On March 17th, during the first round of the limited registration period, nonprofits with trademarked phrases and URLs were given special priority to register under the new .ngo and .ong URL extensions.
NGO in the United States, and ONG elsewhere, stands for nongovernmental organizations and generally refers to nonprofit organizations. Organizations must pass strict approval requirements to assure potential donors that the nonprofit meets certain protocols and is deserving of donations. Only active, non-political nonprofits will meet the stringent requirements to receive a coveted .ngo or .ong url. Well-known nonprofits such as Habitat for Humanity and Wildlife Conservation Society have already signed up for their site domains.
“Top level domains” (TLDs) like .org and .edu were initially created to provide site visitors an idea of the category of website they would be visiting. Historically, TLDs have carried more weight with Google, often ranking much higher than lesser-known domain extensions. The hope for nonprofits is that .ngo and .ong will gain traction with Google, and become another top tier TLD like .edu, .com or .gov. If all goes to plan, these new TLDs will provide nonprofits a new kind of online legitimacy.
Organizations that register an .ngo will be eligible to create profiles on the Public Interest Registry’s new online nonprofit directory, OnGood. The registry would provide nonprofits the ability to accept online donations as well as provide a resource for strategic social media campaigns and other areas.
Brian Cute, Chief Executive of Public Interest Registry, believes OnGood will help nonprofits expand their visibility to potential donors. Mr. Cute explains, “The feedback from the community has been very consistent: They want to be trusted online, and they want to connect with donors.”
The Public Interest Registry, which also manages the .org domain, spent years researching and workshopping within 30 countries in an attempt to create a more robust network to connect donors with nonprofits. Says Mr. Cute, “Say you’re sitting at home and you want to help, but you don’t know how to focus your dollars. That will allow you to do a quick search.”
The nonprofits that qualify will have to pay around $50 to $59 annually for the new domains.