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The Proposal

Unity Registry’s Vision for .org

This proposal is submitted on behalf of Unity Registry, a newly formed partnership between Poptel Ltd and AusRegistry Pty Ltd.

These partners bring proven technical experience in managing a both a successful new sponsored TLD and five major subdomains of a ccTLD with approximately 300,000 registered domains.

Having gathered significant support from leading noncommercial Internet using organizations, they can demonstrate the relationships that will be required to ensure that the .org gTLD realises its potential to energise non-profit sectors.

The ongoing management of .coop has shown that this partnership can successfully build and manage diverse global relationships in pursuit of a common goal. With unrivalled experience trading in this sector and a strong grounding in social enterprise, Unity Registry has a deep understanding of how .org can be developed.

To ensure that the inclusive nature of policy development is maintained, Unity Registry will establish a formal user cooperative open to all .org registrants.

By presenting this unique bid to manage .org from within the social trading sector, the partners will ensure that many of the investment opportunities that will accompany a successful bid will ultimately help to benefit the .org community.

Unity Registry understand the social value of .org. The partners can lead a global coalition in developing new strategies that will ensure that the values and opportunities of the gTLD are communicated to the core ‘non-profit’ constituency.

Unity Registry will commit a minimum of 10% of net profit before tax to support new services and activities of benefit to the .org community under the guidance of the .org coop.

It is equally important, however, to encourage the thousands of commercial organizations currently holding .org domains to expand their social orientation into the name space, thereby helping to expand the concept of social enterprise.

The Partners

Unity Registry’s partners combine the experience of having successfully introduced a new global top level domain (.coop) with a track record in managing the transition of the .com.au, .net.au, .org.au, .asn.au and .id.au domain names from various other registry operators following an appointment to do so by the .au Delegate Authority, auDA.

They control between them approximately 300,000 registered domains managed using systems based on the latest registry technologies and meet the needs of tens of thousands of noncommercial and non-profit Internet using organizations.

This proposal describes Unity Registry’s technical, administrative, organizational and marketing strategy for the .org gTLD. It is comprehensive, financially viable and deliverable. It is also grounded in an understanding of the needs of noncommercial Internet users gained by the partners over many years. It includes a carefully developed plan to ensure a smooth transition and stable operations.

Introducing Poptel

Poptel was founded to serve the needs of noncommercial organizations in 1985. Its cooperative structure has ensured that the social mission fixed by the founders of the company have not been overtaken by the enormous commercial opportunities that proved so attractive to other Internet ‘first-movers’ during the .com boom.

Poptel has always recognised the potential that the Internet has to transform and energise .orgs. As a business, it has matched the high technical standards expected by the commercial client-bases of its rivals, and it has earned the patronage of many leading global NGOs, campaign groups, charities and trades unions including Oxfam, Christian Aid, Earth Summit 2002 and Consumers International (the global apex organization for national consumer associations).

Over half of the 7.5 million Trade Union members in the UK are served almost exclusively by Poptel (the UK has, proportionately, the world’s largest and most vibrant Trade Union movement). In addition, Poptel’s management of the .coop gTLD has cemented its pre-eminence in the global cooperative market.

Bidding to run the .org registry is a logical extension of Poptel’s mission and expertise. It is fitting that this opportunity has arisen just at the point at which the company is able to realise the opportunities that this gTLD presents to .orgs.

Social Enterprise

As a leading partner in the UK Social Enterprise Coalition, Poptel’s business model is uniquely appropriate for the management of .org. It is organised as a cooperative, with a majority stake owned by the employees. Towards the end of 2000 it raised substantial investment capital, and this gave it the resources to create the winning alliance for .coop and, together with its partners, to successfully build the registry and its management structure.

Experienced gTLD Registry

Poptel is proud of what it has achieved with the .coop registry, and pleased that it is expected to become a model for future special purpose TLDs. Perhaps more importantly, .coop is more than a technical achievement: it is a tool that provides energy and a new global perspective for cooperative enterprises.

There have been many notable achievements in the development of .coop. Among the most significant for our application to run .org are:

  • the registry system has had 100% availability and was developed on time and within budget
  • the partnership process and management system of .coop has attracted a high level of engagement and support from a truly global cooperative community
  • the sales and marketing plan we implemented has generated sales that are on target against our most optimistic projection in the original ICANN application.

Poptel is growing at 90% a year, is profitable and cash positive. It has the capability, the backing and the desire to support Unity Registry in managing .org in the interests of the current and future users of this key TLD.

Introducing AusRegistry

AusRegistry Pty Ltd is a subsidiary of RegistrarsAsia Pty Ltd, an ICANN accredited international Domain Name Registrar operating out of Melbourne, Australia.

In December 2001, AusRegistry was awarded the license to build and operate new registry systems in Australia for the .com.au, .net.au, .org.au, .asn.au and .id.au Domain Names. AusRegistry also operates the primary and secondary name servers in Australia for these names.

AusRegistry is proud to be the first registry in the world to be implementing EPP version 6 (the new international registry protocol standard), and will be the technical benchmark for registry systems worldwide. Enhancements made by AusRegistry will benefit Internet users through quicker resolution of domain names and faster Name Server (DNS) updates than any other registry currently operating.

As an Australian based and owned company, AusRegistry's achievements highlight that Australia stands at the forefront of technology and innovation. It shows that a skilled and committed team of people can achieve international recognition without needing to be based in the 'traditional' IT hot spots.

