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.
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. 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.
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 FindLawhttp://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.
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
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).
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 Foundationhttp://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.
(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.
In order to encourage organisations to become stakeholders, potential benefits
of being a stakeholder should be identified and maximised. Benefits could
(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.
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'.
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.
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.
- The Bank should support the adoption of a `stakeholder model' as the means
of long term funding for DIAL, and should assist the DIAL host in the
 New Zealand statutes on GPrint are one
example of the latter. The commercial viability of this approach is unknown,
and is only feasible because they have privileged access to NZ statutes from
 The potential involvement of DIAL with
the proposed ADB Institute could be considered.
identification and contacting of stakeholders.