The internet is a changing beast and in the next few years it will look very different – not just a sea of .coms, .govs and .nets but a white wash of .whatever .you .can .imagine.
Leading the way is the salacious .xxx but ICANN (Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers) is opening the doors to almost everything else afterwards.
So where does this leave credible non-profit organisations trying to differentiate themselves from fraudsters?
The Public Interest Registry (PIR), the non-profit organisation that managers the .ORG domain, is applying for the creation and management of a new .NGO domain that will be available exclusively to NGOs, non-profits and the community sector worldwide.
Unlike .ORG the new .NGO will be a closed domain, meaning that organisations will need to show that they are registered as a non-profit to get a domain.
“.NGO will give immediate recognition for Australian non-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 non-profits in building trust with potential donors online.”
.NGO will also provide non-profits to an exclusive directory of worldwide non-government organisations, to help increase links and collaboration within the sector.
Yet in order for this proposal to come to fruition, PIR needs to demonstrate that there is actually support for a dedicated .NGO domain name.
To do this they are calling on non-profit organisations to support the initiative via an online petition.
Applications to ICANN, the body that coordinates internet addresses, for new top level domains is closing soon so support for the new .NGO is needed now.
“We want to prove to ICANN that the non-profit sector worldwide needs .NGO and that they support PIR in this important initiative,” said Brian Cute from PIR.
All non-government charities and non-profits are being asked to support the .NGO initiative before its too late. Visit www.ngotld.org/support and sign the petition. Note that organisations are not under obligation to buy a .NGO domain by signing the letter of support.