When Buying .org Domain Names

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I am going through a huge list of .org domain names, and I happen to be sitting here with my fiancee (well, she just left when I started blogging). The list of names I am looking at consists of a couple thousand .org names in every vertical, language, tense…etc. My fiancee saw a few good names that I would have bought in a second if they were .com, but I explained to her why I wouldn’t buy them in the .org extension. I am happy to blog about my thoughts as I have been asked before.
I believe .org is a good extension if the name makes sense to be in the .org. Since .org stands for organization, I believe the name should either make sense as an association of the term or as a group of that specific term. While .org doesn’t get as much play with commercial domain names, you can still make a commercial venture out of an organization.
Soccer.org would be a great domain name for a soccerl-related organization. If I owned it, I would build a directory of soccer clubs throughout the country. You could offer teaching tools, organizational tools or other enticements to sign up for the organization. I don’t think a name like Grapes.org would make sense as a .org, because it just doesn’t make sense as an organization.
As far as I know, almost anyone can own or develop any type of domain name, with the exception of .gov, .edu, and some country codes. However, we need to keep in mind that consumers expect certain things from certain extensions. If a consumer navigates to a .gov website, they expect to see something related to and managed by the government. If they navigate to a .edu website, they expect and educational website owned by a school or teaching institution. Likewise, they would expect the .org to be managed by an organization or association related to the actual term in the domain name. This can be a big advantage.

1 COMMENT

  1. Hi Elliot, hope all is well, I have to agree with most of what’s said but…
    Have to disagree with Grapes.org, related : Winery Association or Organization would probably snatch that up!
    That’s where one person’s garbage is another one’s gold.
    I don’t own too many .Org’s for those same reasons, but if it will fit into the correct category as you mention I’d go for it.
    Regards,
    Frank

  2. Hi,

    I get your point about the domain fitting the extension.

    However regarding Grapes.org, I agree with Frank.

    Go to Google and type in “grape growers association”.

    When you see the page upon page results of so many grape grower organizations, I believe you will change your mind.

    Patrick

    ***UPDATED BY ELLIOT***

    Fair enough – I agree with you. But, there are plenty of .org names that don’t make sense.

  3. I wouldn’t touch .org for a commercial venture. You would simply be tossing direct navigation traffic to the .com version. However, .org can very effective for traditional non-profit organizations and it does have a high trust factor for that reason. We have a handful and have yet to buld them out. My favorite is SaltonSea.org (we just have a page up). Preserving the Salton Sea was a pet project of the late Sonny Bono and the topic carries a lot of political weight in the Palm Springs area. We’re looking for an organization to partner with on it.

  4. I have to agree with David, unless you are protecting your Brand and/or plan on using it as away of “Giving Back”… or using a revelant subject which in turn still promotes your commercial site.
    Love that SaltonSea.org concept! As well as promoting PalmSprings.com…used as I mentioned above 🙂

  5. People frequently trust .org sites more than .coms if they are looking for advice or information.
    If I was building an information based site (non-transactional) and was going to depend primarily on search traffic I frequently prefer the .org to most two word .coms
    If you are building a site designed to get sell ads for mortgage leads for example would you prefer Mortgage.org or MortgageGuide.com?

  6. Hmmm are you hinting i hold on to schoolsoccer.org a tad longer? 😉 was contemplating just yesterday whether to add it to the unload list.

    ***UPDATED BY ELLIOT***
    Personally, if I owned it, I would probably drop it. I’ve found development to be expensive, and I wouldn’t put my resources behind it – although I was a school soccer player through high school!

  7. HI Elliot:

    Thanks for your blog. It’s always a must read and as much a part of the morning ritual as coffee. Elliot, I was wondering what you think of .org for geo domains?

    Thanks.

    ***UPDATED BY ELLIOT***
    Thanks for the compliment – I could use some coffee right now!
    I am really iffy on them. I know when people hear me mention Lowell.com or Salinas.com, they are interested, which makes any discussion much easier. I don’t think you get the same response from the .org. Since development costs would be the same for both, I think you will earn a return much quicker on the .com. If you could get a great geo .org (like NewYork.org or Boston.org) where the .com was unavailable or unattainable, I say go for it.

  8. I agree with #2 above. Work well with SEO and they are trusted. While I do not own, VisitNewHampshire.org (Elliot’s home state), could the individual who does not develop that into a Visitor’s Guide like VisitCalifornia.org and many other states and cities. Couldn’t they develop and 1) Sell ads 2) and/or add Yahoo or Google Ads 3) Market their restaurants, in addition to providing visitor information 4) Market vacation rentals you may have, in addition to providing visitor information 5) Or marketing an attraction etc. I see potential and value.

  9. Mark,
    I think .org is great for a GEO **SITE**.
    But there is a big difference between a name you are going to build a site on, and a name you are going to build a **BUSINESS** on. I have lots of sites, but I have 3 that I consider businesses at this point.
    Sites can make you a lot of money, but if it is something you want to make up business cards for, make sales calls for and that you are thinking of in the long term, then that is when I would worry about the traffic leakage and market confusion that building on a .org would bring.
    If you are spending a few hundred or even a few thousand dollars to build out a site that may make you a few hundred or potentially even thousand per month (usually from search traffic), but that won’t be the focus of your time – then I think .org is a good choice.

  10. Yah development is pain in the a$$ and expensive. I am very glad i got the .org name that i got and i am developing it, but if i wasn’t in that industry and didn’t see specific use for .org, i would keep on looking for .com

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