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CASE Questions .NGO Domain Names For Australian Non-Profits

March 5, 2012

In September last year, we reported PIR; operators of  the .ORG registry, were applying for the creation and control of a .NGO extension under ICANN's gTLD initiative; with view to the extension being a global domain name for non-profits. 

The process continues and during the time since that news item was published, Australian non-profit organisations have reportedly been contacted by an Australian consultancy firm working for PIR; asking non-profits to sign an online petition in support of their application.

One of those non-profits, Computing Assistance Support & Education Inc (CASE) has expressed concerns over the NGO extension in relation to Australian organisations.

In a post on CASE's blog published a few weeks ago, CASE President Darrell Burkey pointed out domain names have served the Australian sector well for years.

"Australian non-profits benefit from a domain name system that is recognized world wide as having the highest of integrity," Mr. Burkely states. ".. when you see a domain name using or you can be confident that you are dealing with a legitimate Australian non-profit organisation."

Domain names ending in ORG.AU can only be registered by registrants representing a charity operating in Australia, as defined in the registrant's constitution or other documents of incorporation - and checks are in place to ensure those criteria are observed.

Mr. Burkey believes a new domain name extension for non-profits will also require "defensive registration". This is where a company, group or individual registers a name to prevent others from doing so in order to prevent brand confusion - or worse.

Mr. Burkey also states defensive registration will mean non-profits will have yet another name to license and manage, one that will be of "little value" as it won't identify the group as an Australian non-profit.

Given these concerns, CASE has recommended organisations do their own research and consider the proposal carefully before indicating their support of a .NGO domain name.

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