Application to
Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN)
to become the successor operator of the registry for the .ORG top-level web domain in association with Verisign

Posted: 20 May 2002. (Refused October 2002)

Executive Summary

The Union of International Associations (UIA) proposes a solution for the operation of the .org TLD that combines the strategic leadership of an organization ideally qualified to represent the needs and interests of the global civil society/non-profit ("civil society") community, with a proven technical solution.

UIA has spent nearly 100 years studying, analysing, supporting and serving the global civil society community, the target market for the future of the .org TLD. An international non-profit organization based in Brussels, Belgium, UIA is the authoritative "registry" for over 50,000 international organizations and constituencies, publishing the leading directory of information on global civil society networks. In addition, UIA maintains interrelated databases on over 56,000 world problems and 33,000 organizational action strategies. The result is a unique and unmatched appreciation of the diversity of these organizations and their goals, challenges and activities. No other entity has invested as much effort in gathering information about civil society organizations around the world, understanding their concerns and enhancing knowledge systems in support of their activities. Our leadership is truly international in make-up and reads like a who's who of civil society/non-profit experts.

Understanding of the Needs and Future of the .org TLD

The .org TLD has become one of the largest and most recognised TLDs on the Internet. Still, it has not yet succeeded in establishing for itself the unique profile that would enable it to both gain long-term client loyalty and enter into constructive dialogue on the potential for, and viability of, services specifically tailored for civil society. As a result there are many in this critical community, particularly outside of the United States, who have not been able to capitalise on the power of the Internet to accomplish their goals. We will foster a differentiated TLD, which packages a variety of useful tools for the global civil society community and enhances their access. This will create a tremendous opportunity to stimulate growth in the TLD, both of registrations, use and overall value to the registrant.

To realise the full potential of the .org TLD, the new Registry Operator must:

UIA is ideally situated to meet these needs most effectively for the .org community. If awarded the reassignment of the .org TLD, UIA will create an independent non-profit subsidiary, Diversitas, to be the .org operator. Diversitas will be a shareholder partnership of non-profit organizations, served by outstanding executive and advisory boards.

UIA Background and Qualifications

Since its founding in 1910, UIA has focused on programmes oriented singularly toward the community of international civil society associations, the heart of the .org TLD, whose actions they are designed to facilitate, whether through special studies or through new uses of information. It has chronicled the diverse landscape of civil society organizations, documenting their charters and challenges, building their capacity to accomplish goals and helping them overcome obstacles often resulting from modest funding, inadequate awareness and lack of technical know-how, on a global scale covering over 130 countries around the world.

For over half a century, UIA has published the de facto registry of international organizations - the centrepiece and prime user group for the .org domain. The Yearbook of International Organizations is the most authoritative directory in the world about civil society organizations, their mission, structure, projects, working relationships and contact information.

One of the most favourable results of this open and long-standing collaboration with the organization community is the established trust and respect that exists for the UIA in its role as neutral "re-presenter" and facilitator of its constituency. Such a strong level of trust will be critical for the gathering of support and feedback required to make the .org TLD a more central part of the civil society's mission.

Within the civil society community, there is no single entity more knowledgeable than UIA in: 

Technical Solution

With the understanding that above all else ICANN seeks to ensure the stability of the .org TLD, UIA and its technical and service partners (UIA Team) have formulated a comprehensive plan to use established and proven technology infrastructure to manage the technical operation ("backend") of the TLD.

The UIA Team's technical infrastructure includes global facilities and systems, all of which feature state-of-the-art security, availability, redundancy and connectivity with performance well beyond the service level requirements articulated by ICANN. In order to maximize the stability of the .org TLD, to minimize transition efforts on the part of registrars and to allow UIA to focus primarily on the mobilization of the civil society community around the .org TLD, the UIA Team includes VeriSign Global Registry Services (VGRS) as the technical operations provider for the first three years of the proposed six-year contract.

After UIA has assumed .org TLD leadership in the civil society community, it will then be appropriate to evaluate and plan transition of technical resources to other service providers of back-end services. UIA will start planning for the subcontracting re-compete well before the conclusion of the 3-year subcontracting relationship with VeriSign. UIA commits to ensuring a highly competitive process for these back-end services at that time.

