Differentiation of the .ORG TLD
Section VIII Differentiation of the .ORG TLD
As one of the original domains established on the Internet, .ORG enjoys high awareness in its strongest markets and is already known as the most likely home of non-commercial entities on the Internet. However, .ORG has been limited geographically and by a lack of marketing support, which, combined with the recent introductions of competing TLDs, have contributed to its current weak registration performance.
In this section, we will review both primary and secondary research to show that, while currently weak, .ORG has tremendous potential in three areas:
To drive this growth, we propose a complete marketing and public relations program that will create a sustainable competitive advantage for .ORG through:
ISOC's experience as a respected member of the non-commercial community and its deep understanding of the market on a global basis provide a strong platform on which to revitalize .ORG and help it attain its true potential. .
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.
Overview: No business can be revitalized without knowledge of both the franchise and its key markets. In this section, the Situation Analysis identifies the challenges and opportunities faced by this declining domain. The Market Analysis then explores .ORG's US-centric base, reviews new .ORG usage and attitude research, analyzes Internet usage trends among non-commercial organizations, and summarizes growth opportunities. Audience Segmentation identifies the highest-potential segments to pursue for growth. With this foundation, the Strategy and Integrated Marketing Communications sections present a powerful plan to capitalize on the opportunities.
Situation Analysis provides some historical perspective on .ORG and identifies the non-commercial sector as a growth segment.
.ORG, one of the original six top-level domains (along with .COM, .NET, .GOV, .EDU and .ARPA), was created in 1984 by Jon Postel as part of the initial deployment of the DNS.
Contrary to popular belief, .ORG was not initially created with a charter to serve the not-for-profit community and similar organizations. Rather, it was created as an over-arching domain that would serve as a catchall for registrations that did not properly belong in one of the other TLDs. The original RFC that led to the creation of .ORG stated, "There are no geographical, topological, or technological constraints on a domain." Even given this vague initial charter, the first registration under this domain was actually completed on behalf of a not-for-profit organization, mitre.org. This registration set the pace for the majority of future registrations, and over time the .ORG TLD has become associated with noncommercial entities. .ORG soared on the coattails of .COM during the Internet boom. .ORG became a generic TLD that was often registered as a supplement or alternative to .COM. Registrars even offered free, promotional .ORG registrations as they attempted to bolster their total registration figures. During the boom, .ORG grew to more than three million registrations. As the Internet bubble burst, and as promotional registrations expired, .ORG's numbers plummeted. As of April 2002, the .ORG zone file contained about 2.35 million registrations.
Second, there are some not-for-profits, such as the Red Cross, that have used Internet strategies to effectively serve their missions. As more Internet users come online and the public in general becomes even more Internet-savvy, the staffs of not-for-profit organizations are increasingly amenable to adopting Internet strategies. Not-for-profit organizations therefore need to be educated, and given resources will increase their use of the Internet.
Finally, while there is some recognition by Americans that .ORG was designed for non-commercial entities; there is no unified global brand. This lack of branding will enable the next registry operator to develop the existing North American recognition into global awareness and one powerful brand.
This Market Analysis reviews .ORG's US-centric registrant base, presents recent research, and demonstrates the growth opportunities as more non-commercial entities adopt the Internet.
In order to properly develop a global marketing and public relations plan to differentiate .ORG, it is necessary to fully understand the customer base and current use of the domain.
The following market analysis review first examines the current customer base to fully understand the success and global penetration of .ORG registrations to date. Second, it examines how the Internet public views .ORG, with the goal of developing brand positioning and understanding the choices and market forces operating behind the purchase of .ORG names. Third, it discusses the current use of Web sites by organizations in top markets worldwide in order to understand the current limitations and challenges that .ORG will face.
Finally, the market analysis outlines the key areas for potential growth, which will help focus the execution elements of our differentiation plan.
