Discussing the New ‘.green’ Domain Name with DotGreen Community Inc.’s Annalisa Roger
January 30, 2015
About 7 years ago, Annalisa created a business plan, and from there co-founded DotGreen Community, Inc. which applied to the Internet’s governing body, ICANN (the Internet Corporation of Assigned Names and Numbers). Under Annalisa’s leadership DGC successfully passed the ICANN evaluation process and strategized a way beyond a four-way competitive industry contention set for .green. The competition concluded with a partnership placing DGC as the steward of the environmental new .green Top Level Domain. For over ten years, Annalisa has been working within the local and global community, managing large-scale projects and events. She co-founded and twice was elected Vice-Chair of SF Bay ISOC.org, the San Francisco Bay Area and Silicon Chapter of The Internet Society. .green is currently starting an exciting new chapter, as the first .green domain names go live. Those who use a .green Top Level Domain address and the Internet users who frequent .green websites, will together be boosting awareness, education, and the green economy. In addition, an income stream created from a percentage of the sales of .green domain names will flow to The DotGreen Foundation which supports programs and projects aimed at sustainability around the world. Annalisa, a mother of four, lives in Marin County with her husband and is a creative thinker and the visionary for the .green project. JOHN SHEGERIAN: Welcome back to Green is Good, and we’re so excited to have with us today Analisa Roger. She’s the founder and CEO of the DotGreen Community, Inc., which you can find at nic.green. Welcome to Green is Good, Analisa Roger. ANALISA ROGER: Hi, John. Thank you. Great to be back. JOHN SHEGERIAN: Thanks for joining us today. Before we get talking about what you’re doing with the DotGreen Community and with nic.green, for our listeners out there, they can follow along, they can go to nic.green, I’d like you to share the Analisa story. What led up to this? Where did you get sustainability and environmentalism in your background, and where did you find inspiration leading up to the founding of the DotGreen Community? ANALISA ROGER: I grew up in Mill Valley, California, which is coastal up in northern California, Bay Area. It’s a place where green is really the default setting. Everybody there is unique and everybody matters. I’m sure that did play a part of it. The Bay Area continues to be full of organic juice bars. Up north, we’ve got sustainable llama farms, the whole thing. Green is just normal where I come from. JOHN SHEGERIAN: What became, then, your tipping point and epiphany to be the founder and the CEO of the DotGreen Community? When did that happen, and when did you found the DotGreen Community after your sort of epiphany and your aha moment? ANALISA ROGER: My father was an internet pioneer. He was working out of the Virgin Islands, Caribbean region. He was doing computer development through UNIDO, United Nations Development. He called it the freenet. He brought in the first access of internet to the Caribbean and later Latin America came off of his node there. He was also part of something called ICANN, the governing body of the internet that was starting. It was just starting under the Clinton administration. Unfortunately, he passed away in 2002, but sort of as a tribute, I ended up attending an ICANN meeting because I wanted to meet some of the other pioneers and his colleagues who knew him professionally. It was amazingly inspirational. It was full of computer geeks and internet pioneers and people experienced in international governance, and it’s where our internet policies are drawn up and our internet is governed from ICANN. It’s an amazing multi-stakeholder model. To me, it felt very green. It’s very consensus-based. To me, learning more about the internet, the inner workings, the people, the altruistic vision of so many of the people behind the internet who work on it. My green background dovetails together, at least in my mind, and I came up with this idea of DotGreen. It’s something that the green movement could really use the internet to help forward it. JOHN SHEGERIAN: When was that? ANALISA ROGER: That was in 2007. JOHN SHEGERIAN: We have so many listeners around the world, Analisa. Talk a little bit about, then, the evolution from the epiphany and the idea. You did a great job framing your father’s background, and now you have this great idea. How long did it take you to germinate it, nurture it, give it sunshine, give it attention, give it water, give it fertilizer, and get it born? ANALISA ROGER: You’re absolutely right. You’re painting a great picture yourself, John. I would describe this as a labor of love. It started out with a heavy dose of naiveté on my part. I did approach this as wanting to do my part in the green movement, which so many of us around the world know that we either are a part of it or we want to be a part of it, but often we don’t know what to do. I was definitely searching for what could I do for the green movement. I had these