The changing internet: What organisations need to consider

The Internet is preparing for some major changes. In the next year, more than 1,400 domain extensions are expected to be introduced. Extensions we’ve become extremely familiar with – .CO.UK, .ORG and .COM – will be joined by new web addresses such as .BOOK, .MUSIC, .ECO and .SPORT.

In the UK, a recent survey by Public Interest Registry found that more than two-thirds of respondents were unaware these changes are coming, and that they will affect everyone from entrepreneurs to large organizations.

We don’t know which of the new domain names will have staying power, but there is great potential for community domains that bring groups together around a shared passion or interest.

The global non-profit community is scattered and organisations often work independently with few resources to make connections. After speaking to non-profits and Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) around the world, it was clear that the third sector would benefit from coming together in a new way.

This inspired Public Interest Registry, a nonprofit organisation, to apply for two community domain names: .NGO and .ONG. Within this sector, four other domain extensions (.foundations, .charity, .gives, and .giving) are also being proposed by commercial companies.

Organisations wanting to register .NGO/.ONG will need to meet validation requirements to qualify for the domain name; this is not the case with .ORG.UK today. Once registered, organisations with the .NGO/.ONG address can be listed in a global directory and given the opportunity to expand their profile with additional content such as videos and social media links.

The goal of .NGO/.ONG is to provide NGOs a secure and trusted online presence that enables organisations to increase engagement and awareness. According to a recent ORC International survey, 82 percent of people still think a website is the most trustworthy place online to get information on a charity or social cause; therefore, having a website with the .NGO extension would reinforce this sense of trust and immediately indicate that a particular group has been established as a validated NGO without reservation.

The Internet is an increasingly competitive landscape and new domain extensions will make it even more so by flooding audiences with additional choices. The third sector must be ahead of this change and it’s vital for organizations of all kinds to reaffirm their digital strategies.

In preparation for these changes, the first thing to know is that new domain extensions are launched in phases and each organization will ultimately have to decide which registration period is most appropriate for them. Typically, there are three key launch phases, they are:

  • The first phase is the Trademark Sunrise period. In order to participate in this period, an organization must register its trademark properties with the Trademark Clearinghouse.
  • The second phase is the Landrush period. If organizations do not register with the Trademark Clearinghouse, then this is the time when they can participate in the registration process. They will most likely pay a premium for their registration(s) during this period.
  • The third phase is General Availability, which is open to all organizations at market price.

Today, we know the Internet in terms of .CO.UK, .ORG and.COM, but the new normal on the web will soon result in a single organisation operating on multiple domain names – either pointing visitors to the flagship domain or taking advantage of different domains to be more descriptive of the market segment or the community they serve.

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