CATEGORY: Doing Good

A Q&A on World AIDS Day

To raise awareness and garner support for World AIDS Day, we are excited to feature a Q and A with Carolin Silbernagl of dotHIV. Carolin and her team are hoping to start the world’s first charity TLD using a unique approach that turns the traditional TLD model on its head. Read on for more information about .HIV, the power of innovation and the mythical creatures behind every great social entrepreneur.

Q. Tell us a little bit about .HIV : 

.hiv domain names will be the Red Ribbons of the digital age. They will raise funds to support HIV projects, foster awareness of the cause and fight the stigmatization of people living with HIV. The registry dotHIVworks on a charitable basis; all surpluses will be distributed to organizations working in the field of HIV/AIDS. The .hiv TLD will be the first TLD ever, solely serving a social cause.

Have a look at the basic concept in 111 seconds:

Q. What makes .HIV different from most other new TLDs? 

The special twist: dotHIV will use the assembled registration fees to finance a micro-donation program. Every visit of a .hiv website will redirect a small amount of money to HIV projects. By this, surfing on .hiv websites becomes an easy and fun way of doing good.

With that, a .hiv domain name is part of a broader domain name portfolio. Registrants are free to use it as they please, but are advised to simply forward to the standard homepage. With this basic principle, .hiv-domains provide a second entry door to the usual web content – but enhance the surfing experience through the micro-donation. We want registrants to think about .hiv domain names as a tool for online communication with a social core.

Q. What sparked the idea behind .HIV?

The team working on dotHIV has a strong communication background. In 2009, three of us – Philipp, Stefan and Martin – did pro-bono work for a German foundation working in the field of HIV. While designing awareness ads, they tried to think of something bigger – something interactive, with a broad or even global reach. Something that could really match the importance of the topic. And they came up with the idea of .hiv. We had no clue back then, that a charitable TLD would be pioneering work that would take five years until realization.

Q. What is the biggest challenge .HIV has faced so far?

Securing the budget necessary for the TLD application and future operation was a major task. As an applicant based in Europe dotHIV was not eligible for ICANN’s Applicant Support Program despite the charitable mission of our work. Working on a 100% non-profit basis, with at least 70% of our revenue going to the HIV response, classic venture capital was no means neither. We knocked on many doors and won more and more supporters to finally kick it off. No chance to do it without our founding partners, the charitable online donation platform and the creative agency thjnk (formerly kempertrautmann).

Q. Tell us a little bit about the reception .HIV has received so far.  

We receive great feedback and support, wherever we go.

The domain name sphere has received dotHIV with open arms: both, ICANN as an organization and the community as a whole, have supported what we do from the very beginning. This has resulted in great partnerships. NCC is providing their escrow services for free, Sedo supports our premium domain strategy at special conditions and with Afilias, we have a wonderful backend provider that matches our ambitions for global reach.

From a market perspective, the interest in the pre-registration of .hiv domain names is taking off and we are in close talks with major players in IT and big end-consumer brands to prepare for a joint launch campaign in 2013, that will make a blast in Europe and the US once we go online.

Last but not least, we can only reach the impact we hope for with co-creation from and a broad acceptance within the international HIV communities. We are partnering with the “Deutsche AIDS Hilfe” as Europe’s biggest HIV-umbrella organization and are constantly getting further organizations and experts on board.

Q. Any tips for how our readers can become involved on World AIDS Day today? 

I would love to say: surf on today and raise some money for the cause with your clicks.

But we still have to wait for that one – we hope to have .hiv domains online by World AIDS Day 2013.

Of course, there is a lot everyone can do this year.

– Wear an offline Red Ribbon – it’s the classic way to show solidarity. Looks best with shirts in black or dark blue.

– Get tested. Knowing your status is the first step to stay safe.

– And of course: visit dotHIV on Facebook and hit “Like” to stay with us.

And just for some fun stuff….

Q. As a frequent ICANN attendee – any particularly funny/memorable moments from an ICANN meeting?

Coming from social sciences background and civil society project work, the first look at the Acronym Glossary at my first ICANN meeting in Singapore surely was a memorable moment, with one back-thought: What have I gotten myself into??! Click here to see for yourself: Fortunately, the team and I have become rather fluent in ICANN scrabble in the meantime.

Q. Favorite mythical creature? 

Unicorn … and dragon. You probably need to love both to be a good Social Entrepreneur.unicorn for .hiv

Inspired to get more involved? Check out (Sprecken Sie Deutsch? – )

You can also pre-register a .HIV domain directly from the dotHIV or from your friendly neighborhood registrar.

