New domain name .ngo would be for charities only

Human rights charity Article 25 proposes internet scheme to be funded by philanthropists

Human rights charity Article 25 has proposed a consortium of charities to run a new internet domain name that would be available only to not-for-profit groups.

The charity wants the proposed consortium to raise $185,000 (£112,000) and bid for a .ngo domain because it says the .org address is open to abuse by fraudulent groups.

Its suggestion follows an announcement from internet regulatory body Icann that from 2010 onwards any organisation will be allowed to bid to run new internet domains.

Victoria Harris, chief executive of Article 25, told Third Sector Online her organisation wanted to put together a consortium of charities that would ask philanthropists and corporate firms for funding to bid for and run the new domain.

"Lack of regulation has meant that commercial entities, individuals and even professional criminals have been able to register websites with .org suffixes quite legally, with no check on their identities or intentions," she said.

"In order to have a web address ending in .ngo, a group would have to prove to the consortium that it was a genuine charity. Once consumers realise that legitimate charitable organisations are regulated by the .ngo domain name, the battle against fraud will start to be won."

Article 25 will hold meetings with interested charities and umbrella groups to discuss a framework for the scheme over the next few months.

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