When to Develop .org Geodomains

org over comThis advice goes against much of what I’ve said about geodomain names during the past couple of years, but hear me out. I am very interested to hear what David Castello has to say about my rationale – and I look forward to his comment, which I bet will happen soon. There is a time when developing a .ORG geodomain is a smart thing to do.

I will preface this by saying that I believe .org domain names are perceived by Joe Interweb as trustworthy, which is what you need for a website. The problem is that many people confuse .org with .com, and if the topic/content is similar, they are likely to just stay on the .com, patronizing the advertisers and making hotel reservations on that site. It’s easy to lose a potential customer due to confusion if you own the .org and not the .com, which is why I think many organizations own their .com, too, and forward traffic to the .org.

In any case, the perfect time to develop a .org geodomain is when the .com is a fully developed business completely unrelated to the city/town/region. If you visit Concord.com hoping to find information about Concord, New Hampshire, you will end up on Computer Associates’ website, and you will scratch your head and say, “shoot, I thought my buddy told me to go to Concord.com to make my hotel reservation. Shoot – what was that address again?   Oh yeah Concord.org!

If a person is looking for Lowell.org but types in Lowell.com, I hope that my site will give them more than enough information about Lowell, Massachusetts and they won’t even remember that they were initially looking for Lowell.org.

One example of a great .org domain name to develop is a name I am bidding on at Snapnames, but I probably won’t win. Worcester.org is up for auction (August 3), and I think this is a great domain name to develop because of what I said above. I am having a tough time managing 3 geo websites, so I doubt I’d have time to develop this, too – although I will be bidding less than I think it’s worth just in case.

So why is Worcester.org a great domain name to develop? For starters, I have tried to buy Worcester.com with no luck (even with a serious offer). The domain name is being used for its nameservers right now and doesn’t resolve. Worcester is a great city in central Massachusetts that’s home to a professional minor league hockey team, several colleges, many big companies, and is centrally located, making it great for conferences and events. The Worcester Centrum (now the DCU Center) hosts concerts and other events – I remember commercials for the Monster Truck rallies held their annually.

Anyhow, since it doesn’t appear that Worcester.com will be developed into a geodomain any time soon, I think the .org would make a great acquisition.

There are other similar .org domain names that are ripe for development.

Elliot Silver
Elliot Silver
About The Author: Elliot Silver is an Internet entrepreneur and publisher of DomainInvesting.com. Elliot is also the founder and President of Top Notch Domains, LLC, a company that has closed eight figures in deals. Please read the DomainInvesting.com Terms of Use page for additional information about the publisher, website comment policy, disclosures, and conflicts of interest. Reach out to Elliot: Twitter | Facebook | LinkedIn


  1. This was a good read Elliot.

    I picked up a geo.org last year simply because the city used a longer version of it and i figured there was some traffic. I was right, about 90 type-ins per day.

    The city uses “CityOf(city name).org” so plenty of people just go to (city name).org.

    If you have situations like this, I think there is some good opportunity.

  2. I agree with your assessment here Elliot. There are quite a few city names, that are being used by companies/ventures with that same name. I also think a .net can be used here too. Though some domainers will deride .net, joe average still relates .net to the internet and will use it.

    (and a ‘big thanks’ for stirring up even more interest in Worcester. 🙁 )

    • @Kevin

      LOL… there were 36 bids already

      BTW, on second inspection, the name is still registered to the CVB, still resolves to the CVB website, and it looks like they renewed it, so I don’t know if this one is actually going to drop.

  3. I would actually seek out the “visit”geo.com version before the “.net” and “.org”. Plus it might save you some money for content!

    A large branding effort has been put into “visit” over “.net” and “.org” by many of the state tourism departments.

    Look at the traffic for: VisitFlorida.com, VisitDelaware.com, VisitMaine.com, etc.

    • @JS

      To me, VisitFlorida.com call to action sounds like “visit Florida.com” – great branding for Florida.com.

      I saw an Amtrak billboard advertising VisitMaine.com, and I instantly was impressed that the tourism board had purchased Maine.com… but I was wrong.

  4. the avg user, after typing the dot com and not finding the target site, will turn to google, bing, etc – i doubt someone will f/u a failed dot com type-in w/ a dot org type-in – i understand building a successful site involves much more than type-in traffic but i’m not sure dot org is the way to go here.

  5. When do you develop a dotOrg Geodomain? You don’t 🙂

    I don’t like building sites to give traffic to someone else. And if anyone still believes that dotOrg doesn’t give traffic to dotCom, check out Andrew Alleman’s recent post here: http://domainnamewire.com/2009/07/20/think-tank-loses-hilarious-arbitration-for-com-of-its-name/

    Seriously, there is a perfectly fine time to develop a dotOrg Geodmain – when your site is non-profit (which is what dotOrg is supposed to be about.

  6. Org = non-profit, agreed. But ccTLD = geo, this is overlooked. Dot-com works great but geo.ccTLD is a pure geodomain, IMHO.

  7. I believe dotUs is viable for getting some overseas traffic because some foreigners consider dotUs to be our ccTLD. However, in the US, Americans (by far) consider dotCom to be our TLD while the rest of the world sees dotCom as a mixture of US and global TLD status.

    The problem with a dotUs Geo would be selling advertising to local businesses. Local businesses are way behind the curve and I wouldn’t wish that on anyone.

  8. A well timed post after MHB’s post today where a handfull of people said they would buy Monroe.net because it was a geo, and then again alot of others (including myself) voted sell.

