The .ngo and .ong domain names are now available to all nonprofits. The open registration follows a sunrise period where organizations that had trademark names could register and a limited registration period for any nonprofits that had expressed prior interest. About 1,000 nonprofits have signed up since the sunrise period, according to domain provider Public Interest Registry (PIR).
Nonprofits registering get the domain and a suite of services called OnGood, which consists of validation by the Reston, Va.-based PIR, listing in a searchable registry, a profile page and a donate now button on that page.
“We did three years of outreach to the NGO community and listened to their pain points,” said PIR CEO Brian Cute. “This gives NGOs visibility, the ability to be found by donors and to raise funds directly.”
The first step is to go to the PIR website and purchase a domain name from one of the registrars. Cute said the market rate that the registrars set hovers around $50 per year. PIR wants the new domains to draw online grassroots organizations that have never had an Internet presence. “Reaching them is difficult and challenging,” said Cute, especially when they’re in underserved areas like most of Africa and parts of Asia, eastern Europe and Latin America.
“For that reason we created our own retailer, Enset, at the retail level that will focus on underserved markets,” Cute said. “We know it’s important not just to get mid-sized and large nonprofits to sign up, but to get the grassroots organizations that have historically not been online.”
Cute said he does not yet know how many donors have searched OnGood’s database or donated through a profile page. “We’re in the early days. That will be important going forward,” he said. He expects the number of registrations to ramp up in the coming months. “The sunrise period was for trademark holders exclusively. We never expected a very high volume. As we go beyond the first day, we expect to see the volume increase,” said Cute.