As of May 7, 2015, nongovernmental organizations that meet certain eligibility requirements can purchase two new web domains – “.ngo” and “.ong.”
Public Interest Registry, the nonprofit that manages the .org web domain, launched the new domains exclusively for nonprofits, unlike the .org domain which is available to both nonprofits and for-profits. The new domains are intended to allow organizations to be immediately identifiable as nonprofits through their web addresses. Because the domains are meant to be available only to organizations that have been validated as nonprofits, they are presumably less susceptible to purchase by unrelated third parties with the intent to sell them back to the named organization for a profit, a practice that is common with other domains. Whether this is a practical concern for the new domains is not immediately clear, but an organization wishing to control the use of its name in website addresses should consider registering the desired name(s) before another party – either an unrelated third party wishing to make a profit, or another nonprofit with a similar name – gets it first.
The domain “.ngo” stands for “non-governmental organization,” and the domain “.ong” reflects the translated equivalent for regions where Romance languages are most prevalent. The domains are sold as a package, so when an organization reserves a name under one of the domains it also automatically reserves the name under the other domain. More information, including links to registries selling the domains, can be found on Public Interest Registry’s website.
Public Interest Registry also launched a new online platform called OnGood that offers a suite of online services to organizations using the .ngo or .ong domains. Brian Cute, CEO of Public Interest Registry, described OnGood as being a sort of “Facebook for NGOs” with .ngo or .ong domain names. It offers a searchable directory with a customizable online profile for organizations using the new web domains, and is intended to help organizations connect with supporters, funders, and other nonprofits. More information can be found here.