The rise of the .ORG Community and some extraordinary “World Voices”
It occurred to me when taking over as CEO last July that .ORG has what no other TLD can claim: a real sense of community. True, this is where you can find an awful lot of good content -- but when you look deeper you can glimpse an antidote to the daily news of warfare, and discord, namely, what makes us humane, not just human. Within our community are individuals, organizations and companies all trying to inspire, educate, advocate and generally change the world as we know it.
The challenge is how to tell this story....Often the story is best told first hand or better said – by the community members themselves -- hence, we launched a campaign and series of events under the “World Voices” banner, giving a chance for organizations large and small to share their story, their “voice” so to speak from all over the world. . As part of this campaign we would like to promote diverse expression and various contributions of the global .ORG community. The web does have a mission to inspire and educate along with its other functions!
Our recent events in Berlin and London were part of our “World Voices” campaign. They were attended by .ORG luminaries, previous and current Webby nominees in London, .ORG websites, our registrar partners, bloggers, and the media. Presenters from both events (Wikipedia.org, Greenpeace.org, Netzpolitik.org, Human Rights Watch, hrw.org, Idealist.org, Bundesrepublik.org, VideoLAN.org, OECD.org, and AlertNet.org) were asked to sum up their story and their identity is a series of a few slides that did justice to their cause.
London's Institute of Contemporary Arts was a fitting venue for our April ".ORG coming out party" on April 14 to support the Webby Awards and the People's Voice voting — and the event made a clear statement that the Internet is more than the sum of its technical capabilities, but rather a vibrant, opinionated and motivated collection of individuals and communities of interest. Jake Brewer of Idealist.org and Henrik Steffen of City-Map.org (both .ORG Community guests) were two of our attendees that blogged about the event and their posts can be found here:
The Webby Awards put together a great video to kick off the People's Voice Voting for .ORG too:
While in London I was able to visit one of our global .ORGs, Alertnet.org, an early warning system connected to Reuters, one of the world’s top news agencies. The office is in the Reuters tower in London’s new financial district at Canary Wharf. (The principal competitor to Reuters, the Associated Press, is actually a news cooperative of leading newspapers with the domain name www.AP.org .)
AlertNet is linked to leading humanitarian organizations and international agencies constantly monitoring disasters and the world’s response, offering information and resources about problem solvers as well as problems. Their team, led by Timothy Large, is impressive, knowledgeable and deeply committed. Given the recent events in Myanmar and China, organizations like AlertNet are instrumental. If you don’t have Alertnet.org bookmarked, you should!
The DIHK or Association of German Chambers of Industry and Commerce held our most recent event on Wednesday May 14th in Berlin – with a packed house of our registrar partners (1&1 Internet, InterNetX, and Key-Systems) along with our .ORG Community presenters to create both viral video clips and introduce .ORG as a unique global name and community to the German community. We know that Germany is an Internet leader, and it has Europe’s largest telecommunications market. Web use is higher that the EU average. But more importantly, and perhaps unknown to those outside Germany, it also has a spirit of giving, a history of taking up the environmental causes before anyone took note on our shores and an opinionated and active blogging community.
You can see pictures from the event through our Flickr set here:
At each venue, I went first and introduced .ORG and the company behind it. I explained that the .ORG community was in effect the heart and soul, and perhaps the conscience, of the Internet, and that we had seen some amazing organizations and individuals work tirelessly and unassumingly to inspire, educate or move us to make a difference.
The .ORG site and panelist we all probably use or refer to was Wikipedia.org, represented by Angela Beesley in London and its family member, Wikimedia.org was introduced by Patrick Danowski in Berlin. They explained how this unlikely user-created free encyclopedia is now among the world’s most visited websites. Although Wikipedia.org is a non-profit, the site would be worth an estimated $2 billion on the open market. Yet its “priceless” in terms of the ease of use and rather remarkable accuracy of information -- another testament to the collaborative nature of human beings. The sum of our efforts is greater than the parts.
Taken together, these and all the other presented sites demonstrate the range and uniqueness of these "Extraordinary .ORGS." We at .ORG, The Public Interest Registry, are proud to shine a spotlight on them. We are now engaged in a global effort to promote the .ORG domain, what we stand for, and what we will stand up for in a world where commercialized media has more to sell than to tell.
.ORG is about serving the public interest, not just commercial interests although our sites sometimes offer ecommerce and generate revenue through commercial add-ons.
There is in the world today a growing tension between nationalism and globalism, between our dedication to our own countries and culture and the recognition that globalization has forced us to become more aware of international events and challenges like global warming that affect us all.
The Webby Awards and People’s Voice Choices were announced just prior to our event in Berlin with a RECORD number of .ORGs winning this prestigious award this year with 17 .ORG winners and over 65 nominees . I believe the world is officially recognizing what we all know - .ORG is where people turn to find trustworthy content, collaborate on anything from developing shareware to grassroots campaigns, or simply be inspired.
I believe, the new media has not perhaps entirely replaced the old, but transformed it. It’s extended the power of the few to the many, and in the process up-ended old rules. We now have the opportunity though social networking and other interactive technologies to connect, communicate, AND bring forth results that were previously done by large, exclusive and sometimes self-interested fundraisers and lobbyists. For example, Grassroots campaigners like moveon.org have signed up new voters and pushed our political candidates on issues that were not “sound bites” but substantial. A previous Webby Winner, factcheck.org kept the discourse honest and fact based. And there are thousands more …
The .ORG world has been around since the beginning of the internet and it only now “coming out” with a voice and force on its own. Working with our Internet partners, we are urging organizations to adopt .ORG as one of the many tools they are using to get their voices heard. It is an address and domain of distinction.
I want to give a big thank you to all our registrar partners (1&1 Internet, InterNetX, Key-Systems, and Name.com) for their efforts in promoting our events along with our .ORG Community guests.
I will be blogging regularly on what .ORG is doing and offering. Your input and suggestions for how we can strengthen and grow our community are always welcome.