Public Interest Registry

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General Information
Industry: Internet, Domain registry
Stakeholder Group: Business
Issue Areas: DNS
Country: USA
Founded: Reston, VA, 2002
Headquarters: 1775 Wiehle Avenue,
Suite 200
Reston, VA 20190


Instagram: PIRegistry
TLDs: 6
Registrations: 9,141

More Info: nTLDStats
Facebook: Facebook.png   Public Interest Registry
Twitter: TwitterIcon.png@PIRegistry
Roberto Gaetano, Chairman

Jon Nevett, CEO
Brian Cimbolic, General Counsel
Laura Tarpey, CFO
Joe Abley, CTO
Paul Diaz, VP, Policy and Education and Outreach
Anand Vora VP, Business Affairs
Mary Cornwell, VP, Human Resources
Judy Song-Marshall Chief Strategy Officer, COS

Public Interest Registry (PIR) is a generic top-level domain registry that manages the .org top level domain, .ngo & .ong domains, .opr domain, .机构 domain and .संगठन domain. The non-profit was established in January 2003 by the Virginia-based Internet Society (ISOC). Public Interest Registry was formed to take over the operation and maintenance of the .org domain and its database from Verisign Global Registry Services. The organization’s headquarters is located in Reston, Virginia.

As of March 2018, there are 10.4 million registered .org addresses. Revenue for the year 2016 was $85.7M. The funds are used for operating costs and technical and organizational maintenance; the remaining funds are donated to the Internet Society, a lobbying and research organization.[[1]][2]]

The organization applied for the .ngo and .ong domains through ICANN's 2012 gTLD program.[3]  The domains were created as a way for NGOs to verify the non-governmental status as an organisation online and officially launched in March of 2015. As the .ngo and .ong domains were launched, so was OnGood, a platform created by Public Interest Registry to support organisations using the new domain extensions by showcasing mission-based work around the world.

The company's backend registry services are handled by Afilias.

Public Interest Registry's mission is to educate and enable the global noncommercial community to use the internet more effectively, and to take a leadership position among internet stakeholders on policy and other issues relating to the domain naming system.


The .org top-level domain was first created in October 1984 by the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority,[4] 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.[5] This agreement expired on December 31, 2002. A request for proposal was circulated by ICANN on May 20, 2002.[6] The Internet Society was one of the eleven applicants who submitted proposals to become the successive operator.[7] 

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, Public Interest Registry would appoint Afilias to handle the full range of back-end registry services on behalf of Public Interest Registry.

The ICANN Board selected Public Interest Registry as the successor operator to Verisign for managing the .org gTLD on October 14, 2002.[8] Finally, the reins of .org domain came into Public Interest Registry’s control in January 2003; the agreement was originally signed for a period of three years, expiring December 2006.

On December 8, 2006, the agreement between ICANN and Public Interest Registry was renewed for another 6.5 years.[9]

In 2010, the .org domain had emerged as the third-largest generic top-level domain in the world, as per the bi-annual domain name report published by Public Interest Registry for dates of January to June 2010.[10]

On August 22, 2013, the agreement between ICANN and PIR was renewed.[11]

On January 1, 2018, PIR entered into a new registry services agreement with Afilias as its back-end registry services provider following a competitive procurement process including more than 20 potential service providers representing 15 countries.

In January 2018, PIR celebrated 15 years of managing the .org domain.

On November 13-14, 2019, PIR announced that ISOC, its parent organization, had reached an agreement with Ethos Capital, under which Ethos Capital would acquire PIR and all of its assets from ISOC. PIR would also become a for-profit Pennsylvania limited liability company. PIR formally submitted to ICANN a "Notice of Indirect Change of Control and Entity Conversion."[12] EFF, NTEN, and Access Now organized a petition that 871 organizations and 27,183 people signed to stop the transaction, paying special attention to the future of the .org domain. [13]

On April 30, 2020, ICANN Board formally announced that it would withhold consent for a Change of Control of PIR from Internet Society to Ethos Capital.[14]

.org Statistics

By 2015, the number of .org domains under management (DUM) had more than doubled in just 10 years, increasing from 3.9 million in 2005 to 10.5 million in 2015. As of 2015, the .org domain had grown to 5,931,592 registered domains in the United States. Registrations experienced marked international growth from 2010 – 2015, as registrations in Asia and the Australian Pacific grew to 2.6% of total DUM, the United Kingdom to 4.1% and Canada to 3.8%.[15]

Registration for .org passed the 10 million mark on June 24th, 2012. The ten millionth registration was for, registered by the Jordan River and Dead Sea Basin Forum via GoDaddy. It was the 7th TLD to pass the milestone, the others being: (2006), .net(2007), .uk (2012), .cn, and .tk.[16]


PIR is governed by a Board of Directors who are appointed by ISOC. The Board is comprised of seven members, and its current Chairman is Roberto Gaetano. The CEO of Public Interest Registry is Jon Nevett.