It is important to note that the research outlined within the market analysis is of sub-groups that make up the non-commercial sector and may not represent the entire scope of the non-commercial market in their respective regions.
The applicant's type of entity (e.g., corporation, partnership, etc.) and law (e.g., Denmark) under which it is organized. Please state whether the applicant is for-profit or non-profit. If it is non-profit, please provide a detailed statement of its mission.
According to research by Zook Consulting, as of April 14, 2002, there were 2,372,801 names registered in the .ORG gTLD worldwide. The breakdown of worldwide registrations shows that .ORG is a US-centered TLD, with 60% of registrations concentrated in the US. The roughly 1 million remaining names are dispersed unevenly throughout the remainder of the world.
There is a strong variation between registrations in the US and any other market. The second-largest market is Germany, with only 10% of the total US registrations, or 6% of the worldwide base. The United Kingdom is third, again with about 6% of the worldwide registrations.
This geographic split of .ORG registrations roughly follows the pattern for gTLD registration worldwide. With the US leading in gTLD registrations, and Germany and the United Kingdom following as top markets for ccTLD registrations, these three regions constitute the top markets for potential .ORG registrations.
Following Germany and the UK, it appears that the remainder of North America and Western Europe can also be important markets for .ORG registrations given the current penetration of domain names that exist at the ccTLD level.
In May of 2002, a study was completed with PKS Research Partners that examined American Internet users' (the primary users and registrants of .ORG domain names) current perceptions of .ORG.
The sample for this survey consisted of 1,000 completed telephone interviews, comprised of male and female adults, in their proper proportion to the population of the United States, who had Internet access either at home or work.
Due to the sample size, the findings of this survey are both reliable and valid.
In general, the great majority of Internet users (79%) are aware of .ORG. Awareness is fairly consistent between genders, with slightly higher awareness among women (82%) verses men (76%).
Awareness of .ORG is also fairly consistent among age groups, although interestingly, awareness levels drops significantly in the 65-and-over age group. This is perhaps consistent with an increased awareness of Internet issues in general among younger age groups.
Awareness of .ORG was far greater than awareness of any of the new generic top-level domains (gTLDs) and even higher than .NET. This indicates that .ORG already has a wide user base and strong brand awareness among the Internet public.
Awareness also varies with income level. Those with higher income (US$40,000 and over) were more likely to be aware of .ORG. This might be because these groups are more likely to make charitable contributions to noncommercial organizations.
When asked which type of Web site they would visit for information on non-commercial entities, Internet users' number one pick was .ORG (46%). This was followed closely by .COM (44%) and then by .INFO (20%). This finding indicates that .ORG has already developed a strong market niche among American Internet users and is strongly perceived as being the home of non-commercial entities on the Internet.
It is also interesting to note that those with higher income levels (US$50,000 and over) were more likely to select .ORG as the type of Web site for information on non-commercial entities. This indicates potential exposure to prior fundraising promotions by nonprofits.
It is also interesting to note that those with higher income levels (US$50,000 and over) were more likely to select .ORG as the type of Web site for information on non-commercial entities. This indicates potential exposure to prior fundraising promotions by nonprofits.
55% of Internet users visit a .ORG site every month. Of those Internet users surveyed, 11% visit a .ORG site daily, 21% once per week, and 22% once per month.
The frequency of visits is again higher among the higher income brackets. Those in the US$75,000 and over income bracket had a higher propensity to visit a .ORG site more frequently, with 18% visiting daily and 26% visiting weekly.
About 70% of Internet users expect to find non-commercial information at a .ORG site. Of those surveyed, 52% expected to find information about charities, cultural or civic groups; 50% expected to find information about religious or educational groups; and 49% expected to find information about advocacy groups such as Mothers Against Drunk Driving or the Audubon Society.
Those in the higher income ranges were also more likely to expect to find non-commercial information at .ORG sites. Of those in the US$75,000 and over bracket, 62% expected to find information about charities, 56% expected to find religious or educational groups, and 51% expected to find advocacy groups.