components going on in my mind. I thought if we could have our own space, if the movement could have its own space on the internet, that would actually make it easier for other internet users, other people like me, to do their part because we could make spreading of awareness of green so easy if we really focused the internet in that way. That’s what the .green top level domain is actually designed to do, make it wasy to spread awareness of green. JOHN SHEGERIAN: So you’re basically, the way I want to understand this, but I want you to tell me if this is right, you’re the GoDaddy for the .green world. So if I want to take John Shegerian to johnshegerian.green, I come to your website. If you want to take Analisa Roger and get your name with a .green, you go to your website. ANALISA ROGER: John, what’s really exciting is actually GoDaddy is going to be one of our customers. That means you could actually go to GoDaddy and get your name, John, john.green, there. JOHN SHEGERIAN: I love it. So you’re going to be able to go to GoDaddy and get a .green, but I could also come to nic.green and get it as well. ANALISA ROGER: If you go to nic.green, what’s really exciting is you will see a list of all the registrars that have partnered with us to sell these .green names. We’ve already spoken with GoDaddy. They are going to be selling these names. We’ve spoken with lots of the other registrars that customers already have accounts with, and they can go to their regular registrar. If they’ve never bought a .green domain name or another domain name before, they will actually be able to choose and click on any of the accredited registrars that are listed there. It’s very easy to buy a .green domain name. JOHN SHEGERIAN: For our listeners out there who just joined us, Analisa Roger is our guest. She’s the founder and CEO of the DotGreen Community, and what that means is you can go to nic.green or GoDaddy and you can get a name or a brand that you want to register, instead of with a .com, with a .green. It’s a very exciting show today because talk about green is good, Analisa Roger is making green everywhere. She’s making green ubiquitous to the world, and that’s very important for spreading our message, so we thank you for doing that. Talk a little bit about the business, though. Seven years in the making, which is great. It shows how committed you are and how much dedication you have to this very important venture. Did you put the money in yourself? Did you go get a whole investor pool of money? How did you raise the money? How did you legally structure and how did you put this whole thing together? It’s fascinating to me. ANALISA ROGER: Yeah, it’s actually been quite a journey. I started originally thinking this was an altruistic vision and that it must be a non-profit. A friend of mine, Jennifer Nolan, myself, we decided to open up a public charity benefit organization. In California, those are called public benefit charity, and in the United State it actually has a 501(c)(3) status. I think in the rest of the world, it would be listed under NGO quality. It’s an organization that provides benefit for the public. It is not a private foundation. It was not owned by us. It was for the public, for the world’s citizens. The idea was the DotGreen Foundation would sell these .green domain names, and the money would be used for environmental progress. A big part of that is we wanted the environmental progress that received money from these domain name sales to actually happen in all regions of the world, so that it maintained its relevancy. Green and local is such an important component, and we wanted people to feel they could really do their part in the green world, buying a domain name that’s going to help their local area. We’re really excited about that. You asked about funding, John. Jennifer and I, we funded it ourselves for four years, and it was so long because this is an international project, just like going green is an international project that the whole world is undertaking on its own right now anyway. Part of the ICANN process and the DotGreen program, we had to travel around the world following ICANN, which meets three times in different regions of the world. While we did that, we met lots of interesting people that are excited and involved in an around not just the internet community, but the green community. That was wonderful, but it did take quite a bit of resources. We were able to last four years, and unfortunately, the new GT Elite program required that we continue this project even longer than four years. We actually had to set up an additional company, which is called the DotGreen Community, and that’s what we are now. We’ve also managed to maintain the DotGreen Foundation, and it’s healthy with its 501(3) status. It still exists. We did start a green business, and that way we were able to share the story, bring in green investors who were interested in making sure this project didn’t die on the vine, and they’ve been funding us and these world travels ever since. JOHN SHEGERIAN: What’s normal nowadays? For all these different .coms, .nets, when you take