Not only does the UIA Team's technical solution assure of continued service levels for the TLD within the ICANN time frame, but also commits to raising the bar on TLD management through the planned deployment of the Advanced Transaction Look-up Architecture and Signaling (ATLAS) system, increasing the capacity for the nameservers that support the .org TLD (Sec. C17).

Beyond the well-established technical expertise of VGRS, UIA itself brings to bear a unique perspective as an extremely competent, technology-centric organization within the non-profit community. An "early adopter" of communication technology, UIA has pioneered civil society's adoption and utilization of information and communication technology.

Differentiating the .org TLD

The UIA proposal includes a comprehensive approach to attract non-commercial organizations to the .org TLD, to leverage their participation and effectiveness and enhance the identification of the civil society/non-profit community. Rather than marketing, we prefer to think of this as a collaborative approach in co-creation of .org. We are especially sensitive to the need for creative relationships with ccTLDs offering org subdomains and to the challenge of avoiding dysfunctional outreach initiatives that undermine the non-profit community both of .org and in the ccTLD subdomains.

The first element in this approach is differentiating the .org TLD from other TLD options; second is raising its profile and rendering it distinctive and identifiable; third is positioning .org as a "strategic space" for non-profits and the civil society community. This, in marketing parlance, requires a sound understanding of the buyer, what their decision-making processes are and the cues to which they will respond. UIA's work in profiling, analysing and studying the development of global civil society over many decades, notably its uptake of Internet communications services, gives it a special appreciation for the diversity, attitudes and needs of this community.

We strongly believe that a "marketing" strategy for civil society registrants should not be based on the assumption that those in the .org community agree with a set of principles selected by a particular coalition. Indeed, the significant differences we know exist between many within the community create the challenge to use information technology to assist in enhancing the sense of community within the community and, to a degree, healing schisms within that community.

Additionally, UIA has a thorough understanding of how the civil society community is currently utilising the various TLDs. Analyses made by UIA, show that major segments of the non-profit community use domains other than .org.

Because we believe in developing and implementing our approach participatively, we do not present a detailed "marketing" plan. This would be premature. To give a flavour of our current thinking, however, some elements of our "marketing" plan are likely to be:

The stability and existing strength of UIA's technical solution is critical to this strategy. The confidence that the technical backend is functioning smoothly will allow us to focus our immediate attention on the important process of information gathering and outreach. Furthermore, by using an existing backend infrastructure, UIA can confidently offer registry services at the highest QOS levels without putting the financial burden of establishing an infrastructure in the fees paid by the registrants. In fact, UIA has committed to providing a portion of the registry fee towards the goal of helping disadvantaged portions of the community in creating web presence and will also look at using surplus funds to reduce web fees, when and where this is appropriate.

Stimulating Competition

The transition of the role of Registry Operator is the principle means of stimulating competition at the Registry level. UIA brings a completely new player into the TLD registry family. The UIA team maintains that if awarded the contract to become the Registry Operator for the .org TLD, that its selection by ICANN would prompt further innovation by other registry operators. The Registry Operator, not the backend technical provider, will drive innovation.

UIA will ensure that the .org community benefits from a competitive process in determining the best teaming arrangements in providing registry and non-registry services that assist not-for-profit organizations with enhancing their online presence and that help them establish greater credibility with members of the Internet community. Additionally, UIA provides a proven ability to solicit feedback and input from the civil society/non-profit community, which will be invaluable in cataloguing the most critical needs of the community, and communicating the availability of services to address these needs.

.org is not being built from scratch, and is so large and important that only large existing registry managers of high technical capability can be entrusted to maintain it. To increase competition over the life of this contract UIA proposes to open competition for a changeover in the provision of technical (backend) registry services at the end of 2005 and, other things being equal, will make a choice which increases the level of competition in this area and, ideally, would select a non-profit provider.

