18(c) What operating rules will you adopt to eliminate or minimize social costs?
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PIR’s long-standing track record speaks to its core mission to serve the public interest, and thereby minimizing social costs,(e.g. as has been done through PIR’s implementation of anti-abuse policies, the rollout of DNSSEC, active participation in public interest events, and more.) PIR will launch and manage .NGO in a responsible manner befitting the integrity of the NGO Community. Our global outreach in preparation of this application provided direct guidance on the specific needs of the community, concerns on policies, and procedures for registration and pricing. This knowledge is reflected in this application.
Minimizing negative social costs and consequences on registrants and consumers:
PIR’s plan for launching the .NGO gTLD offers a robust, cost-effective means for NGOs to assert their identities online and minimize social costs and consequences. A goal of this name space is to keep impacts and burden to the community nominal, and focus on the positive benefits of having a .NGO domain. PIR is confident our .NGO gTLD domain name registration service, pricing, and related policies do not place burdens on the community, but rather, will support their goals.
NGOs and the NGO Community are particularly vulnerable to social costs issues. Through PIR’s outreach with the NGO Community we are acutely aware that, while some NGOs are well funded many NGOs (e.g., grassroots NGOs) have limited resources be they financial or human. As such, these NGOs cannot bear unanticipated social costs without direct impact on their ability to carry out their respective missions.
In particular, the initial wholesale price per year for registration includes NGO Community verification, which offers NGOs an advantageous and affordable domain where they can build a unique and exclusive presence online. This pricing has been established both through community outreach, as well as through benchmark analysis of comparable community gTLDs and ccTLDs existing today. In such comparison the .NGO registration fee is found to be in the lower end.
PIR’s operating rules will minimize social costs through the eligibility requirements where only NGOs can register the domain name and therefore, eliminating general consumers engaging defensive registration. To address intellectual property concerns, the launch of this gTLD will include participation in a Trademark Clearinghouse Service which jointly with the .NGO Sunrise process will allow eligible NGOs a first chance at registering their organization name.
Finally, as previously discussed, PIR is uniquely positioned to minimize confusion and market misrepresentation. When the .NGO gTLD is delegated, PIR will manage it in such a manner that ensures fairness and competition in the registration of domain names, does not place a financial burden on registrants, and limits market confusion among both registrants and end-users.
Additional measures for minimizing social costs are described in the following subsections.
18c(i): In general, following the initial Sunrise registration processes, registrations will be processed on a first-come, first-served basis. For NGOs that were not able to register the name they preferred and believe such name has been awarded in error to another entity, PIR has developed the .NGO Sunrise Dispute Resolution Policy explained in Evaluation Question #29.
18c(ii): PIR will from time-to-time offer discount⁄rebate programs for .NGO registrations through its distribution channels. The initial wholesale price per year for registration includes NGO Community verification which offers NGOs an advantageous and affordable domain to build a unique and exclusive presence online.
18c(iii): PIR will offer terms of up to 10 years for domain name registrations. Depending on the needs of NGOs and only after consultation with ICANN, PIR may consider offering longer-term contracts. At this time, PIR will not offer permanent contracts.
Depending on the cost of doing business and other economic factors, PIR may from time-to-time increase the wholesale price in accordance with the provisions of Section 2.10 of the new gTLD Registry Agreement.
PIR, as a NGO and nonprofit organization, will carefully consider the needs of the NGO Community as it maintains prices on its services.
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