The .org Domain Extension Continues Its Strong Growth

PIR, the .org registry, released their latest bi-annual report on .org with some interesting stats:

  • .org surpassed the 9.5 million registrations mark in October of 2011.
  • By end of December, .org domains under management increased to 9.6 million – a net gain of 411,002 for the second half of 2011.
  • .org experienced a consistent rate of increase, at 4.4 percent in the second half of 2011, compared to 4.7 percent in the first half.

The .org extension is one we’re very familiar with. In fact, the sale that truly launched my career in domains was a .org (sold to Kevin Bacon no less). Most people don’t realize all the strengths of the extension.

Why would you consider buying a .org?

1. For a non-profit organization

This should be obvious of course, but .org is the go-to extension for a non-profit organization. In fact, you’ll commonly see some of the largest organizations own both the .com and .org, but redirect the .com to the .org where they base their presence. There are reasons for this beyond simply highlighting that they’re a non-profit…

2. You’re in an area with a strong presence in .org

Per the graph in the PIR report, these areas have the highest “content density” in .org: Clubs & Groups, Charity, Schools, Environmental, Wiki & Open Source, Healthcare, Sports & Teams, Associations, Arts & Culture and Religion. So if your site has to do with any of those areas, it may indeed fit well with .org.

3. You want to gain people’s trust easier

If there is one area which looks to gain people’s trust, it’s the political realm. A huge amount of political sites are based on .org because there’s a certain level of trust that goes along with the extension. Besides politics, law and financial areas often take advantage of the trust factor on .org as well.

Yes, .com may be the most professional extension for a business, but .org tends to convey a higher trustworthiness due to all the non-profit organizations that use it. Many people WANT to help organizations or will slow down and hear out an organization sooner than they would a company. So even though not all .org domains house non-profit organizations, people subconsciously grant that level of trust to the extension as a whole.

4. Your site is informational

This may sound silly given there’s a .info extension, but .org may be the best extension for an informational site due to the trust factor. One of the goals of an informational site is for people to treat it as authoritative and continue coming back whenever they need the kinds of information it provides (and of course tell others about it). That .org trust factor helps people believe information on a .org site easier than on other extensions, including .info.

If anything, there is one site to thank for this: Wikipedia. It has become possibly the most useful and used purely informational site in the history of the web and has essentially made physical encyclopedias obsolete. Even though the information is gathered by users themselves (albeit moderated), there is almost a blind trust that everything on a Wikipedia entry is true.

5. Your site is based around help

Again, that trust factor comes into play if you offer any sort of help, especially if it’s free. People want to believe that a site with something helpful or a service to help them is truly about helping them and not about lining their own pockets. Even though a for-profit company can use .org, due to all the non-profits on the extension, that subconsciously comes to a visitor’s mind.

I mentioned some financial areas being prevalent on .org. One of them is debt relief, which is a financial area based around offering help to someone heavily in debt. While there are actually some non-profit organizations that offer debt relief solutions, there are some for-profit ones that use the .org extension for the trust factor and how it helps put visitors at east.

6. Exact match domain SEO

While we believe .org domains are strongest when they’re in an area that fits the extension, many people get .org domains purely for SEO, regardless of which area it is. Why? Because as SEOMoz and others have shown, Google likes .org, often at least as much as .com and sometimes more.

Just like we have said that the majority of poor sites on .info hurts the extension, the fact that there are a lot of truly good and helpful sites on .org has tended to help keep it in Google’s good graces. Additionally, since it is as old as .com and .net, you can get highly aged domains that can gain SEO benefits from that age.

I’m not at all surprised to see .org continuing to grow well. I believe it will continue to grow both in amount of registrations and in value of its domains for many years to come, as it is an extension with a purpose and with particular areas that bond well with it.

At Domainate, we can help you find and buy the right domain for your business or organization to enhance your identity and empower your marketing efforts. Yes, even non-profit organizations need a strong name to stand out and do well online. Contact us if you need a domain.

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