In 1998, there were 1.2 million nonprofit organizations in the US, including 734,000 501(c)(3), 140,000 501(c)(4) and 345,000 religious congregations. Together they employed about 7.1% of the American workforce.1 Given the average percentage growth indicated by data published in the Independent Sector's 2001 New Nonprofit Almanac, for 2002 there should be approximately 1,352,400 nonprofit organizations in the US.
In 2001, it was estimated that some 10% of nonprofits in the US had Web sites and that this number would continue to grow at about 12% per annum.2 Given this projected growth, it is likely that 22% of US nonprofits currently have Web sites. Despite this growth, however, many organizations have been criticized for offering nothing more than static representations of their offline marketing materials.
According to a survey of 500 US nonprofits by the faculty at Indiana Center on Philanthropy in the winter of 2000-2001, most nonprofit Web sites appear to be designed with the purpose of enhancing awareness, providing information, or facilitating access to the organization's programs or services. The majority of the sites examined under the survey seem to stimulate only one-way communication, and even fewer were designed to gather information from visitors to facilitate subsequent contact and/or marketing.3
This study also identified the cost of developing Web sites as a potential barrier to the growth of Web site use by nonprofit organizations. The mean cost of the Web site's original development was US$15,804.74, with a standard deviation of US$37,736.40, indicating a wide spread in responses attributed to a few organizations that had extremely high costs. Given this, the median figure (or US$3,000) is probably a more accurate reflection of average costs.4
Those surveyed appeared evenly divided between those that utilize an agency for the development of their site and those that elected to undertake the design in-house (45% agency vs. 55% in-house). Even though the use of volunteers and/or staff from the commercial sector complicate the calculation of in-house involvement in site development, the study found that the mean cost for in-house development was US$7,807 and the mean agency cost was US$22,659.5
For nonprofits that designed their Web sites in-house, the primary department responsible for the development of the organization's Web site was the Communications Department.
Given that the Communications Department is the primary internal department most often responsible for Web sites, it is perhaps not surprising that nonprofits are making significant efforts to promote their sites as well. Close to 93% of US nonprofits surveyed are actively promoting their Web sites through generic communications materials such as annual reports and promotional materials. Interestingly, more than one in five of those surveyed have developed some form of link or partnership with an ISP.6
Given that nonprofits are making significant efforts to promote their sites, respondents were also asked which of their fundraising campaigns generated the most online response. Of these, the most popular was the annual fundraising campaign, at 61.9%.7 The statistics below reveal that nonprofits tend to only drive users to their home page or to the donation portion of their sites. Surprisingly, they do not have nearly as much success using their sites to promote specific events or initiatives other than charitable giving.
In the end, the majority of nonprofits do not seem to have advanced Web sites that can help them adapt and respond to their constituents on a regular, ongoing basis.
Only 11.5% of respondents offered cookies on their Web sites, suggesting that few nonprofits are able to personalize their sites to suit the interests and information needs of their visitors.8
10.5% of respondents indicated that they were able to monitor the profiles of individuals visiting the sites to facilitate downstream marketing or fundraising efforts, and only 7.3% reported a link between their site and their traditional supporter database. Those organizations indicating that such a link existed reported higher amounts raised over the past year than those without a link. Those organizations with a link to their traditional supporter database were also more optimistic about the future performance of their fundraising efforts.9
In conclusion, it is clear that a lack of staff and capital resources has in general hindered the development of adequate Web sites by US nonprofits -- the largest nonprofit community in the world.