Commitment to Policy

Given its knowledge of the civil society sector, UIA is extremely well positioned to decide how to ensure broad input from the .org community into policy affairs. UIA also has the opportunity to use its current registry of 40,000 organizations to solicit views and better put into practice through its policies the requirements of this community vis-à-vis the .org domain and various tailored enhanced services. As a means of further ensuring representation and participation of the civil society/non-profit community in ICANN processes, UIA will pay up to $20,000 per year to cover the Non-commercial Domain Name Holders Constituency (NCDNHC) dues for the ICANN Domain Name Supporting Organization (DNSO). The intent of this offer is to facilitate participation by non-commercial organizations that have limited funds. Also, UIA will use its resources to assist the NCDNHC in expanding its membership by encouraging non-commercial .org domain name registrants to join the NCDNHC and by assisting in the validation of NCDNHC members as possible. If ICANN reform efforts result in an organizational change in which there is no longer a DNSO and/or NCDNHC, UIA would be willing to assist in similar ways to support the same objectives within the reorganised ICANN.

On specific matters, it is our view that the top priorities for Internet service provision for virtually all non-commercial sector registrants are a favourable price, convenient and sensitive retailing, and service security and reliability. We intend to keep policy-making concerned with these "essential service priorities" as simple and separated as much as possible from other more debatable policy issues that demand a higher degree of community input.

We have explored several possible operating structures and have not yet committed to any single one. We feel this requires more research and discussion than can be done in the time now available. UIA guarantees using a highly competent team to set up Diversitas as an independent non-profit organization with both a Board of Directors and Advisory Council composed of key people and organizations representing broad segments of the civil society. An expert Technical Advisory Council will also be formed.

The Unique Value UIA Provides

ICANN has articulated a comprehensive set of criteria for choosing the next Registry Operator. The UIA Team is fully prepared to meet those needs, specifically highlighting:

The unique qualities of the UIA Team provide not only the ability to execute on this approach, but by their knowledge and experience in these areas bring significant value propositions for all stakeholders in the .org TLD.

Stakeholder Benefit of UIA Bid
  • Ensured uninterrupted service
  • Provides highest levels of QoS for global resolution
  • Enhanced services tailored for segments of the civil society community
  • Feedback and input in TLD management through trusted and experienced entity
  • Contribution toward the dues of the Non-commercial Domain Name Holders Constituency
  • Continued technical support of TLD, allowing for immediate focus on registrant needs
  • Insight and perspective of a new type of organization in TLD management
  • Global diversification of TLD management
  • Increased representation within the NCDNHC as a result of dues contribution
  • No immediate changes to technical interface with .org registry
  • Continue to receive highest level QoS for customer service, billing, and technical support
  • New revenue opportunity through tailored enhanced service packages
  • Transition to EPP for .org synchronised with transition for .com and .net
  • Utmost technical support for TLD, ensuring .org names resolve
  • Improved understanding of TLD through focused positioning
  • Validation and authentication of civil society on the web


In conclusion, the UIA Team provides a solution to the operation of the .org TLD rich with technical expertise and real-world understanding of the community that ICANN aims to reach by focusing and differentiating the TLD. By ensuring that the necessary infrastructure continues to provide uninterrupted service for registrars, registrants, and Internet users alike, the expertise of UIA can more immediately be applied to the significant challenges that lay ahead in addressing the civil society/non-profit community. UIA looks forward to working with ICANN towards this goal, and bringing to bear its significant experience in cataloguing the community and its work to the betterment of the .org TLD as a resource to strengthen the community and help its individual members achieve their goals.

