The Public Interest Registry, the non-profit that runs the .org domain namehas officially announced its intention to grab the soon-to-be-released .ngo domain name.
New generic Top Level Domains (gTLDs) will be launched worldwide in 2012. This means websites can end with something other than the usual .com, .net and so on. The .ngo domain name will be reserved exclusively for non-government organizations. So far, .org has been the de facto domain for non-profits and charity groups. However, there are no formal restrictions against for-profit companies signing up under the banner.
To qualify for .ngo, an organization must be officially identified as a non-governmental organization. The Public Interest Registry hasn’t disclosed how it will accurately vet applications though a process will be put in place.
The .ngo domain will be a way to both consolidate and expand the global NGO community. “NGOs themselves have a very strong identification with that acronym,” says Brian Cute, the registry’s CEO.
The registry is also hoping to bring more organizations online from the developing world. Cute says the registry is working with partners in developing countries on how to take their philanthropy online and expand their reach. The goal, Cute says, was not to simply collect money a second time: “There are a lot of NGOs, grassroots NGOs, who are not online. The intent here is not to effectively garner a second registration fee [on top of .org].”
Losing .ngo, a dedicated charity domain, would be a big hit to the Public Interest Registry, which has staked its name and brand on online philanthropy. Right now, .org has more than 9 million users, according to the registry.