ICharities in the UK are a large market. In March 2002, there were 161,333 "main" charities (not subsidiaries or branches of other charities) registered with the Charity Commission of England and Wales.10
The Center for Voluntary Sector Policy at University College in London estimates that there are between 300,000 and 500,000 voluntary and community organizations in the UK, of which 185,000 are registered charities.11 This number is consistent with the 2001 data from the Charity Commission of England and Wales, which notes 188,116 charities, of which 160,778 were "main" charities.12
In 1999, UK charities received £5 billion (US$ 7.5 billion), £4 billion of which (US $6 billion) was contributed by individuals. (Compared to US charities, which raised US$190 billion, US$144 billion of which was contributed by individuals.) It is estimated that just over 1% of these funds were raised over the Internet.13
According to the Charity Commission of England and Wales, the majority of registered charities have an income of £10,000 (US$15,000) or less. Approximately 6% of the charities receive 89% of the total annual income, and the largest 24% receives over 43% of the total income.14 This indicates a significant lack of capital resources for the development of most charity Web sites.
The London Business School confirms that charities in the UK have embraced the Internet and e-commerce more slowly than corporations, and most are currently using the Web strictly as a marketing tool-attempting to reach donors and providing in-depth information while increasing awareness. Only a few use the Internet to raise funds and interact with stakeholders.15
About 175,000 nonprofit organizations exist in Canada, more than 77,000 of which are registered charities.16
According to a 2001 study by Leverus, a Web site design and development company focused on solutions for nonprofits, most Canadian nonprofits (87%) have had their Web sites for more than three years and many are now moving to what Leverus has termed "second generation" Web sites that embrace a greater degree of functionality.17
56% of associations use external sources to build or maintain their Internet-presences.18 This percentage is slightly higher than the 45% of nonprofits in the US that utilize agencies to develop their Web sites.
46% of Leverus' respondents spend more than CA$10,000 (US$6,500) annually on their Web sites and other Internet related expenses, while 22% spend more than CA$30,000 (US$19,500) annually.19 This is roughly comparable to costs in the US, where the mean cost for in-house development was US$7,807 and the mean agency cost was US$22,659.
68% of respondents estimate that more than 50% of their membership has access to the Internet and 46% estimate than more than 75% of their membership is online. However only 37% of respondents reported that 50% of their constituents communicate with the association via the Internet.20 As in the US and UK, this indicates a lack of resources devoted to more functional and interactive Web sites.
This conclusion is further supported by the functionality of and materials available on Canadian nonprofit Web sites.
The overall .ORG market has been on the decline since October 2001, with accelerating losses in registrations beginning in December 2001. This sharp decline appears to mirror the decline in the .NET domain. (However .NET domains appear to be declining slightly faster than .ORG at the present time.)
The promotional domains that were given away in .ORG and .NET in 1999 and 2000 have been expiring and are a factor in this decline. The introduction of new gTLDs in 2001 and 2002 are also a factor.
While the number of registered .ORG domain names continues to decline, the overall nonprofit sector is expanding. If the worldwide nonprofit sector as a whole, even excluding religious congregations, was a separate national economy it would be the 8th largest economy in the world at $1.1 trillion.21
According to research published in 2000 by the Johns Hopkins Comparative Nonprofit Sector Project, in recent years the growth of the nonprofit sector has outpaced the overall growth of employment in corresponding countries by nearly three to one.22
Growth was even stronger in Europe than elsewhere - nonprofit employment expanded by an average of 24% in France, Germany, the Netherlands and the UK, thus accounting for 40% of the total employment growth in Europe (3.8 million new FTE jobs). Nonprofit growth was larger in Western Europe, than from the overall average, as it experienced a 38% increase in employment, accounting alone for 11% of the 40% nonprofit job growth in Europe.23
Moreover, the growth in nonprofit employment was made possible chiefly by a substantial increase in fee income by nonprofits, accounting for 52% of the real growth in nonprofit income.24
The Internet can provide nonprofits with the tools to raise greater funds, and more efficiently. The opportunity therefore exists to reverse falling .ORG registrations by stimulating interest in the markets where nonprofits are healthy and growing.
