5 Simple Steps to Protecting Your .ORG Domain Names
Every day, approximately 2,000 .ORG domain names become available because domain holders, also known as registrants, allowed them to expire or were unaware that the domain names were up for renewal. And every day, those same .ORG domain names become vulnerable to companies and individuals who can exploit them for economic gain, without regard for their actual use or meaning. The process of obtaining expired domain names has become sophisticated, automated, and increasingly popular. And the consequences to the original .ORG domain holders can be serious.
What are the consequences? One notable example is the case of a rape crisis center that was converted to a hyperlink haven for sex toys and subscription-based pornographic sites. While the damage need not be so extreme, your .ORG domain name is a valued and trusted resource. And the more well-traveled your site, the more attractive you domain name becomes.
PIR is taking steps to protect .ORG domain name holders from this kind of domain trading. We believe the best way to protect your .ORG domain name is to take proactive and preventive measures.
A checklist for protecting your .ORG
PIR recommends that .ORG registrants ensure the security of their .ORG domains by taking the following 5 simple steps.
1. Verify registration of your .ORG domain names
Whether you registered your .ORG yourself or whether someone else in your organization was responsible for registering it, it’s essential that you verify that you or an authorized representative of your organization has been named as the registrant.
A simple visit to the WHOIS database at PIR's Web site is a good first step. There you can view the name of the registrant, administrative contact, and technical contact for your .ORG domains. You can also find the name of the registrar through which your .ORG domain was registered.
2. Verify and update .ORG administrative contact information regularly
Consider making it organizational policy to regularly verify and update .ORG domain name information. If it’s your responsibility to keep the information updated, put it on your calendar for verification twice a year. If instead it’s the responsibility of a staff member, instruct the staff member to schedule the task for twice a year. In fact, having two staff members responsible for checking domain information is even better. PIR recommends that a senior-level individual within your organization be named administrative contact. Any information pertaining to your .ORG domain that needs changing can be updated by contacting and working with your registrar.
3. Check that e-mail contact information is valid
Registrars are the organizations that provide registration services for the public, and the most common way they notify .ORG registrants of domain name renewal is by e-mail. If you can’t be reached by e-mail, it’s possible your domain name will expire without your knowledge. Therefore, it’s essential that the e-mail addresses on file with your registrar be current. Consider using a paid e-mail account rather than a free account. Free accounts can be suspended and are difficult to track, which increases the possibility of your not receiving notification of a renewal. You can see whose e-mail address is on file when reviewing your .ORG domain-name WHOIS information at www.pir.org. And you can update your e-mail contact information by contacting and working with your registrar.
4. Consolidate .ORG domain names
It is not uncommon for individuals, organizations, and companies to have more than one .ORG domain name. It’s even possible for .ORG domain names to be registered with different registrars. Today it’s easier than ever to transfer domain names from one registrar to another registrar, which helps simplify management of .ORG domain names. Many registrars offer domain-name consolidation services—such as domain portfolio management systems—that enable you to establish a master account to view all of your domain names regardless of their expiration dates.
5. Register your .ORG for maximum period of time
The maximum registration period for a .ORG domain name is 10 years. Consider registering yours for the maximum period of time at initial registration or even at the time of renewal.
Have you protected your .ORG?
The protectyour.org campaign was launched by PIR to raise awareness of the risks of losing a domain name and to offer protective measures for registrants of .ORG domain names. PIR is a not-for-profit corporation created in 2002 by the Internet Society and is charged with managing the .ORG top-level domain.