine the best copy execution for a particular market (e.g., language, imagery, legal). Last, we plan to use quantitative research to determine ongoing areas of product and service improvements.
RegisterOrg’s marketing outreach program is intended to cultivate the noncommercial community by establishing a Community Portal and funding noncommercial programs that build technology and civic capacity online.
End User Involvement in a 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/individuals looking to develop an online presence. To that end, RegisterOrg will create 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—that will be an effective way to promote and expand .org. Moreover, it would enable the Registry to solicit user input on any new services or needs of the community. For a full description of the Community Portal, please see C36.
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 also to reach out to others who may benefit from developing an online presence or who are looking to find ways to broaden their reach.
Community Organization Grants
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. For an in-depth description of this program, please see our answer to C36.
How Funding Benefits the Market Building Process of .org
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.
To best serve the noncommercial user community and build the brand, it is imperative to leverage the knowledge and market outreach of these organizations to expand the market. Based upon these organizations sensitivity to the .org target market, they will provide a “marketing bridge” for RegisterOrg. Through the contribution of content, applications, tools and models that provide increasing functionality and better marketing to non-profit organizations, the Community Portal will be a critical part of repositioning and extending the brand in a way that is not possible with traditional media.
Through the community portal and the seed money grants, RegisterOrg will cultivate a network of non-profit organizations and provide a significant and lasting impact on the .org brand and marketplace thus providing a stronger and more vital registry.
· Bulk WHOIS data of the five largest ICANN Accredited registrars (as measured by share of .com, .net and .org registrations under management as of March 31, 2002 based on the Snapnames, State of the Domain Report, April 23, 2002)
· World Bank 2000 population, United Nations, 2001
· ITU World Telecommunication, 1999 Report
· Internet Software Consortium 2000 data
· Computer Industry Almanac, 2001