Working papers by the Johns Hopkins Comparative Nonprofit Sector Project also note that growth of the nonprofit sector in countries around the world will vary with the "social origin" of the nonprofit sector as a whole.25
Thus, while the US will still remain number one in .ORG registrations due to the sheer size of its nonprofit sector, the markets within Western Europe where there are also a large amount of .ORG registrations would therefore serve as the best secondary markets for .ORG registrations.
Audience Segmentation illustrates which segments are the largest and hold the greatest potential.
From our market analysis above we have identified that marketing and outreach efforts should be focused on the following markets:
While executing a marketing/PR plan within these regions, however, it becomes important to identify the "kinds" of nonprofit organizations that are the most prevalent in order to develop appropriate strategies.
On average, two-thirds of all nonprofit paid employment is concentrated in the three traditional fields of welfare service: education (30%), health (20%), and social services (18%), but this does vary by country and region.26
Education, health, and social services account for 73% of total nonprofit paid employment in Western Europe. In other developed countries (Japan, US, Israel, and Australia), health is by far the largest component of the nonprofit sector.27
However, this pattern shifts when volunteer time is factored in. Nearly 55% of volunteer time is devoted to two principle fields: recreation and sports, and social services.28
By far, the most advanced nonprofit sector is in Western Europe. This region's nonprofit sector is primarily focused in welfare services. On average, three-fourths of all nonprofit employees are in education, health, or social services. With volunteers included, the welfare services share of total nonprofit employment declines from 77% to 62%, while the culture and recreation share increases from 10% to 19%, and the environment/civic and advocacy share increases from 3.3% to 6.1%.29
In the United States and Japan, the major area of nonprofit employment is the health field, followed closely by education. Interestingly, nearly 40% of the volunteer activity that takes place in the US flows to the social services area, and another 10% to civic and advocacy.30
Within its research the Johns Hopkins Comparative Nonprofit Sector Project clarifies this change in employment by identifying the dominant non-profit sector (which they term as "model") within each country.
Since we have clearly identified that the markets above have the highest growth potential for .ORG registrations, when executing the marketing and public relations plan we should tailor the types of materials, venues, locations, trade media, and other associated items to focus within the given country.
The domain name market is currently crowded due to the recent introduction of new gTLDs, while overall sales are retracting due to the expiration of promotional and speculative names purchased over the past several years.
In order to effectively grow the .ORG domain it is necessary to differentiate it first by enhancing the awareness that .ORG has already created among its current user base, and second by fostering the brand by raising awareness and educating potential registrants to drive sales within markets that are prime for domain registrations and nonprofit growth.
Given the knowledge from PIR's market analysis, we believe that .ORG has already attained a significant level of branding within its largest and most profitable market - the United States. There is a lack of research specifically regarding the adoption of .ORG outside the US, and relatively minimal .ORG registrations in those markets. It is therefore not possible to quantify .ORG's international brand positioning and awareness levels.
It is possible, however, to gauge the current domain registration market and the countries with the strongest nonprofit sectors. This reveals a list of key markets where noncommercial entities are using the Internet and thus contain the target markets for marketing and public relations efforts.
Combining .ORG's existing awareness in the US with its potential in budding markets, PIR's communications strategy to differentiate .ORG within the worldwide domain name market place, will be based on outreach to tap non-commercial groups directly at the point of purchase.
PIR's overarching strategy is to establish .ORG's brand recognition worldwide as the Internet home of non-commercial entities.
Given that only 46% of American Internet users definitively perceive .ORG as the place to find information about non-commercial organizations, there is still a lack of branding and awareness even in the US, .ORG's largest market. This finding leads us to two additional strategies that will further serve to support the establishment of .ORG as the home of non-commercial entities on the Internet:
To minimize defensive and duplicative registrations that arise from a new marketing initiative, it is necessary to develop an approach for executing the above strategies that will seek to target the appropriate audience segment without drawing attention from the speculative and Intellectual Property (IP) audiences.
