Introducing .NGO/.ONG at @InsideNGO’s Annual Conference, Exclusively for the NGO Community

Last week, Public Interest Registry had the privilege to exhibit at this year’s annual InsideNGO conference in Washington, D.C. InsideNGO is a membership association that focuses on strengthening “inside” operational staff members and leadership in the international NGO sector; this particular event provides members of the NGO community with the opportunity to share strategies, solutions, policies and procedures with one another. This was Public Interest Registry’s first time attending, and we truly benefited from the experience.

Many if not most of today’s NGOs occupy the digital space by sharing their story and working for a cause through a .ORG website. As the longtime operator of the .ORG domain, it was inspirational for us to meet face-to-face with the members of some of the amazing organizations currently using .ORG to advance their mission. Still, we recognize that the biggest issues that these NGOs seem to face are money, resources and sustainability. With that being said, we were delighted to present a new offering to these members, an invaluable tool for NGOs across the world, that Public Interest Registry will soon make available: .NGO (.Non-governmental organization) and .ONG (the translated equivalent of .NGO for regions that speak romance languages) domains.

Expected to launch January 2015, .NGO/.ONG will be closed domains, accessible only for validated NGOs, and they will be offered as a bundle, meaning, a single registration includes both domains. Obtaining the .NGO/.ONG domains will also mean inclusion to our NGO Hub – an online community where NGOs can find and communicate with each other, donors, volunteers, and potential partners. Think of it like “a Facebook for NGOs” that will feature profile pages and the ability to search for NGOs by name, cause or region.

The feedback that we received from the conference attendees about .NGO/.ONG domains was positive and enthusiastic. Many wanted to know when and where they could sign up. Here are some of the most common questions we received at Inside NGO:

1)     I know .NGO is something my organization will want to utilize. What can I do now in preparation for the .NGO launch?

Answer: You can go to www.globalngo.org for the latest news and updates about .NGO/.ONG, and subscribe to our newsletter. At globalngo.org, you can also submit a free and unbinding Expression of Interest (EOI) for the .NGO/.ONG web address you desire.

2)     I’m on a .ORG website right now. Do I need to switch from my .ORG if I want to buy .NGO/.ONG?

Answer: We actually encourage NGOs to keep both web addresses. Here are a couple of reasons why:

  • To maintain brand equity. Since your organization has already invested in building a brand under .ORG, your supporters likely already recognize you as a .ORG, and we believe that there is great value to maintain and continue with this trusted recognition.
  • To increase brand awareness. Because .NGO/.ONG is a validated domain, it would be advantageous to use this extension to show the world that your organization is a validated NGO. When people see the extension to the right of the dot in your organization’s web address, it will be understood that you have undergone a vetting process to attain this.
  • To secure your brand name. If another NGO has a name that is similar to yours, it will be important to distinguish yourself and minimize confusion from the consumer perspective.

3)     How much will .NGO/.ONG cost?

  • The price has not yet been finalized, however, if you sign up for our newsletter on globalngo.org, you’ll be one of the first to know when we release pricing information.

In fact, as we get closer to the launch of .NGO/.ONG we will certainly provide more updates including the development of the NGO portal through our monthly NGO newsletter. To sign up for this newsletter is highly encouraged.

Our ultimate goal is to reach as many NGOs across the globe as possible and create a place online for meaningful connections. Please, help us spread the word about .NGO/.ONG and share the guide below!

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You may also view this guide here: http://www.ngotld.org/files/NGOFlyer_Final.pdf

We would like to just give a quick thanks to InsideNGO for organizing this important annual event. We are very fond of the work that this organization does to help provide NGOs with more resources and opportunities. And thank you to everyone who stopped by to visit us in the exhibit hall! It was a pleasure meeting you all, and we look forward to connecting again soon in the future.

Why Are Brands Abandoning gTLD Applications? by @JenWolfe of @Wolfedomain

Original Source Posted by Jennifer Wolfe on Wed, Jun 05, 2013 @ 02:36 PM

A number of brands have recently fallen from the list of visionary companies applying for gTLDs. Hasbro’s Transformers, Hilton, GM’s suite of gTLDs and Heinz have all decided to pull their gTLD applications, opting out of participating in the first paradigm shift of the Internet.

Why? There two likely reasons — companies are having difficulty responding to ICANN’s clarifying questions that were designed more for an open registry than for brands, or they are balking at the costs associated with applying for and migrating to a gTLD environment.

In the grand scheme of business, both of these reasons are shortsighted, as companies with gTLDs will have significant brand differentiation and innovation opportunities as compared to those who have not applied.

The clarifying questions that may be troubling to brands involves explaining their gTLD strategies and financial models, as brands may not have determined their exact strategies or financial models at this point. However, a response does not need to include a full-blown list of plans.

For most brands, their gTLD strategy simply involves a migration of their .com business model into a top-level domain environment. While this could certainly evolve as new ways of using gTLDs are revealed, the basic model is pretty straightforward. In addition, costs are projected to be the same as operating a .com, plus the specific registry functions of a gTLD, and revenue should not be expected to change at the get-go.

The other primary reason that brands may be dropping off is that they question the value of continuing the application process and see the cost of operating the gTLD as much higher than with .com. While there is certainly a higher cost involved, I would challenge brands to consider whether the cost savings from dropping out is worth more than the value of moving forward. The answer for any large company is “no.”

To break this down:

1.  The cost to apply for a gTLD is $185K.

2.  The cost to migrate .com over and run the gTLD is approximately $250K per year (before you consider investing in innovative ideas). This cost represents significantly more opportunity and responsibility than .com, as brands own and can therefore leverage all the Big Data opportunities.If gTLDs don’t change everything, then this costs about as much as a bad ad campaign or a spot during the SuperBowl that doesn’t work. For big car companies, hotels or even the mighty Transformers, this amounts to a rounding error.

3.  If gTLDs do change the way everyone uses the Internet, then this is a cheap investment for owning critical Internet real estate and being one step ahead of competitors. And if gTLDs do transform the digital world and you abandon, then you are likely to go through this process again in the next round — not to mention wasting the investment thus far.

4.  I have talked with many C-suite executives at Fortune 500 companies, and most of them don’t want to be the leader who didn’t make a relatively small investment in the next big thing just because they couldn’t figure out how to answer some challenging questions.

This gold rush of the Internet is a calculated risk worth taking — acquiring the real estate you want is critical, and the price is well worth it. If everything changes and you have drop out while competitors stayed in, you could lose market position.

So don’t quit while you are ahead. Think creatively, get better advice, and consider that the cost of dropping out is far greater than staying the course of opportunity.