The Future Looks Bright At PIR Registry: An Interview With CEO Jon Nevett
When I think of legacy TLDs, I consider .ORG to be a leader in having helped set the stage for instilling a deeper meaning to URLs. In a sense, before we were given hundreds of options, .ORG was the first to add a categorical communication to a website address – it tells a story. Knowing that the market is now crowded with options, I began wondering how a legacy TLD, such as .ORG, defines and positions itself to stay top of mind with today’s internet users.
To satisfy my curiosities and dive deeper into the topic, I sat down with PIR’s (Public Interest Registry’s) newly appointed President and CEO, Jon Nevett. News broke of Jon accepting the role in early December 2018 and there has been a keen interest from the industry on how he’ll bring a fresh perspective to lead the registry moving forward. I’m interested to hear his perspective and learn more about .ORG’s current requirements and positioning.
Jon, thanks for taking the time to talk today and congratulations on your role with PIR. From what I know of your previous work, including having co-founded Donuts Registry, PIR is lucky to have you. After having chatted with several of your team members recently at NamesCon, I know they are excited to have you on board and be working with you.
Q: In considering the CEO role at PIR, what was it that most attracted you to the position? Did you see an area of focus you knew you could make large contributions to?
I believe .org to be the crown jewel of the domain name system – not only because of its position as a legacy TLD with true semantic meaning and its reputation supporting social good around the world, but because the organization behind it is also mission-based. So, when the opportunity to be a part of the PIR team became available, I jumped at it. I plan to use my broad DNS experience and industry connections to continue to grow the .org domain and ensure .org is performing for those who rely on it to achieve their goals and do great things online.
Q: Based on the new-TLD focus at Donuts, how do you feel about now focusing on one TLD, particularly one that has such a long internet history?
New gTLDs are fun to work with, and they can serve as great complements to some of the legacy domain extensions. But there is something very special about the .org domain and its legacy as a place on the internet where mission-based organizations and those looking to accomplish social good come to connect with other like-minded individuals. While my new work will primarily focus on one TLD, the .org community is in fact not so linear. There is a whole range of people that identify with .org. The .org community is multi-faceted, welcoming for-profit and not-for-profit businesses, affinity groups, community groups and even individuals and families alike to the domain extension. It’s working to help this broad-cased community and its needs that is exciting to me and I’m sure will keep me on my toes.
Q: Could you please shed some light on who can, and cannot, register a .org and .ngo domain? I find this is often a point of confusion in conversation.
The .org domain has always been and will always be an open domain for all. Anyone – including individuals, nonprofits, social enterprises and corporations – can register a .org to create and engage with a like-minded community. The .org community is inclusive and diverse. It includes large global nonprofits like redcross.org to social enterprise companies like envirofit.org, selling inexpensive clean energy cookstoves that benefit underdeveloped areas, to your local animal shelter or knitting club.
Conversely, the .ngo/.ong domains, which are also under PIR’s management, are validated domains for nonprofits – also known as non-governmental organizations (NGOs). .ngo/.ong are exclusively available to nonprofit organizations that are genuine, lawful and independent NGOs and they must undergo a validation process. With its validation, internet users worldwide can be assured that .ngo/.ong websites are certifiably recognized and legitimate.
Q: Do you have a favourite .org domain in use?
Besides PIR.org? Well, because my family and I have been personally involved with the institution for many years, I would pick Greenacres.org. As a nonprofit that has served as a model for the principles of progressive education since 1934, Green Acres School in Maryland has really helped children to learn and grow as individuals – including my own kids. I have the honor to serve on the board of directors, continuing to support their good mission for the next generation.
Q: It seems like there are some exciting new events and launches in the works at PIR this year. Anything you can share with us on that?
This will be a busy year for the PIR team. On the industry side, we’re focusing on quality sales of .org and for PIR that means continuing to foster .org’s reputation as a safe, secure and trustworthy domain extension. To help support this, we’ll continue to advocate for policies that provide all internet users with a safe and secure experience online. Regarding .org specifically, we’ll be re-evaluating how we define domain “quality,” moving away from total domains under management (DUM) as the be-all and end-all of domain metrics and looking to develop more qualitative measures that we believe will help us better evaluate the long-term health and growth of the .org domain.
PIR also will be unveiling a new education and outreach campaign that will be focused on helping nonprofits enhance their online presence. The not-for-profit community is one of the backbones of .org, so our PIR team will be helping them successfully fulfill their missions on the internet.
I know there’s been talk about updates to the PIR brand, but you’ll have to wait and see what develops in the next few months. The last time we refreshed our brand was in 2013 and a lot has changed since then, so stay tuned!
Q: And finally, what are you most looking forward to this year at PIR?
I’m looking forward to working with the entire PIR team. I inherited a great team and am supplementing it with some new executives with a great deal of domain name industry experience. It’s this proactive group of very experienced and qualified people behind .org who helped create and relentlessly drive the quality of the domain’s status as the most trustworthy around the world. I’m privileged and excited to lead this team, diving into meaningful mission-driven work in support of our broad registrant community. It’s going to be a busy year as we strengthen and develop new ways to support our registrants, but I’m certain with the team’s positive energy and can-do attitude we are moving .org in the right direction.
Jon, thank you for taking the time to chat with me today. From myself and the rest of the HEXONET team, we wish you a successful year ahead!