Charity web domain name should be run by a not-for-profit, NCVO tells consultation

By Tim Tonkin, Third Sector Online, 2 August 2012

.charity domain name

.charity domain name

It would then reflect the values of the organisations that would use it, says the sector umbrella body

The National Council for Voluntary Organisations is calling for the proposed .charity global top-level domain name to be run by a not-for-profit organisation and not sold by private companies.

The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, the body responsible for accrediting domain name providers, has received nearly 2,000 applications for new domain names, including .charity and .ngo. But while the Public Interest Registry, a not-for-profit organisation, has applied for the domain name .ngo, two private companies – Corn Lake LLC and Spring Registry – have applied for the name .charity.

Icann is holding a consultation about the proposed new global top-level domain names and is seeking contributions from a wide number of organisations.    

In his submission to the Icann consultation, Karl Wilding, head of policy and research at the NCVO, argues that the .charity domain name should be administered by a not-for-profit organisation. "We believe the .charity, if established, should be run by a non-profit organisation and operated on the same basis as the .org. Our rationale is that the global top-level domain would then be operated in a manner that reflects the mode of operation and values of those organisations for whom the global top-level domain is clearly intended."

He says that "a for-profit registrar will not have an intrinsic interest in protecting the charity brand by limiting it to bona fide charities in different legal jurisdictions". Instead, the primary motivation of private companies would be to encourage the maximum take-up of the .charity domain name.

Wilding says he is concerned that a wide take-up of the .charity domain name could result in "non-bona fide organisations" taking on the domain, which in turn could damage public trust and confidence in charities.

The consultation on the applications is open until 12 August.

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