Adopting strategies to police the TLD or instituting changes to the existing dispute resolution processes are not viable options that would allow for .ORG to remain an open and desirable home for all non-commercial entities. Additional trademark and/or registration restrictions on the domain would serve to disenfranchise the myriad of non-commercial entities already present within .ORG. Further, the adoption of re-launch periods such as a Sunrise Period would serve to draw unnecessary attention from the IP community as well as speculators.
Instead, PIR believes that the appropriate mechanism for minimizing speculative or defensive registrations is to focus our outreach on a limited target: non-commercial entities not yet on the Internet. This has the dual benefits of efficiency and effectiveness while avoiding the disadvantages of disenfranchising some existing customers. By reaching out to educate these organizations and demonstrating the need for domain names, we believe we can stimulate quality growth while minimizing low quality registrations.
PIR's strategies will be executed through an integrated marketing communications program that combines public relations campaigns that educate and drive awareness with global sales and marketing support for the distribution channel (registrars and resellers).
This program will be created to ensure PIR's success and ongoing viability. As such, the level of expenditures for both marketing and public relations initiatives will be based on actual realized revenue. The actual budget adopted by PIR for the first year program is expected to be in line with current economic conditions, and will take into account projected annual revenue and actual renewals that begin once the registry has changed hands. This is a fiscally sound and responsible approach.
PIR's market analysis revealed that the majority of non-commercial organizations are behind other industries in adopting Internet technologies. Given the limited budgets and resources of non-commercial organizations, a lack of capital and adequate staff support prevent these organizations from executing fully.
Therefore the communications program designed to grow .ORG sales should serve to educate and empower the noncommercial organization community to utilize the Internet for their own growth.
To do this, PIR's strategy will be realized through parallel waves of activity both within the channel and public relations support that drives education among the nonprofit trade community, first concentrating on the primary market (North America), and then expanding to the secondary global markets. It is not suggested to implement a broad advertising or marketing effort directly by the registry. The launches of both .BIZ and .INFO last year demonstrated that large media purchases are economically unsustainable.
Activities executed within the marketing and PR programs will seek to personally educate and empower key leaders within non-commercial organizations and the decision makers of that organization's Internet strategy. For instance, media relations activity will focus on non-commercial trade media outreach, focused seminars will be used rather than broad whole-market launch events, and the distribution channel will be empowered with market research and materials that will allow them to target registrants smartly and directly rather than through broad-based mass marketing efforts typically used by resellers and registrars.
This approach will serve to execute the educational goals of this campaign, while limiting the broad media awareness that would drive speculative registrations.
From PIR's market analysis we know that Western Europe, specifically
the Netherlands, UK, Germany, and France, constitute the most likely secondary
markets for .ORG. Given that .ORG registrations are currently higher within
Germany and the UK, PIR's approach will be to concentrate first on these
two markets within Western Europe. The remainder of the markets in Western
Europe in addition to Japan will then follow.
The objectives of the .ORG marketing communications program are to capitalize on the growth potential noted in the Situational and Market Analyses presented above. Specifically, our goals are to improve the penetration of .ORG among non-commercial entities, tap the growth trends in the segment, and expand .ORG beyond the US to make it a truly global domain. Our overall marketing communications objectives are as follows:
Marketing Communications Objective:
To execute this strategy, we plan extensive activities in two main areas:
As these programs expand geographically, PIR will learn about the relative effectiveness of each part of the program, facilitating improvements as the program unfolds. Success in key markets will fuel expansion to smaller markets that have significant growth potential.
We will measure the effectiveness of the program through the number of registrations, especially relative to the number of non-commercial entities estimated in each geographic region.
The first goal of the marketing communications campaign is to establish the positioning of .ORG in a clear and compelling manner.
