Diversitas.org Project

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Questions from the media concerning UIA / Diversitas

Question: What do you think favourably differentiates your bid from the 10 others?

  1. At a time when there is legitimate pressure for the international non-commercial dot-org community to run the dot-org domain, UIA / Diversitas is both non-profit and non-US-based -- one of the two bids so distinguished.

  2. As an international non-profit clearing house, UIA has a statutory commitment to the non-profit community dating back to 1910 with a registry function endorsed by the UN (UN/ECOSOC Resolution 334B XI, 20 July 1950). As such, UIA's registry is acknowledged by academic, policy and market researchers as the international authority on global civil society organizations across the diversity of every field of human activity. This work is extended by UIA's other registry activities with regard to the preoccupations, strategies, values, events. logos and executives of non-profit organizations.

  3. The UIA / Diversitas proposal provides for a disbursement of funds derived from income to support community-building internet initiatives, especially towards narrowing the digital divide.

  4. The UIA / Diversitas proposal seeks to "make a difference" by providing a coherent operating context for the many differences within the dot-org community rather than imposing a token sense of community with which few can identify in practice. In this sense it is a "healing bid" in response to the schisms of that community.

  5. See our one-pager summarizing the main benefits of our bid. In addition, we have encapsulated how the UIA / Diversitas proposal responds directly to the ICANN selection criteria and how it benefits the various Internet stakeholders.

Question: What is your association with VeriSign?

  1. Through Diversitas, the association of UIA with VeriSign is an arm's length one of contractor and subcontractor, respectively.

  2. We believe that our proposal represents the best "front end" (offering the most knowledge and understanding of the global civil society) and the best "back end" through a time-limited subcontracting relationship with VeriSign Global Registry Services (offering Internet users the highest operational stability and best technical solution for transition of the .org operator).

Question: Do you think that relationship will harm your chances to win the dot-org bid?

This may indeed prove to be the case depending on the influence of:

  1. those who fail to appreciate the risks to security and service delivery of changing both the driver and the truck simultaneously,

  2. those who fail to notice UIA's commitment to a re-compete for a back-end service provider in three years time -- when Diversitas, as the "driver" will have implemented appropriate new policies for the dot-org community, which we see as the real challenge for differentiating dot-org, and

  3. those who fail to recognize that some other bidders are also likely to be obliged to enter into a transitional contractual relationship with VeriSign to fulfil ICANN's technical requirements.

Question: What is your model (for-profit, not-for-profit, mix)? Describe.

  1. UIA is establishing Diversitas as a dedicated non-profit "social purpose company" under Belgian law. Diversitas will have non- profit shareholders, non-profit management and governance, and advisory councils comprised of civil society individuals of relevant competence.

  2. As a financially self-sustaining non-profit organization, the UIA has, for over 20 years, outsourced internationally where functions could be more efficiently performed by for-profit entities with major economies of scale. At this time, it is UIA's view that a for-profit company is the best choice for a technical back-end service provider for the dot-org registry.

Question: What measures have you put in place to assure that the community voice will be represented within dot-org.

  1. The UIA was established to "encourage and undertake all activity aimed at promoting the development and efficiency of non- governmental networks, as well as intercommunication between people working in the international framework and in interassociative co-operation" (UIA Statutes).

  2. To ensure that the community voice is expressed and heard, UIA maintains databases on international civil society exceeding 1.5 million registry objects (entities and links), including profiles of organizations and their related preoccupations and advocated strategies. We maintain "very thick" data profiles (each up to 64K) on around 40,000 international organizations, irrespective of size and influence and across all sectors, 10,080 of which have .org domains. This is over 10 percent of the .org domains that are currently in active use. We are convinced, therefore, that we already know .org better than any other bidder. Moreover, we have long demonstrated sensitivity to the "voices less heard" and inclusivity to those from smaller constituencies.

  3. In addition to (1) the UIA's 150 custodial members representing the interests of the global non-profit community and to (2) the interactive feedback facilities already implemented in relationship to the UIA's online databases, (3) the proposed management structure for Diversitas will provide for various opportunities for ownership, governance, and policy and technical advice on the part of members of the dot-org community -- as well as non-commercial organizations using other domains and those currently on the under-privileged side of the digital divide.

  4. UIA considers knowledge management in support of community building to be highly dependent on enhanced services, both services delivered by the dot-org registry and those stimulated by it and delivered through registrars and third parties. Not only will UIA "give voice" to the dot-org community but it will add other dimensions through its development of multi-media techniques for visualization, sonification and classification. These will support the variegated self-image of the dot-org community and underpin our non-invasive marketing of enabling services.

Question: What is your floor/ceiling for the wholesale price of a dot-org name (U.S. dollars)?

  1. Diversitas will maintain $6 as a ceiling wholesale price for core registry services during the next 6 years, under economic conditions where the retail price for domain registration may be six or ten-fold this amount, beyond any wholesaler's control and in a highly competitive environment.

  2. Given its non-profit orientation, Diversitas is committed to reducing prices as circumstances permit, but puts other priorities before this. We believe we must first invest in developing the community and provisioning it with enabling services.

  3. It has been estimated that under a half of the current 2,600,000 dot-org domains are active. With new and renewed registrations predicted to fall significantly, and mindful of the paid-up service commitment inherited from the previous operator from which we will derive no income, we expect a fall in income from dot-org registrations before any rise due to our marketing initiatives.

  4. Risks inherent in any fixed price calculation have become greater with current instability in the corporate sector and especially the telecom business.