The Battle for a Global Not for Profit DotNGO Domain Name

Flickr image: Attribution Some rights reserved by The Booklight

Two Not for Profits, at different ends of the globe, are vying for the rights to operate a new internet domain called dotNGO (.NGO) that they claim that will make it easier for the community sector to be immediately recognised online.

And the two competing organisations are calling on Australian NFPs for their expressions of interest as the battle for control of the .NGO domain unfolds.

In the U.S., the Public Interest Registry (PIR) - a Not for Profit organisation that already manages the .ORG domain - has applied for the creation and management of a new .NGO domain that will be available exclusively to NGOs, NFPs and the community sector worldwide.

PIR says that unlike .ORG the new .NGO will be a closed domain, meaning that organisations will need to show that they are registered as a Not for Profit to get a domain.

“.NGO will give immediate recognition for Australian Not for Profits that do great work in the community, whether locally or internationally,” said Brian Cute from PIR.

“With a large number of fundraising activities now being conducted online, .NGO will help Not for Profits in building trust with potential donors online.”

.NGO will also provide Not for Profits with an exclusive directory of worldwide non-government organisations, to help increase links and collaboration within the sector.

PIR is calling on Australian Not for Profits to help support its application to the domain name governing body, ICANN (the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers)
for the new .NGO top level domain.

“We want to prove to ICANN that the Not for Profit sector worldwide needs .NGO and that they support PIR in this important initiative,” Cute said.

“As a Not for Profit ourselves and the successful operator of the 25-year-old .ORG domain extension, we are ideally positioned to run .NGO.”

A U.K. charity also wants to win the right to create a secure Top Level Domain (TLD) name at .NGO.

Dr Victoria Harris, the founder of a UK-based international NGO called Article 25, which handles post-disaster re-construction, says that she has initiated a dotNGO campaign, putting finances together to make an application to ICANN.

Harris says that with the support of international partners and funders she is working to create a generic Top Level Domain (gTLD) specifically for the Charitable and Non Governmental Organisation sector.

She says “the main aim is that the new TLD will improve security and potentially reduce online fraud in the sector and become a global hub for the sector”.

“It will mean that only organisations within the sector could apply for domain names within the gTLD, such as; other people from outside of the sector would not be able to apply, potentially reducing fraud.”

The cost to make an application to ICANN is $US187,000 with a discounted rate available for some first time applicants. The cost to Australian Not for Profits to register as a .NGO is not yet clear.

The ICANN website says it is most likely that a charity will be able to register a .ngo second level domain with the same organisations who currently register domain names, such, with a separate validation process bolted on by the .ngo organisation to ensure they are entitled to do so.

ICANN says the new domain name program will greatly expand the current 22 Top-Level Domains such as .com, .gov and .net to include almost any word or name. It also allows, for the first time, non-Latin language scripts such as Arabic, Chinese and Cyrillic to be used in a gTLD.

.ORG is already the home for millions of Not for Profit websites, including charitable, artistic, scientific, personal, educational, social, cultural and religious sites world wide. PIR says it receives $6 per year from every registered .org.

ICANN says the deadline to register in the TLD Application System is March 29.

ICANN says it will publish a list of the applications and who has applied for which domain name in early May.

The decision on how new domains within new gTLDs will be distributed is being finalised by ICANN late in 2012.

To find out more about the PIR .NGO campaign go to

To find out more about the UK campaign go to 

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fifty percent accurate

Only about half of the above is true. But it is close! The parties described exist but several players in the piece are missing and the two parties mentioned are both promoting the community bid together, while an organisation called Domain Venture Partners, an investment fund, is intending to go ahead as a commercial "standard" bidder, head to head with the community bid.

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