the metrics of some of the newer .whatevers that have come out in the last three or four years, do you get to play off of those metrics and say, “OK, well, this one got this many people to sign up the first 12 months or 24 months. We think we’ll get this many?” Is that the kind of metrics as a business opportunity you look at, or it totally different? Is it very unknown? ANALISA ROGER: Those are excellent questions. We’ve been tackling those questions as a green business ourselves and bringing on the green investor. There are some metrics. You’re right. There are lots of other new top-level domains coming online. Overall, there’s going to be close to 1,000 new top-level domains. I believe 200-300 have actually come online. We’re going to be noticing them more and more as the months go by. I know that some of the new top-level domains, especially the ones that may have had some pent up demand, and that’s an important component. The team behind the new GTLD has been doing around the world telling people about it, or at least telling a community that’s a relevant associated community about that top-level domain. Several of those have come out with maybe 50,000 registrations in the first month. It’s not the general story, and that’s true. Some of them are very small. Some of them are more like 1,000 or even less when they first launch. We have to look at each case, and we have to realize what is the story? Why would that be? There’s a lot of thought that the rising tide of awareness of new GTLDs will bring up all new GTLDs. With that being said, when we look at .green, I’ve spoken a little earlier about pent up demand or community or global recognition. .green has all of that. JOHN SHEGERIAN: Once it’s live and once it’s up and going, so now you and I are chatting, we’re doing our next show, you come on the show next June or July. What’s your expectations for the first year or two years? How many people are going to sign up for how many names? Do you have some numbers or some metrics on what should be happening? ANALISA ROGER: Yes. We are extremely excited because this whole project is about people. It’s about the green movement, and we know the green movement has been growing rapidly and tremendously these last seven years that we’ve been running this project. There’s a huge amount of interest in green, and it’s not just people. It’s not just northern California, Bay Area people. It’s worldwide, and we’ve seen that as we’ve traveled. We’ve seen billboards in languages all over the world with a common thread of the word green. Green will be written amongst scripts or characters or foreign languages, so green belongs to the people. I definitely want to show that I recognize that green is already out there, it belongs to the people, it’s associated with sustainability. All we’re doing is giving green its own home on the internet, so it will be known as .green. The work that’s going on from the green movement, the green economy currently, will continue and will continue to grow. Now it has an additional place on the internet where it can grow. Our expectation and excitement is pretty big because we know that this is something that’s needed, this is something that’s out there. Green is necessary. People are passionate. Green business is real. Companies are saving tremendous amounts of money by going green. There’s lots of reasons to go green. Now we’ve got a dedicated place on the internet to do that. I think our first year is going to be pretty exciting. JOHN SHEGERIAN: We’re down to the last minute-and-a-half or so. I want to leave it to you now, Analisa. As an eco-preneur, share a little bit of some pearls of wisdom with the next generation of eco-preneurs that are listening to this show around the world, whatever couple things you’ve learned during your journey of starting this business, and then we’ll have to say goodbye in a little while. ANALISA ROGER: OK, absolutely. I want to say that this journey, this project of bringing a new top-level domain to the green movement, it took seven years, but we never gave up. We always believed. I knew in my heart that it’s good. Like you said, green is good, so it’s the right thing. It had to get out there, and I stuck with it, and I have team members and supporters that stuck with it. After seven years, after many ups and downs, after lots of difficult twists, we’ve come out. We’ve survived. We’ve succeeded. We’re bringing .green to the rest of the world, and now it’s up to the world. To the entrepreneur out there, I know it’s hard. I know sometimes it’s tempting to think it’s unbelievable, but believe in yourself. Stick with it. If you’re doing a green project, think of having a website at .green and know that what you’re doing is the right thing. Never give up. You will make it, and we need you. We need every single one of you out there to do your part. That’s what .green is there for, is to help support you in your next journey. JOHN SHEGERIAN: Analisa Roger, we need you. Thank you for being a green visionary and eco-preneur and making the world a better place. You are truly living proof that green is good.