    .org isn’t that bad, if you get the right one IMHO. I know I plug these all the time, but I’ve got AmericanHistory.org, WorldHistory.org, & MilitaryHistory.org, all 3 fully developed running blogs, and I have to say I am not dissapointed with them at all. They all had traffic before development and it has only grown exponentially since. Of course the .com’s would be great, but to Elliot’s credit from this article, all the .com’s are not that close a competitor which I’m sure helps. I’m sure I lose some traffic to it, but when they get to the .com’s they know it wasn’t what they were looking for, and only really a problem on repeat visitors getting it wrong.

  9. I’ve just had a couple of domainers email me privately and ask for a ranking of TLDs for US Geodomains. Here’s my take, but I want to preface it by saying that Michael and I don’t chase anything down except dotCom. The last major US Geodomains we purchased were Nashville.com and LongBeach.com in 2003. Did we pay a lot? Yes, at the time, but I’ve always believed that you get what you pay for:

    1) Com (the gold standard)
    2) Org (legacy TLD)
    3) Net (legacy TLD)
    4) Us (USA’s ccTLD for some foreigners)
    5) Tv (Wild card. Lot of potential. Lot I don’t like.)

    That being said, I hope every domainer strikes it rich no matter which TLD they support. Just being in this business is half the effort.

  10. I just put up an info webpage for a .org of an exact small town name in Canada, and it appears third on Bing after a few days of submitting the url to them! With .org’s reputation, people might be more likely to click on the site in a search engine listing due to trust in the extension. Losing some traffic to .com isn’t a huge deal IMO, every domain loses some typo traffic.

    I know a city name .net where the .com is a devlopped site for a company in a different country, been thinking about getting the .net for a city site.

    In Canada, most cities and towns were awarded their name in .ca (country code), so that option isn’t there like it is for .us

  11. I think there is only one reason to develop a .org (or .com / .net / .info / .biz / .ws…) – can it make money ?
    I am sorry, but giving traffic to someone else is not relevant…

  12. Love your blog Eliot and this one really caught my eye. Let me explain. I have more than a few pure .org geo names. Not names like Visit City, and so on. Just pure plain city/state names. Like a lot of people, I collect these more or less like a hobby or as one might collect baseball cards. Just fun.

    Are these names as good as .com. No. Not maybe, not kinda, not sorta of. They are not. Having said that and in all due respect to those who believe strongly in .com’s, I could live off these .orgs, all though I do not need to. My humble experience is that a lot of people actually trust .orgs, for whatever reason. What the .org registry proclaims, in my experience is true. I cannot tell you how many e-mails I get from people all over the world who think one of my .orgs are government related, and ask about everything from garbage collection to someones dog crapping on their lawn. They are typing in these addresses and they are clicking even in this environment.

    If I can elaborate on something, which I draw a very related parallel. I am not trying to boast or anything like that, so please do not take this the wrong way. I was in the communication business, starting in the early 60’s. I needed tower sites. Most of the highest points on the mountains were taken by AT&T, just like the good .com’s are taken now. A friend told me not to worry. He said AT&T had already done the hard work and found the best sites, just work out in all radials to find the closest land available for sale. I did, and bought up over 48 pieces of what was to become prime communication tower facilities which I sold for millions in my late 20’s. Try buying tower sites now and then when you get one, try getting approval to build it. Hold you hand right on your a-s. Good luck.

    Then I got my first television license. It was on a high number channel which laid fallow for years. Everyone laughed because it wasn’t as good as the lower channel numbers because of propagation characteristics and cost to run. The other guys would “eat me alive”. Yet there were only so many television channels available in America. Period. Just like .com’s, .net’s, and .org’s, if one assumes they might be the most sought after. At 34 I sold the piece of paper for many more millions. All those who laughed did what one might expect losers to do. They went back under the holes.

    So, in conclusion. Do I wish I had .com versions? Sure I do. But anyone who says .nets. or .orgs are no good is full of crap right up to their ears. Take that for what it is worth.

    • @Mark

      Thanks for the well thought out comment. You mentioned that people email you thinking you are a government-run entity (I get that too) which leads me to ask if you have your domain names developed. If so, how comprehensive are your sites, and if not, how do people find your email addresses?

      I agree that there is a trust factor, and many cities’ CVB operate on the city (or other variation) .org.

      I also agree that category defining .org domain names will probably increase in value over time, but I think that .coms will increase at a much greater rate.

      Overall, it looks like you’ve had some great successes, so I am glad that your vision is now in online real estate!

  13. I don’t think America sees dot-com as its ccTLD, I think America just doesn’t yet see its ccTLD, due to dot-com popularity.

    But dot-com is a mature extension and won’t fill future naming needs, whereas ccTLDs are still young, legit as a class of names worldwide, and next in line for mass popularity, not .net, .org. or other silly extensions. In fact .us is the world’s top selling extension right now says Verisign in their June/09 report i think. So .us is in line for a double, from global ccTLD growth/gTLD spillage and from the anomaly that .us market penetration is so/artificially low right now.

    Meanwhile it’s wrong when talking geodomains to downplay ccTLDs; they ARE geo. Fact that .us has some growth in front of it to match dot-com mindshare doesn’t alter this fact. Cheers,

  14. Elliot – I have several .org geodomains and they get some traffic without being developed, but nothing compared to what the .Com gets.

    But I believe there is tremendous value in the .ORG version, particularly for resale purposes. I have sold several GEO.org domains to end users for substantial prices because the company or organization is looking for that trust factor and they simply can’t afford or get their hands on the .COM’s which are mostly unubtainable at this point (for good ones).

    I recently acquired NorthProvidence.org and have already recieved 2 offers on it. Nothing I would accept, but still shows considerable interest. I will develop this one and see what happens. Report back later…

  15. If Florida Tourism is interested in creating a bilingual version of your site. Alcance Media Group can assist as we do for sites such as CIUSF, a guide to events and activities in San Francisco in English and Spanish.


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