If You Develop a .org, Buy the .com
To me, this is common sense, but to many outside of the domain industry, it might not necessarily be standard operating procedure. While developing my geodomains, I worked with a number of local non-profit organizations in order to add free listings to my websites. Oftentimes, the organizations have a website which uses a .org domain name. Generally, I recommend that .com is used when available, but .org is the right choice for most organizations because of the trust factor and consumer awareness of the .org “brand.”
One thing which I’ve also noticed is that a lot of these organizations that use the .org don’t think about registering the .com of their website, and it’s available for anyone to purchase. This is bad in my opinion, and at the least, they should own the .com and forward it to their website. Not only are most people trained to type-in .com, but some web browsers automatically enter the .com at the end of a keyword string. Having the .com unregistered can lead to a bad web browsing experience if the .com is assumed to be the correct address.
Organizations who use .org domain names and leave the .com available to register are taking two risks. The first risk is that a visitor will assume .com, and when they type it in, they will be taken to a page that doesn’t resolve. Additionally, if they leave the .com available, someone with ill-intentions can register it and do a number of malicious things.
When I see this happen, I do my best to let the organization know that registering the .com is important, although I am somewhat surprised at the resistance. Recently, I noticed a few Jewish synagogues owned TempleBethXXXXX.org and the .com was available to register. I ended up buying these domain names and forwarding them on to the .org website as a friendly gesture without telling them. IMO, they probably won’t ever know, but if one person types it in, I am happy to help.
For those who are more technically inclined, I’ve also encouraged organizations to monitor the .com registration (if it’s taken and not developed) using DomainTools and to place a back order for it at Snapnames. Owning the .com is not essential for an organization operating online at a .org, but it’s important.
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