Why the .ngo TLD Will Not Take Any Success Away From .orgPosted: February 18, 2012
In the midst of the new TLD application period and inching closer to when new TLDs will hit the internet, discussions about specific new TLDs are starting to happen. One in particular seems to have had a few lively debates – .ngo.
Why is .ngo a notable new TLD? PIR, the registry in charge of .org, is the one applying for it. Certainly that adds some legitimacy to the possibility of .ngo succeeding, as PIR knows a thing or two about running a successful extension.
Another reason why it’s notable isn’t so much that it will be a new extension targeting organizations (specifically non-governmental organizations) but that it will require qualifications. Essentially, a registrant will need to prove they’re an actual NGO before they can get a .ngo.
Obviously .org was originally intended for non-profit organizations, but it has never mandated registrants to be one. For-profit companies can freely and openly register a .org domain and do business on .org. Some who believe that .ngo will succeed point to the fact that only actual NGOs will be able to get the domains, setting it apart from .org and possibly helping it gain higher trust.
Certainly, on paper some of the factors in favor of .ngo would make it seem like a shoo-in success. In reality however, it will result in a confusing mess and the more established .org, which already contains high trust, will continue its long-term success.
Why will .ngo not take any success away from .org?
1. People already trust .org despite the lack of restrictions
The .org extension holds a higher trust than .com despite lack of restrictions, and people still have a preconceived notion that a site on .org is not seeking profit because most of them aren’t. This takes away most of the reasoning behind an organization getting a .ngo.
In fact, as a newer extension, .ngo may face trust issues in the eyes of visitors despite its requirements. Visitors likely won’t know the requirements of .ngo, so the only way they would know to trust it as much as .org is over time with having been to a lot of .ngo sites. It needs to have some popular sites before that would ever happen, so it’s hampered right from the beginning.
2. The largest existing organizations won’t likely move to .ngo
Have you ever moved a website to a new domain? Even if it’s on the same hosting, it’s quite a pain. Not only that, but you would have to change your URL on all marketing materials, documentation and so forth. With larger organizations, there can actually be a significant time and money cost for switching domains.
What will likely happen is that many of them may feel the need to get a .ngo domain, but will redirect it to their existing .org presence. That won’t really help .ngo succeed at all however – .ngo needs large popular organizations actually based on .ngo and not on .org in order to see any potential long-term success.
3. Visitors expect organizations to be on .org
Trust factor aside, the moment that .ngo hits, where will people expect to see organizations? On a .org domain. With .org closing in on 10 million registrations, .ngo has a huge mountain to climb before it could ever change that expectation. For over 20 years, .org has essentially been synonymous with organization. It will take an unprecedented effort to get that to change.
4. New organizations will still predominantly use .org
Why do new businesses predominantly use .com domains? Because established businesses are using .com and they know that’s where people expect to find businesses. While .ngo certainly may entice some new organizations, the vast majority of them will do what new organizations have been doing, looking at the existing examples and following suit.
5. “Org” flows better than “NGO”
In a day and age when shortness is a factor for brands in just about every capacity, a new TLD that would add 2 more syllables than an established TLD is not that enticing. That will hurt the appeal of anyone intending to advertise the brand on TV or radio, and in general the extension would hurt word-of-mouth as it’s more of a mouthful to say.
In the end, .ngo illustrates the struggle that a lot of new TLDs will face – how to break the stranglehold that the already established trusted extensions have on the internet. It faces an additional struggle considering there’s already an extension that serves its purpose.
One thing will certainly pique my interest when .ngo hits: Which lucky NGO will end up with the awesome domain hack Bi.ngo?