In order to achieve long-term success, .ORG must be positioned in a believable, compelling way that capitalizes on its historic strengths while providing an up-to-date and relevant reason to register and use a .ORG site. The positioning must capture .ORG's unique characteristics and clearly set the domain apart from the growing list of competitors. Such positioning will provide a sustainable competitive advantage by enabling .ORG to own a benefit area that is attractive and important to the target audience on a long-term basis.
.ORG sites deliver:
Tradition: join legions of respected colleagues
We know that Internet users consider .ORG to be "the home of non-commercial entities on the Internet" from the research conducted in support of this proposal. In the US research, .ORG is the domain leader (even versus .COM!) among destinations visited for information about non-commercial entities. While originally established as the "all other" domain, .ORG has evolved into the domain of choice for non-commercial entities.
Three important elements provide the audience with a firm "reason to believe":
First is Tradition As one of the original TLDs, .ORG has had the benefit of time to generate awareness and a character among the wide range of Internet users. With more than 2 million registrations, .ORG is one of the world's most popular domains. Hundreds of thousands of non-commercial entities already populate .ORG, providing a solid base of history and a clear "neighborhood" feel that is understood and appreciated by Internet users. By joining these legions of respected colleagues, a non-commercial entity will find itself in good company.
Second is Trust. Trust among its constituents is critical to non-commercial entities. Research shows that .ORG is one of the most trusted domains on the Internet-and is therefore the ideal domain to house a non-commercial's site. By positioning .ORG for non-commercial entities, we expect to extend this "trust" element, further differentiating .ORG from other domains.
The third is Traffic. While no domain can guarantee traffic to an individual site, .ORG is the domain most visited for information on non-commercial entities. Research also shows that more than 50% of Internet users (in the US) visit the .ORG domain at least once per month, with 20% of those visiting daily! Non-commercial entities should locate their sites where their constituents will most likely to look for and find them-the .ORG domain.
In summary, positioning .ORG as the "home of non-commercial entities on the Internet" will build on the domain's strengths, clearly differentiate .ORG from other domains (present or future), and provide a sound conceptual foundation for restoring its vitality and enabling it to reach its full potential worldwide.
The .ORG marketing program will be made up of three main components:
The program will launch first in the US to boost market penetration, and then sequentially across the other key markets we have identified.
The first element in the marketing campaign is to reach out to the non-commercial community to raise awareness and stimulate registrations. This effort will consist primarily of forming alliances with key non-commercial "associations of associations." These organizations exist to support their members across the globe, and they host conventions, trade shows, and other events where members convene to discuss issues. .ORG, with its focus on non-commercial organizations, should support these activities and participate at some level in these events.
Specific support may include the following:
.org Advisory Council
The second element in the marketing campaign is the development and deployment of support materials.
Since TLD economics do not support broad-scale direct marketing by the registries, PIR will provide a wide array of marketing materials designed to support activities by our channel partners, the registrars. These materials provide the dual benefits of: 1) saving registrars from the time, money, and distraction of creating marketing materials for a domain that is only a part of their overall offerings; 2) presenting a clear, compelling, and consistent image and positioning of .ORG to potential registrants and other audiences; 3) educate registrars and resellers on the most effective means to market to the non-commercial community to limit mass-marketing efforts that will only fuel unstable speculative growth.
Campaign Support Materials will include the following:
While some non-commercial entities have robust and sophisticated sites, many remain unfamiliar with how to accomplish their goals on the Internet. These provide an especially attractive target for registrars seeking to sell add-on services such as site development and hosting. Special targeting to non-commercials can therefore contribute to overall industry growth, not just domain name sales.
Banner ad support
Press support material
The third element in the marketing campaign is a channel incentive program.
The registrar channel is complex. Some registrars manage a retail model, selling directly to the end registrant. Others follow a wholesale model, dealing with a reseller team often numbering in the thousands. Some registrars focus on consumers while others specialize in providing corporate sales and intellectual property management services. Some registrars cultivate worldwide sales while others serve particular geographic areas or languages.
