If you think there’s already a “dot something” for everything imaginable, think again. The Public Interest Registry (PIR) is in charge of website registration processes, and recently added .ngo to the list. For years “non-government organizations” (NGOs), which function somewhat like 501(c) non-profits (.org), have never had a domain name that quite fits what they do. They’re a “charity” but in a different category than what many people think of when they hear “non-profit.” According to the PIR, there are over 800 organizations around the world that have signed up, and over 20 in the UK (where NGOs are quite popular).
However, there’s a catch: You’ll only be able to register your .ngo for a limited time. In some countries, the same goes for the new .ong (ONG being the go-to acronym in some regions). The PIR itself is a non-profit organization that’s based in the US—it also managed OnGood, which is a worldwide directory of profiles featuring .ngo and .ong websites. Registration has been available on a limited basis since April 21, 2015, but only became fully open on May 6. Suitable NGOs and ONGs can apply on any number of website domain registration sites for a fee that ranges between $50-$100, based on the popularity of the domain and web domain registrar used.
What’s in a Name?
According to a spokesperson at PIR, they expect hundreds of more registrations to start coming through. There’s already the Christian Institute, European Guide Dogs Federation and the British Stammering Association that have joined the official .ngo ranks. However, many others have not gone live and are likely revamping their website, perhaps wisely incorporating mobile readiness and responsive design. Now that the latest Google algorithm update promises to manually penalize websites that aren’t mobile ready, snagging that new domain name is a great excuse for a major website overhaul before an official launch of “new” sites.
Once organizations secure their domain, they can visit the PIR website to create a customized profile in the OnGood directory. Validation is required, which ensures they are indeed a not-for-profit, public interest organization that’s “independent of direct government or political control.” They must also show that the organization has independent members while meeting other benchmarks set by the PIR.
One Central Location
PIR’s chief executive, Brian Cute, says he’s hopeful that the directory will be the “online home for non-profits and NGOs of all sizes…Since its inception, the internet has been a forum to share information and connect with others, giving NGOs a much-needed platform to promote their missions. But the landscape has become increasingly cluttered, making it difficult for internet users to determine which organizations are truly trustworthy.”
Anyone in the SEO industry, researchers and even students know that an easy way to identify a potential “authority site” is if it has a .org, .gov or .edu domain. Soon, perhaps .ngo and .ong will become part of that exclusive club, showcasing authenticity before users even visit the website. Not all domain names are created equally, but with PIR backing .ngo, this is destined to be a domain name steeped in authority.
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