Public Interest Registry

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PIR Logo.png
ICANNWiki Bronze Sponsor
Type: Publicly Held
Industry: Internet, Domain registry
Founded: Reston, VA, 2002
Headquarters: 1775 Wiehle Avenue,
Suite 200
Reston, VA 20190
Country: USA
Website: PIR.org
Key People
Brian Cute, CEO
David Maher, Senior VP, Law and Policy
Maarten Botterman, Chairman
Lance Wolak, Director of Marketing and Product Management
Lawrence Martin, Director of Finance and Administration
Nancy Gofus, COO
Kim VanWyngaardt, Executive Administrator
Lauren Price, Product Marketing Manager
Thuy LeDinh, Senior Marketing Communications Manager

Public Interest Registry (PIR) is a generic top-level Domain registry that manages the .org top level domain. The non-profit was established in January, 2003 by the Virginia-based Internet Society (ISOC). PIR was formed to take over the operation and maintenance of the .org domain and its database from Verisign Global Registry Services. The organization has its office in Reston, Virginia.

As of 2012, there are more than 9 million registered .org addresses, which bring in an annual revenue of $65 million. The funds are used for operating costs and technical and organizational maintenance; the remaining funds are donated to ISOC.[1]

The organization is applying for .ngo through ICANN's 2012 new gTLD program.[2]

History

The .org top-level domain was first created in October, 1984 by the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority,[3] as part of its implementation of the RFC 920. Though the RFC limited the scope of the .org domain to non-profit organizations or to organizations of a non-commercial nature, over time the scope of the domain has expanded to include any entity, whether organizational or individual, commercial or non-commercial.

The first .org domain was registered by MITRE Corporation, a non-profit organization providing systems engineering and information technology support to the US government, on July 10, 1985.

On May 25, 2001, ICANN entered into an unsponsored registry agreement with Verisign Inc. for operating the .org domain.[4] This agreement expired on December 31, 2002. A request for proposal was circulated by ICANN on May 20, 2002.[5] The Internet Society was one of the eleven applicants who put in their proposals to become the successor operator.[6] ISOC proposed to set up a separate entity, the "Public Interest Registry", to operate the .org gTLD, with the sole power to appoint its board of directors. As part of the arrangement, PIR would appoint Afilias to handle the full range of back-end registry services on behalf of PIR. The ICANN Board selected PIR as the successor operator to Verisign for managing the .org gTLD on October 14, 2002.[7] Finally, the reins of .org domain came into PIR's control in January, 2003; the agreement was signed for a period of 3 years, expiring December, 2006.

On December 8, 2006, the agreement between ICANN and PIR was renewed for another 6.5 years, and is set to expire on June 30, 2013.[8]

.org has emerged as the third-largest generic top-level domain in the world, as per the bi-annual domain name report published by PIR for January to June 2010.[9]

.org Statistics

A Bi-Annual report on the growth of .org showed that as of late 2011 there were 9.6 million .org registrations. Throughout the 2011 year, .org registrations grew by 9.9%. The renewal rate for the second-half of 2011 was 75.4%.

Registration of .org has consistently grown by 9 -10% annually for the past three years.[10]

Governance

PIR is governed by a Board of Directors who are appointed by ISOC. The board comprises seven members; the current Chairman is Maarten Botterman. The CEO of PIR is an ex-officio board member.

The PIR management team comprises five senior members of the organization from three departments - law and policy, marketing, and finance/operations. Ms. Alexa Raad, the original CEO of PIR, stepped down from the position on September 24, 2010. Mr. Maarten Botterman served as interim CEO until Brian Cute was appointed to the position. The organization presently has eight staff members on its payroll.

Besides the board of directors, PIR also has an advisory council, which was "created to advise on issues ranging from public policy to the introduction of new services". The council comprises members representing a broad spectrum of member organizations around the world. There are fifteen members in the present advisory council, serving a term from 2010 to 2012. The council is further organized into working groups, with mandates to provide project-based analysis and input. There are presently four working groups: IDN, Policy, DNSSEC, and Outreach & Awareness.

Deployment of DNSSEC

In April, 2008, PIR submitted a request to ICANN to amend the .org registry, specifically the function of the registry and the corresponding Whois and DNS systems for the .org gTLD, in order to facilitate the use of "Domain Name System Security Extensions" (DNSSEC) as specified in RFCs 4033, 4034, 4035 and 5155.[11] The ICANN board approved this proposal in June, 2008.[12]

On June 23, 2010, Ms. Alexa Raad, PIR's CEO at that time, announced at an ICANN 38 Brussels press conference that .org has become the first generic top-level domain to offer full deployment of DNSSEC. DNSSEC had become the most robust security protocol on the internet as of 2010, and registrars who have implemented DNSSEC in their system can "offer added security protection to their customers by enabling .org website owners to sign their respective domain name with validation keys."[13]

The benefit of DNSSEC to a .org registrant is the "added ability to thwart the increased predominance of attacks like pharming, cache poisoning, DNS redirection and domain hijacking - all of which have been used to commit fraud, distribute malware and identity theft."[14]

.NGO

PIR announced ahead of the January, 2012 launch of ICANN's new gTLD program that it was planning on applying for .ngo; the PIR iniatiative was a platinum sponsor of ICANN 42 in Dakar.[15] PIR also announced that it had intentions to implement an authentication process that would ensure that all .ngo registrants were actual NGOs, given their frustration with the fact that .org was an open TLD despite its intention for non-profits. A competitive iniative was announced by dotNGO.[16]

Miscellaneous

  • There are 8.5 million domains registered under the .org domain as of end of July, 2010.[17]
  • The gTLD registry celebrated its 25th anniversary of existence in June, 2010 by hosting a birthday bash during Music Night at ICANN 38 Brussels.
  • .org registrations surpassed the growth of .com and .net by posting a percentage growth rate of 7.6% in the period January to July 2010; however, the .info domain beat them all with a growth rate of 20.0%.
  • North America is the largest market for .org domains, making up 64% of .org registrants.

References

  1. Nonprofits May Soon, Philanthropy.com
  2. Home, NGOTLD.org
  3. IANA
  4. .org Registry Agreement
  5. .org Reassignment: Request for Proposals
  6. .org Reassignment: Index to Applications
  7. ICANN Special Meeting of the Board Preliminary Report (14 October 2002)
  8. .org Registry Agreement
  9. PIR's "The Dashboard," January - June, 2010
  10. ORG Public Interest Registry Releases Results of Bi Annual Domain Name Report The Dashboard 2012-2-15, MarketWatch.com
  11. Registrar Survey for DNSSec Deployment in .ORG
  12. ICANN Adopted Board Resolutions (26 June 2008)
  13. PIR's "The Dashboard," January - June, 2010
  14. PIR's "The Dashboard," January - June, 2010
  15. Dakar42, ICANN.org
  16. Nonprofits May Soon Say, Philanthropy.com
  17. PIR's "The Dashboard," January - June, 2010