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8.5. Possible models for on-going funding of DIAL

There are four distinct models for how an on-going DIAL facility could be funded. It is assumed that substantial funding from the Bank will cease within a few years after the completion phase, as the Bank does not fund ongoing core costs of institutions. The requirement for ongoing funding is estimated to be $100-$200,000 per year (depending on the host and other factors), about 50% of the cost during the establishment phase.

8.5.1. `Pay to use' models

It is difficult to think of any examples on the Internet at present where users pay for links to otherwise free materials, or pay to search otherwise free materials[148]. Both users and the providers of the data are likely to resent such a practice. It seems extremely unlikely that a `pay to use' model would meet with any success in relation to DIAL Index and DIAL Search.

8.5.2. Advertising

Revenue raising through advertising does appear to be successful with some Internet directories and search engines. It is used to fund Yahoo! and Alta Vista, and FindLaw[149]http://www.findlaw.com/] is a good example of a law site that does this. The economics of Internet advertising are beyond the scope of this report.

The nature of the DIAL facilities may present some problems with an advertising-based model. DIAL users are likely to come from many countries in the world. Although it is common for advertisements to be targeted at users depending on the country indicated by the domain name of their computer, obtaining advertising revenue from advertisers who wish to cater for such a geographically diverse range of users may be difficult where the market is largely limited to those involved in law and government.

As noted before, advertising-based models may not be feasible in universities. They are also likely to lead to staff requiring salaries equivalent to commercial rates since they are working for a profit-making entity.

8.5.3. Grant from a single sponsor

The annual costs of operation of DIAL after the completion phase are high enough to deter any single organisation from carrying the whole cost of sponsoring DIAL on an ongoing basis. The Bank cannot do this after the completion phase, and it does not seem realistic to look for any other single sponsor.

8.5.4. Multiple sponsors - `stakeholder' model

The most feasible model for the continuing operation of DIAL seems to be the location of DIAL at a public legal information institute, with ongoing funding being provided by small contributions from each of a group of funding organisations which have an interest in DIAL's continuing operation. This seems to be the only alternative to a model funded by advertising, which may not in any event be feasible.

If we assume that the minimum annual contribution from a stakeholder would be $10,000, then DIAL requires up to 10 stakeholders to be viable at the minimum level of funding of $100,000 per year. It may be that some organisations would provide larger contributions, and smaller contributions could be welcomed, but $10,000 is a reasonable level at which to provide recognition as a stakeholder (as discussed below).

Potential range of stakeholders

The potential range of stakeholders includes:

(i) International development and aid agencies (or their legal departments) which have an interest in fostering better governance in developing countries, and which are also potential substantial users of the system. These may include the World Bank, the IMF, the Asia Foundation[150]http://www.asiafoundation.org/], and the International Development Law Institute (IDLI). The Asian Development Bank is of course included here, and as the organisation which founded DIAL, may be expected to continue to play a significant role[151].

(ii) The legal departments of multi-national companies, many of which have recognised that they have an interest in encouraging sound governance, and as potential substantial users of the facilities. There is a regular roundtable meeting of the chief legal officers of such companies, at which potential involvement in DIAL could be raised.

(iii) Multi-national law firms have a substantial interest as potential users of the facilities, and may also be attracted to being identified as a sponsor of the facility (see below).

(iv) Governments of some countries could be interested in being a sponsor, as they will be major users of the facilities, but this is unlikely in developing countries (where the main need to is to find funds to provide Internet access). If some charge was made to governments for DIALogue access, this would be the most likely form of government contribution. This is the least likely source of funds of those mentioned, and should be a low priority.

8.5.5. Benefits to stakeholders

In order to encourage organisations to become stakeholders, potential benefits of being a stakeholder should be identified and maximised. Benefits could include:

(i) Membership of DIALogue for at least one representative of each stakeholder. They would constitute a new class of Authorised User, and a valuable one at that, given the expertise that they are likely to have.

(ii) A closed discussion list of sponsors, so that they have an obvious way of communicating suggestions and questions concerning DIAL's development.

(iii) Identification as a DIAL sponsor, particularly through the DIAL web site. This identification could range from forms as discreet and diffuse as a page identifying and thanking all sponsors, with links to their organisation's web pages, to identification of organisations as sponsors of particular pages in the DIAL resources, with links from those pages. This second alternative stops short of hosting advertisements, but provides some of the same publicity benefits for sponsors.

8.5.6. Implications for the management of DIAL

Scope of DIAL

The interests of many potential stakeholders are not limited to obtaining legal information concerning Asia, but are more global in nature. Project DIAL already has (and was always intended to have) coverage which is much broader than Asia, but the stakeholder model may require DIAL to be more explicitly global in coverage, perhaps involving some change of name. Sponsors may also wish to broaden the focus from legislative materials into inclusion of some other types of materials such as case law. DIAL would then move closer toward being a `world law index'.

Management structure for a `stakeholder' model

The implications of this approach are that, after the completion phase, DIAL would cease to be `the Bank's project', and would become a normal part of the host institution's operations and in that sense `owned' by it. The stakeholders could be constituted formally as an advisory board for that project, which would be most likely to meet by e-mail,. Even an annual face-to-face meeting of the advisory board could cost more than the sponsorship provided, so this is probably not feasible.

Potential role of content collaborators

If other public legal information institutes do cooperate in the development of DIAL (particularly in relation to indexing of non-English resources), then consideration will have to be given as to how they would fit into this structure. They are a different form of `stakeholder' in that they contribute content. This will also be the case with regional or subject specialists who agree to become voluntary `contributing editors' to DIAL. There may need to be a `DIAL Editorial Advisory Board' to help give recognition to these contributions and to provide a forum for discussion. Membership of the DIALogue Discussion List might serve as an appropriate forum.

8.5.7. Recommendation

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