Selection Criteria UIA Team Response
Provides for the stability and functioning of the .org TLD
  • Facilities and systems to support .org in place and operational
  • Technical solution proven in managing TLD of this scale
Ability to comply with ICANN-developed policies
  • Establishing a Board of Directors and a Policy Council representing the broad segments of civil society
  • UIA Team ready to employ proven practices toward compliance with ICANN policy
Enhancement of competition for registration services
  • Reinvigorate competition through provisioning of enhanced services through the best available teaming arrangements
  • Plan to re-compete the technical operations of the .org TLD in three years
Differentiation of the .org TLD from those intended for commercial purposes
  • Unparalleled understanding of civil society and their current use of TLDs
  • Ability to execute a highly targeted marketing campaign 
Inclusion of mechanisms for promoting the registry's operation in a manner that is responsive to the needs, concerns, and views of the non-commercial Internet user society
  • Unique experience in the process of information gathering from civil society including decades of survey experience 
  • Deep understanding of the community as a starting point for development of mechanisms
Level of support for the proposal from .org registrants
  • Letters of support from key members of civil society included in Appendix F
  • Implicit support of the more than 40,000 organizations 
Type, quality, and cost of the registry services proposed
  • Enhanced services based on acknowledged needs of the community to provide the greatest value 
  • Ensured quality of service through use of proven systems and infrastructure
Ability and commitment to support, function in, and adapt protocol changes in the shared registry system
  • Comprehensive plan for the adoption of EPP
  • Wealth of experience in contributing to the development and implementation of new policy
Transition considerations
  • Assurance of no interruption to technical operation
  • Arrangements with current .org Registry Operator for transition 
  • Provide data to ICANN for evaluation of transition
Ability to meet and commitment to comply with the qualification and use requirements of the VeriSign endowment and proposed use of the endowment
  • Qualifications as a non-profit organization
  •  Plans to use the endowment to support the operational mission of Diversitas

