This week, Public Interest Registry exhibited at InterAction’s annual forum held in Washington, DC to promote .ORG and two new domain extensions that we intend to launch by mid-2014 — .NGO and .ONG (the .NGO equivalent for Spanish, Italian, French and other Romance languages). To say the very least, we were extremely pleased with the turnout of the conference.
InterAction is a wonderful organization (in its 29th year) that encourages individuals from public, private, and NGO sectors to engage, learn, and build together; to address shared challenges related to human rights, philanthropy, relief, education, and health; to develop solutions that will improve quality of life for people of the globe; and to work toward making Earth more sustainable.
There were a few things that really stuck out to us at this particular conference:
- Practically everyone who attended and/or exhibited at InterAction were already affiliated with organizations that use a .ORG website to promote themselves online. Those who have a .ORG address told us that they purposely chose this domain extension to let people know that they are part of a trusted, nonprofit community, and it’s a place to tell their stories and promote their cause(s). They like being a part of the .ORG family
- Many of these same individuals did in fact identify themselves as part of non-governmental organizations (NGOs). So, when they saw our .NGO/.ONG banner, the concept of NGO as a domain extension instantly clicked and they wanted it…badly! One comment that we received was, “Why hasn’t someone come up with this sooner?!”
- We were reminded that NGOs need a lot support at a grassroots level. We highly value our engagement with this group to better understand what they need from their local perspective. .
- One tool that stood out for us at this conference was the NGO Aid Map, which allows you to explore and learn about NGO projects taking place all around the world, to find new NGO partners, and to download and analyze open data associated with international aid and InterAction’s members. We think that this well serve as a great reference tool for the community.
Not surprisingly, there was one common question that many of the attendees had: Do we have to switch from .ORG to .NGO? The answer to this is NO! In fact, we encourage (validated) NGOs to have both domain names active for a couple of reasons:
- Maintain brand equity. Since your organization has already invested in building a brand under .ORG, there is no reason to eliminate this extremely valuable equity. Your supporters already recognize you as a .ORG, and we believe that there is great value to maintain and continue this trusted recognition.
- Increase brand equity. Because .NGO/.ONG is a validated domain; it would be advantageous to use this extension to show the world that your organization is a validated NGO.
- In addition, by having a .NGO/.ONG domain address, you can enter yourself into Public Interest Registry’s online directory of NGOs. You will be part of an online portal — think of this as a community hub for NGOs — that not only allows NGOs to find one another (by name, region, cause) and communicate about important issues, but it will also allow you to be more easily found by donors and volunteers. We truly hope to see that the fruition of our labor with this online space turns into elevated awareness of NGOs and their important work throughout the world.
We are still several months away from launching .NGO and .ONG; however, now is the time for NGOs to really start paying attention to what is happening on the Internet. The future is a digital world and we believe .NGO/.ONG will play a big part in this community.
If you or someone you know is affiliated with an NGO, please encourage them to visit www.ngotld.org for more information about .NGO/.ONG and, equally important, submit an Expression of Interest (EOI) for their own domain(s).
A big thank you to InterAction for allowing Public Interest Registry to exhibit at their event, and also to the volunteers that helped make the conference such a great experience. We cannot wait to launch our new domains in 2014.
The Public Interest Registry Team