The .org registry hopes to add .ngo – for Non-Governmental Organization – to its stable of top-level domains, when ICANN opens its new gTLD program next year.
It may well face competition for the domain, however.
It’s quite difficult to narrowly define what an NGO is, but the Public Internet Registry plans to adopt a fairly broad definition that will give it potentially “millions” of new registrants.
“We’re looking at global, regional, and local NGOs, we’re engaging with all of them,” said PIR chief Brian Cute. “This acronym is something that these organizations strongly identify with.”
Cute said PIR has letters of support from some NGOs already, but is not prepared to disclose the identities of its supporters just yet.
Many NGOs are based in emerging markets – according to Wikipedia, India has as many as 3.3 million of them. PIR hopes to encourage domain growth in developing nations, Cute said.
With that in mind, we’re probably not looking at super-premium pricing, though PIR is not talking specific details of its plan yet.
It will be a self-designated “community” application, meaning it will qualify for a Community Priority Evaluation in the event that ICANN receives more than one bid for .ngo.
When a CPE kicks in, applications are scored against a number of criteria and have to get 14 out 16 points in order to win a contested gTLD without going to auction.
Those 14 points are not easy to win, however. Even .ngo, with its commonly understood meaning, may be a hard call.
As it happens, there is already potentially one other .ngo bidder.
That initiative seems to have roughly similar goals to PIR — global, restricted, non-profit — and VeriSign seems to have been engaged as a possible registry services provider.
PIR plans to stick to its existing back-end infrastructure provider, Afilias.
As a community application, it will be a “closed domain”, Cute said. Unlike .org, there will be eligibility criteria to pass before you’re allowed to register a domain name.
PIR also plans to apply for internationalized domain name transliterations of .org, in Chinese, Hindi, Cyrillic and Arabic, Cute said.
Here‘s the site for the application.