Denver Tweetup for Charity: and Wynkoop Brewing Company Bring it

Wednesday, September 19th is hosting a big-arse Tweetup. It’s hard for me to stress how awesome this is, but let me just say this: about every business, every person, with a glow about their Twitter presence has been waiting for SOMEBODY to do a Tweetup. Well, that’s Melissa “Shamrock” Dafni, who spearheaded this effort to raise money for the Mile High Down Syndrome Association.

The Wynkoop has graciously offered to host this high tech hoedown. Along with Ink! Coffee and other businesses, the Wynkoop will be coughing up donations for giveaways and a silent auction, and I’m probing the community for more stuff to press into your eager hands.
Speaking of, will be offering a special promo code for domains and hosting. But you gotta be there.
So that’s it. No trifling. Here’s how to get your tickets. All proceeds go to a good cause. All the beer goes in your belly.
Let this be the first of many. Employee Shares His Bike to Work Day Experience

One of our developers Nick was pretty pumped on “bike to work day” and offered to write a blog post for us. Below is the email we received from him:

As it turns out, I suck at writing, so I might need your guys help. Any thoughts on how I can make what’s below suck less? 

We think he did just fine, here’s what he wrote:

Another bike to work day is upon us. This year, just over 33% of chose risk the heat and smoke filled air, to mount their two-wheeled steel unicorns and pedal into work. Some of us rode in today because it was bike to work day. Some of us rode in just to show off our brand new bikes. One person forgot what today is and walked to work (and has spent the day giving back rubs to those who rode in as punishment). Mostly, people rode their bikes in today, because that’s what they do every day. This is Colorado with its plethora of sunshine, bike lanes, and spandex. Plus, as most of us have found, biking is a great way to work up a thirst of some tasty micro brew.

Bikes for employees at

Our bikers have never been accused of being on performance enhancing drugs.

Get your green on!

Very happy Earth Day to you! Earth Day first came about in 1970 to raise public awareness about air and water pollution. In celebration of our beautiful planet (and with conscious thought toward pollution), we are extending a 1-day only special on .ORG registrations:

Today only, use the promotional code, ‘FRESHAIR‘ and receive $7.15 .ORG first year registrations. Offer valid through midnight MST tonight.

We hope you’ll take a few moments today to think about your personal consumption and how you can actively reduce your output. Hop on your bike or ride the bus, use a reusable water bottle, recycle, fix leaky sinks, bring bags to the grocery store – its small everyday acts such as these that collectively go a long way. Let’s take one step forward toward a healthy sustainable lifestyle and planet. A green planet starts with awareness but action speaks louder than words, so go outside and get your hands dirty! Plant a tree or pick up some trash 🙂 Use your new .ORG to rally your community and get your green on!!

CEO Kills Elephant

The recent video of GoDaddy’s CEO, Bob Parsons, killing an elephant that was causing damage to farmer’s crops is all over the web. Between the professionally edited video to the release of it on his personal blog, we’re confident they knew what was coming and even invited the publicity (shocking, we know). It didn’t take long before PETA had declared a boycott against the company and Twitter feeds were blowing up with Anti-GoDaddy tweets.

A number of domain registrars and hosting companies have offered discounts to move away from GoDaddy and pledged to donate a percentage of the proceeds to elephant related charities. We applaud their effort to raise funds for these worthy causes, whatever their motivations may be. We debated internally how we could best respond to the situation, as making a quick buck didn’t sit right with us, no matter how tempting. Of course we want folks to know we are a great option if they are leaving their current registrar, but giving back is also a part of our company culture Gives Back. We really wanted to do something to help the situation, which was sadly brought to light by this incident. has made a seed donation to in the amount of $500, because we believe it’s the right thing to do. This organization benefits the elephants, the local farmers, and the habitat they both have to share. More interesting however is the alternative solution they have found. Turns out elephants hate chili peppers so they focus their efforts on training farmers to use chili peppers as a natural deterrent (we’re all about innovative solutions).

Many people have reached out and asked what we could do if they wanted to transfer their domains away. In addition to the seed donation we have decided to donate $1.00 from each domain that is transferred to us from GoDaddy, starting today and running through April 15. We want to give folks some time to move their domains and a little help if they have a lot to move. If you have more than 50 domains to transfer, email our support team at and we can offer assistance with any bulk transfers.

For more information on check out these links:

Elephant Pepper

National Geographic

Live Science

Reasons you should consider using

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