Unity Registry: The Poptel/AusRegistry Bid

Unity Registry has been formed after both Poptel and AusRegistry received support and encouragement to bid from many major noncommercial organizations. We have received informal expressions of support from many others. Full details of these expressions of support can be found in Section C36.

We believe that we have an excellent technical and marketing strategy for the development of .org, one that will meet the needs of the wider Internet community as well as that of domain-holders.

Unity Registry shares ICANN’s views on the need for responsible and responsive governance of .org. Both Poptel’s .coop project and AusRegistry’s registry operation have been marked by the highest standards of inclusive governance and stakeholder consultation. The partners recognise that atop level domain is by definition the only supplier of services to registrars for a particular domain.

Poptel’s previous experience, with .coop and its unsuccessful bid for .union, and AusRegistry’s experience with the .au names under its management show clearly that Unity Registry will be act responsibly in this central role.

To ensure that .org is run in the best interests of the registrants it is important that they can play a key role in the operation of the registry. We are absolutely committed to ensuring that the registry will be run in a manner that will further the online engagement of .org communities. We have detailed this proposal in Section C38.

Looking beyond technical and organizational issues, our principal ambition for .org is to turn it into a thriving noncommercial space on the Internet, a space that serves the broad interests of the non-profit communities as well as meeting the need to have a reliable, cost-effective and efficient registry operation.

It is now time to reinforce and enhance the values on which the noncommercial Internet is founded. As a mature gTLD, many non-profits are registered as .orgs, but it is also the case that many registrations have been made by entities outside the noncommercial sector. Unity Registry believes that this proposal meets the needs of those registrants too.

A Strategic Opportunity

There is a unique synergy between the .coop gTLD and .org. Both projects can unlock the potential new technologies have to bring communities together for social objectives.

Unity Registry will take the opportunity that new management will bring to communicate the values of .org as clearly as those of .com or .biz are. With the development of new community-building facilities, Unity Registry will provide a new on-line focus for the .org community.

It will also work to ensuring that commercial organizations are aware of the social orientation of .org, and are encouraged to use their .org namespace to develop the social dimension of their businesses.

A Unique Bid

Unity Registry’s is the only proposal that can combine significant support from the noncommercial Internet community with the solid technical ability and experience running large registries. Through AusRegistry we are already running a fully scalable and stable EPPv6 compliant registry. Uniquely, we also have experience transitioning a functioning registry from one operator to another.

Our proposal offers an open and inclusive approach to the gTLD’s management and policy development, supported by the proposed user cooperative (described in Section C35). In this way, Unity Registry will promote the registry's operation in a manner that is responsive to the needs, concerns, and views of the noncommercial Internet user community.

Unity Registry can also demonstrate the technical and organizational capability to manage the transition process and preserve the stability of the Registry Operation throughout transition.

Poptel and AusRegistry collectively have extensive experience in building and running registries, transitioning registries, and complying with ICANN policies and operating requirements. This proposal demonstrates that Unity Registry has the necessary financial and technical resources needed to provide a smooth transition, stable operations and additional services to the .org registrant community.

Poptel has extensive experience in providing services targeted to the non-profit community and will direct that expertise towards development of innovative value added services for .org registrants.

The registry systems proposed by Unity Registry are based on those developed and installed by AusRegistry for the .au ccTLD. This system is based on EPP v6 and is full scalable, giving Unity Registry the capacity to handle the current 2.7m .org registrations and future growth as anticipated in our projections (see Section C17.1).

AusRegistry already has appropriate policies and procedures in place to manage the allocation and maintenance of domains and the resolution of disputes. These policies will inform Unity Registry’s practice.

Coordinated data and service centers on the opposite sides of the world will provide round the clock service to registrars.

Unity Registry has taken into consideration the experience gained by AusRegistry in successfully transitioning from an incumbent registry to the new registry. This has been used in the design of a transition plan that will ensure a smooth transition for registrars and registrant (see Section C18).

Unity Registry will, if it takes over responsibility for operating the registry for .org, constitute a new substantial competitive gTLD registry, without any obligation to take registry operator services from an existing provider in the long term, thereby contributing to more robust competition in this sector.

This proposal reflects our careful analysis of the requirements for a smooth transition and includes a commitment on the part of Unity Registry to agree to whatever payments may be determined by ICANN as required to assure VeriSign's full and enthusiastic participation in the transition process.

It includes an innovative mechanism for involvement of the .org registrant community – a new user cooperative – to support policy formulation and the development of value added services. This innovation is based on Poptel's experience in assisting the US-based National Cooperative Business Association (NCBA) and the International Cooperative Alliance (ICA) in assuring a sound combination of business controls and open policy-formulation processes in connection with .coop sponsored TLD.

This proposal guarantees support for ICANN policies applicable to .org but adds commitments for the provision of substantial new value added services that will help noncommercial .org registrants find and coordinate their efforts with like-minded organizations around the globe.

This proposal has been enthusiastically endorsed by a wide range of .org registrants and non-profit organizations from around the world. Poptel's longstanding commitment to the non-profit and civil society sector will help substantially to assure successful marketing of Unity Registry’s new services to be developed pursuant to the proposal. AusRegistry has effectively and successfully differentiated the .org.au namespace from the others within Its environment and Unity Registry intends to call upon this experience to ensure that .org is both targeted and marketed correctly.

The proposal reduces technical, financial and transition risks to an absolute minimum yet promises prompt introduction of new services specifically designed to serve the interests of .org registrants. Furthermore it is not dependent on the use of funds from the VeriSign endowment (see Section C41) as Unity Registry is a for-profit applicant.

We commend it to the Board of ICANN.