Should Australian non-profit organisations support a proposal for a new global Top Level Domain name of .NGO?

That’s the question being asked by the Public Interest Registry, a US based organisation currently managing the .ORG domain name space, who are proposing that a new domain name of .NGO be established for the exclusive use of community sector organisations worldwide.

Australian non-profit organisations are currently being contacted by Fenton Communications, a Melbourne based consultancy firm working for PIR, to sign an online petition in support of this initiative. A flyer being distributed by email urges groups to support the push for a .NGO domain name to assist PIR in proving that there is a need for a domain that gives recognised credibility to not-for-profit organisations.

After discussions with Fenton Communications and the Australian Domain Administration, CASE President Darrell Burkey stated,

“CASE has worked closely with the Australian Domain Administration over the years representing the needs of Australian non-profit organisations. It appears that Public Interest Registry may not be familiar with how well the Australian domain name system operates.

Thanks to the hard work of volunteers who initially managed the domain name system in Australia and the establishment of a Domain Name Administration some years ago, Australian non-profits benefit from a domain name system that is recognized world wide as having the highest of integrity. The result of this work is that when you see a domain name using or you can be confident that you are dealing with a legitimate Australian non-profit organisation.

While we understand and support the need for US based organisations to work towards the same level of domain name integrity that we have in Australia, we do not believe adding new domain names is the best strategy to achieve that goal.

The addition of a new domain name for non-profits will require ‘defensive registration’ which we see as one of the greatest concerns with the use of domain names overall. If .NGO is created most non-profit organisations will have yet another domain name that they will want to license and manage. In this case the domain name will be of little value because it will not identify the non-profit as an Australian non-profit organisation.”

It remains to be seen if there will be any support for a new .NGO domain name for the use of all non-profits globally. We would like to encourage the Public Interest Registry to work with the Australian Domain Administration and involve Australian domain name stakeholders before seeking support of such an initiative.

CASE strongly recommends that member organisations do their research and consider the proposal carefully before indicating their support for the establishment of a new global domain name for non-profit organisations.