The methods they use to drive their businesses are as diverse as the audiences they cater to. Some use direct marketing, employing snail mail, e-mail, and phone solicitation to directly garner new business. Others use broad-based consumer media such as TV and magazines. Others create contests, financial incentives, and other types of programs to influence resellers.
The vast range of business models in operation in the domain industry, coupled with our commitment to treating each registrar equally, lead us to the development of a broadly applicable channel program that is not based on preconceived notions of how the registrar goes to market.Rather, it is based on results delivered to the registry.
Since our key marketing objective is to restore QUALITY GROWTH to the .ORG domain, we plan to focus our channel incentives on increasing quality registrations. Quality registrations are those that result in active sites-not those given away or held for speculative purposes. Simply put, registrars who deliver more growth in quality registrations more will receive more from the registry.
PIR will establish a .ORG Marketing Fund designed to help offset Registrar expense as they support .ORG on their Web site and in marketing efforts. Since each registrar starts from a different total volume level in .ORG, we believe it more equitable if awards are based on changes in registrar volume rather than the absolute level of volume. For example, if two different sized registrars each deliver 5% growth, their award (relative to their size) should be the same. Registrars who effectively promote .ORG, attract quality registrants and help the domain grow will be rewarded proportional to the growth. This is anticipated to be a quarterly program, with awards based on actual results.
The objective is to provide a program that treats all Registrars equally, regardless of whether they employ a direct retail or wholesale model for going to market. With an equal incentive available regardless of the business model, no Registrar should gain a competitive advantage except in their knowledge of what works for them in attracting and serving their target Registrant.
With this Marketing Campaign (Outreach, Campaign Support Materials and a Channel Program) in place, we will focus on the North American market first, pushing to increase penetration of the non-commercial market. Additional growth will be dependant on extending the domain into non-North American markets with significant potential.
As outlined in the Situation and Market Analyses sections above, the key growth markets are expected to be:
For the first year, we will launch in a different market each quarter, coordinating the marketing support with the PR (below) to "blitz" each market.
The goal will be to "reintroduce" .ORG to each undeveloped market. To accomplish this, we will develop joint programs with the key registrars in each area, ensuring universal availability of .ORG names. Materials will be tailored as much as possible to the needs of the market.
As noted earlier, PIR's communications program must serve to educate and empower the non-commercial community to utilize the Internet for their own growth. PIR's public relations efforts will be able to focus on the education portion of this goal, while also serving to generally raise awareness in nascent markets worldwide.
While PIR's overarching strategy is to establish .ORG's brand recognition worldwide as the Internet home of non-commercial entities, its public relations efforts will be governed directly by specific measurable strategies intended to support this overall goal.
PIR's first year public relations efforts will begin with the primary market (North America) and will then continue with launch programs in the previously identified secondary markets around the globe. To execute these programs a mid-sized PR agency in each country/region will be engaged on a project basis.
There will be three key phases to each project:
Phase 2 - Awareness
Phase 3 - Illustration
Media Management and Trade Media Relations
In addition, a target group of non-commercial trade media will be identified and courted for ongoing relationships.
A core set of press materials, specifically reflecting .ORG's benefits statements will be developed for use within all outreach efforts, and as additional support materials for the channel marketing program.
Editorial Calendars and Bylined Opportunities
In addition, an ongoing editorial calendar program within non-commercial trade press will be designed to support additional media coverage over the yearlong program.
Opinion Leader Outreach
PHASE 1: Education
Online resource center
This online resource center will also serve to further core media relations activities and establish additional partnerships with opinion leading organizations.
Research Group Study
PHASE 2: Awareness
PHASE 3: Illustration
In addition to the other aspects of the Advisory Council discussed in Section VII and earlier in the marketing elements of our differentiation plan, Advisory Council meetings can be used as media events, and the products of their work can be used as the subject of news releases that will highlight .ORG and its benefits for the non-commercial sector.
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