Public Interest Registry To Expand Available Domains

Consumers will soon have to get used to seeing web addresses such as .foundation, .giving, .charity and .gives. And, the users of those extensions don’t necessarily have to be tax-exempt entities.

Public Interest Registry (PIR) in Reston, Va., the operator of the .ORG top-level domain (TLD), has acquired the .giving extension from Giving Limited. Once the transfer is finalized, PIR will offer access to the new TLD to help mission-driven organizations, not just tax-exempt organizations, expand an online presence.

PIR also announced that it will issue a Request for Proposal (RFP) for its Registry Service Provider (RSP) contract in the second half of 2023.

Here’s how it all works: The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) helps to coordinate the Domain Name System (DNS), which matches domain names to the corresponding Internet Protocol (IP) addresses, a unique address that identifies a device on the internet or a local network.

For each generic TLD (.org, .com, .net, etc.) in the DNS, ICANN contracts with a Registry Operator to maintain and operate the authoritative registry database of domain names. PIR, for example, is the Registry Operator of the .ORG TLD. 

PIR also will become the steward of the .foundation, .charity, and .gives TLDs. These TLDs will be transferred to PIR by Donuts, Inc., a Bellevue, Wash.-based firm that manages more than 200 TLDs. The intention is to provide additional options for organizations and leaders seeking to differentiate their brands and engage with their communities of interest.

“PIR recognizes that more and stronger mission-driven organizations make the world a better place, and we also know that each mission-driven organization has different needs for establishing its online presence,” said Jon Nevett, president and CEO of PIR. “While .ORG will continue to be the gold standard for mission-driven organizations, the expansion of our mission-driven TLD portfolio will provide leaders complementary options for branding, marketing, and differentiating their organizations.”

Organizations applying to use the extensions can be for-profit firms and PIR does not do pre-application vetting of the organizations. There is a process to revoke access after complaints and an investigation by PIR, said Nevett.

PIR is also making two TLDs — .ngo and .ong — easier to use, according to Nevett. At the end of 2020, PIR streamlined its validation process so that organizations can acquire and use .ngo and .ongdomains faster. Building on this change, PIR now is proposing to fully separate the .ngo and .ong registrations. This will simplify how organizations support their brands and make it easier for PIR’s registrar partners to support the TLDs. Nevett said PIR will follow the ICANN processes for review and approval of these proposed changes in the coming months.