It’s been an interesting year for Public Interest Registry, the .org operator. For months following the announcement of the proposed takeover by Ethos Capital there was intense debate as to whether it should go ahead. After many months of deliberations, ICANN rejected the takeover and PIR is back to where it was before Ethos made its bid: intent on becoming an even better registry, focussing on quality registrations and growing in its global markets in a more meaningful way.
And recently, on 10 July, was the 35th birthday of .org. This was the day that mitre.org, the first .org domain name, was registered all those years ago. In the intervening 35 years the top-level domain has seen total registrations rise to over 10 million. Today by total registrations it is the seventh largest top-level domain, and third largest generic top-level domain.
.org is the foundation for global philanthropy, connecting communities and inspires, heals, and serves. From doctorswithoutborders.org, or its parent body msf.org (Médecins Sans Frontières), to colorofchange.org, these domains represent a wide breadth of individuals, communities, organisations and non-profits.
How different the organisation is from before and after the takeover process is hard for an outsider to see, but Jon Nevett, CEO of PIR, told me recently PIR is intent on maintaining its transparency with its stakeholders. They’re continuing their focus on abuse, something that has rightly become a focus for the entire domain name industry from ICANN down.
The COVID-19 pandemic has come along, and like many registries, Nevett said PIR has seen an increase in registrations in March and April. Organisations that weren’t online went online while others set up new sites, plus there were some registrations relating to the pandemic. With their focus on abuse, PIR weeded out the abusive domain names. But in the few months since registrations have begun levelling off.
Abuse in the domain name system was a focus of the virtual ICANN68, originally scheduled for Kuala Lumpur but because of the COVID-19 pandemic gripping the world was held entirely online. Domain name abuse and malicious registrations were key discussions in many sessions. For PIR, stopping abuse and malicious registrations through their Anti-Abuse Program remains one of the cornerstones of their work. After all, making .org and its sibling top-level domains .ngo and .ong, safe and free from abuse helps to build trust amongst registrants and internet users, further enhancing the reputation of the TLDs.
Going forward, PIR will also continue to widen the international breadth of .orgs, especially in under-served regions of Africa, Latin and Central America and Southeast Asia. PIR is seeking to increase the reach of the .ORG Community and help even more communities.
An immediate focus of PIR though is their second annual .ORG Impact Awards. Last month PIR put out a Call for Nominations so they can honour the remarkable organisations and individuals making the world a better place that use a .org domain name for their website.
This year with the COVID-19 pandemic precluding much in the way of international travel and large get-togethers not a good idea, PIR will be announcing award winners during a “Ten Days of .ORG,” an online experience beginning on 30 November to celebrate the range of achievements that have healed, inspired, transformed and connected communities over the past year.