Table of Contents

Application Transmittal Form

Fitness Disclosure

Executive Summary

  1. General Information about the Applicant

C2.   The full legal name, principal address, telephone and fax numbers, and e-mail address of the applicant, and the URL of its principal world wide web site.
C3. A general description of the applicant's business and other activities.
C4. The applicant's type of entity (e.g., corporation, partnership, etc.) and law (e.g., Denmark) under which it is organized
C5. Dun & Bradstreet D-U-N-S Number (if any) of the applicant.
C6. The number of employees currently employed by the applicant.
C7. The applicant's total revenue (in US dollars) in the last-ended fiscal year.
C8. Full names and positions of (i) all directors, (ii) all officers, (iii) all relevant managers, and (iv) any persons or entities owning five percent or more of the applicant.
C9. Provide the name, telephone and fax number, and e-mail address of person to contact for additional information regarding this application.
C10. Intentionally omitted.
  1. Statement of Capabilities of the Applicant and Contracted Service Providers
C11.  As stated in the Criteria for Assessing Proposals, "ICANN's first priority is to preserve the stability of the Internet" and "ICANN will place significant emphasis on the demonstrated ability of the applicant or a member of the proposing team to operate a TLD registry of significant scale in a manner that provides affordable services with a high degree of service responsiveness and reliability." This section of the .org Proposal offers the applicant the opportunity to demonstrate its ability to operate the .org registry in that manner.
C12. State whether the applicant intends to perform all aspects of the Registry Function, or whether the applicant intends to outsource some or all aspects of the Registry Function to other entities that will provide services or facilities under contract with the applicant.
C13. Identify by name each entity other than the applicant.
C13.1. The full legal name, principal address, telephone and fax numbers, and e-mail address of the entity, and the URL of its principal world wide web site.
C13.2. A general description of the entity's business and other activities.
C13.3. The entity's type (e.g., corporation, partnership, etc.) and law (e.g., Denmark) under which it is organized.
C13.4. Dun & Bradstreet D-U-N-S Number (if any) of the entity.
C13.5. The number of employees currently employed by the entity.
C13.6. The entity's total revenue (in US dollars) in the last-ended fiscal year.
C14. For each entity, please state the scope and terms of the contract under which the facilities or services will be provided and attach documentary evidence that the entity has committed to enter into that contract.
C15. Describe in detail the abilities of the applicant and the entities to operate a TLD registry of significant scale in a manner that provides affordable services with a high degree of service responsiveness and reliability.
  1. Technical Plan (Including Transition Plan)
C16. The third section of the .org Proposal is a description of your technical plan. This section must include a comprehensive, professional-quality technical plan that provides a full description of the proposed technical solution for transitioning and operating all aspects of the Registry Function. The topics listed below are representative of the type of subjects that will be covered in the technical plan section of the .org Proposal.
C17. Technical plan for performing the Registry Function.
C17.1. General description of proposed facilities and systems.
C17.2. Registry-registrar model and protocol.
C17.3. Database capabilities.
C17.4. Zone file generation.
C17.5. Zone file distribution and publication.
C17.6. Billing and collection systems.
C17.7. Data escrow and backup.
C17.8. Publicly accessible look up/Whois service.
C17.9. System security.
C17.10. Peak capacities.
C17.11. Technical and other support.
C17.12. Compliance with specifications.
C17.13. System reliability.
C17.14. System outage prevention.
C17.15. System recovery procedures.
C17.16. Registry failure provisions.
C18. Transition Plan.
C18.1. Steps of the proposed transition, including sequencing and scheduling.
C18.2. The duration and extent of any interruption of any part of the Registry Function.
C18.3. Contingency plans in the event any part of the proposed transition does not proceed as planned.
C18.4. The effect of the transition on (a) .org registrants and (b) Internet users seeking to resolve .org domain names.
C18.5. The specifics of cooperation required from VeriSign, Inc.
C18.6. Any relevant experience of the applicant and the entities identified in item C13 in performing similar transitions.
C18.7. Any proposed criteria for the evaluation of the success of the transition.
C19. Please describe in detail mechanisms that you propose to implement to ensure compliance with ICANN-developed policies and the requirements of the registry agreement.
  1. Provisions for Equivalent Access by Accredited Registrars
C21. Describe in detail your proposed methods of providing registry services on an equivalent basis to all accredited registrars having registry-registrar agreements in effect.
C22.   Provide a detailed description of your plan for supporting RRP at the time of transition, for supporting EPP within the required time frame, and for providing registrars with a smooth, low-cost migration path from RRP to EPP.
C23. Intentionally omitted.
C24. Intentionally omitted.
  1. Proposed Registry Services
C25.   Describe each Registry Service that you propose to provide for a fee.
C26. State the maximum price you propose for each Registry Service identified in item C25.
C27. Describe each Registry Service that you propose to provide without charging a fee.
C28. Describe the technical performance (including quality-of-service commitments) you propose to make.
C29. Intentionally omitted.
  1. Enhancement of Competition
C31.   Give your analysis of how selecting your application would affect competition in the provision of registration services at both the registry and registrar level.
C32. State whether the applicant or any entity operates a DNS registry having more than 500,000 registered names and, if so, provide details.
C33. Describe in detail all affiliations, including direct or indirect ownership and contractual arrangements (including letters of intent) for the past, present, or future provision of registry services, between (a) the applicant or any entity and (b) any operator of a DNS registry having more than 500,000 registered names.
C34. Intentionally omitted.
  1. Responsiveness to the Noncommercial Internet Use Community
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 of its diversity as possible.
C36. Submit any evidence that demonstrates support for your proposal among registrants in the .org TLD, particularly those actually using .org domain names for noncommercial purposes.
C37. Intentionally omitted.
  1. Differentiation of the .org TLD
C38.   Describe any measures you propose to make to differentiate the .org TLD from TLDs intended for commercial purposes.
C39. Intentionally omitted.
  1. The VeriSign Endowment
C41. Do you propose to seek to qualify to receive any funds from this endowment?
C41.1. If so, describe in detail how you propose to use this endowment.
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.
  1. Supporting Documentation
C50. The following documentation should be provided in support of your .org Proposal:
C50.1.   Organizational documents of applicant.
C50.2. Organizational documents of certain other entities.
C50.3. Business references.
C50.4. Annual reports.
C50.5. Evidence of commitment.
C50.6. Evidence of community support.


A. Curriculum Vitae for UIA Management
B. Curriculum Vitae for VGRS Technical Management
C. Performance Specification
D. Indication of Long-term Pattern of Support for UIA
E UIA and VeriSign Teaming Agreement
F. UIA Letters of Support
G. Visual Tools
Signature Page