The 11 organisations bidding to become the new owner of the domains — suffixes allocated to non-profit groups and charities — were announced yesterday by internet watchdog Icann (The Independent Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers).

US-based registry Verisign, the body currently in charge of managing .org domain names, has given up its control under a deal struck with Icann. It will, however, remain in charge of the more lucrative .com domain suffixes until around 2010.

The agreement comes after concerns voiced by the US government that Verisign wielded too much power over domain suffixes.

UK registrar GNR (Global Name Registry) is one of the bidders. It has teamed up with the Red Cross charity to put forward its idea of an 'orgcentre'.

"The .org community has grown into a diverse and vibrant space where more communities exist than in any other TLD (top level domain)," said Andrew Tsai GNR's CEO. "Our vision is for .org to become the community capital, a destination point for the non-commercial community."

GNR said it would use five percent of registration revenues towards the orgcentre, which will conduct ongoing research and fund programmes tailored for the non-profit community.

It has also promised to provide training and support for charitable organisations, helping them to establish presences on- and offline.

But GNR is not the only group with high ideas.

"Isoc's mission is to expand the internet for the benefit of all the people of the world," said Lynn St Armour, CEO of the US-based Internet Society, also on the bidding list.

Aside form this rather bold claim, the organisation has promised to create a Public Internet Registry, an independent group that would deal solely with the allocation of .org suffixes.

A full list of applicants can be viewed here.

Icann is due to appoint the new owner by August of this year.