The Public Interest Registry leadership team comprises five senior members of the organization covering Legal, Policy, Operations and Finance. 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 twenty-six staff members on its payroll.

Besides the board of directors, Public Interest Registry 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 seven members in the .org Advisory Council, serving a term from 2015 – 2018. The .ngo and .ong Advisory Council has two members, serving until 2019.

Deployment of DNSSEC

In April 2008, Public Interest Registry 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.[17] The ICANN board approved this proposal in June 2008.[15]

On June 23, 2010, Ms. Alexa Raad, Public Interest Registry’s CEO at that time, announced at an ICANN 38 Brussels press conference that .org had 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."[18]

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."[19]

.ngo, .ong and IDNs

Public Interest Registry announced ahead of the January 2012 launch of ICANN's new gTLD program that it was planning on applying for .ngo and .ong domains; Public Interest Registry was a platinum sponsor of ICANN 42 in Dakar.[20]  Public Interest Registry also announced that it had intentions to implement an authentication process that would ensure that all .ngo and .ong registrants were actual NGOs, given the fact that .org is an open TLD. Public Interest Registry was the only applicant for .ngo and .ong. Early in the process, there were intentions from [dotNGO]]. to apply for .ngo. The .ngo and .ong domains went into sunrise on March 17, 2015.

For Internationalized Domain Names (IDNs), Public Interest Registry submitted for the generic top-level domains (gTLDs) that translate to “organization,” “org” or “structured organization” in Devanagari, Cyrillic and Chinese-simplified scripts. The four applications - one in Devanagari, one in Cyrillic, and two in simplified Chinese- were filed as part of ICANN’s global Internet expansion initiative. In 2014, the Devanagari, Cyrillic and 2-character Chinese simplified scripts were officially launched. 

NGO Education

Public Interest Registry’s mission is to educate and enable the global noncommercial community in support of using the internet more effectively. Public Interest Registry began working with Nonprofit Tech for Good in 2015. The two organizations set out to educate the nonprofit industry through the development of the Global NGO Technology Report and Global Trends in Giving Report. Both reports survey thousands of NGOs around the world about their use of technology to connect with their audience and donors. The report provides insight on the online and mobile communication tools NGOs around the world use to promote general awareness, communicate with core audiences and raise funds from donors, as well as an analysis of those online tools and comparisons of regional usage.

Public Interest Registry and Nonprofit Tech for Good have partnered to host multiple webinars to educate attendees on a variety of topics ranging from online communications trends to how to best communicate with donors. The free webinars concluded in December 2017 with nearly 58,000 nonprofit staff worldwide having participated.


  • There were 10.4 million domains registered under the .org domain as of March 2018.
  • Public Interest Registry celebrated 15 years of operating the .org domain in January 2018.
  • North America is the largest market for .org domains, making up 56% of .org registrants.


  1. An Alternative to .org? Say Hello to .ngo,
  2. Jump up↑ Org Seventh TLD To Pass Ten Millionth Registration Milestone,
  3. Jump up↑
  4. Jump up↑ .org Registry Agreement. Published 2001 May 25.
  5. Jump up↑ .org Reassignment: Request for Proposals, Published 2002 May 20.
  6. Jump up↑ .org Reassignment: Index to Applications,
  7. Jump up↑ ICANN Special Meeting of the Board Preliminary Report, Published 2002 October 14.
  8. Jump up↑ .org Registry Agreement, Published 2008 July 16.
  9. ↑ Jump up to:10.0 10.1 10.2 10.3 PIR's "The Dashboard," January - June, 2015,
  10. Jump up↑ 101 Million Org Domains and Counting, Retrieved & Published 28 Feb 2013
  11. Agreement renewal
  12. PIR sell announcement]
  13. Statement of request for contract protections
  14. ICANN Board withholds consent of PIR sale
  15. Jump up↑ .ORG, The Public Interest Registry Releases Results of Bi-Annual Domain Name Report, 'The Dashboard' Published 2011 August 15.
  16. Jump up↑ Org Seventh TLD To Pass 10 Millionth Registration Milestone, link doesn’t work
  17. Jump up↑ Understanding the Role of Registrars in DNSSEC Deployment,
  18. 1.   Jump up↑ ICANN Adopted Board Resolutions (26 June 2008), Published 2008 June 26.
  19. Jump up↑ Dakar42,
  20. Jump up↑ Nonprofits May Soon Say,