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Initially the .org extension was intended mainly for organizations, particularly not-for-profit organizations. However, for decades anyone can register and use an .org domain name, and it is regularly one of the strongest extensions after .com.

In this article, I look at who is buying .org domain names by examining how names sold to end users in the aftermarket are currently being used.

The Data

There typically is a delay from purchase to use of any domain name. To allow for this, I only looked at .org domain names that were purchased on the aftermarket from Aug 24, 2018 through Dec 31, 2020. Therefore this analysis will not reflect very recent trends.

I also restricted the analysis to sales listed on NameBio that are likely to have been purchases by end users. I only looked at names that sold for $1000 or more at the following venues: Afternic, BuyDomains, DomainMarket, NamePull, private and Sedo. Afternic sales were not actively reported to NameBio during this period, so there were only a handful of sales.

This resulted in 536 sales that sold for a total of just over $3.1 million. The vast majority of the sales were at Sedo (48.3% of total) or Buy Domains (46.2%).

The sale prices ranged from the $1000 base up to $500,000 for the single character name, sold by Braden Pollock. The average price was $5834, although that is a bit deceptive, as it is heavily influenced by a few large sales.

The domain names varied in length from 1 to 21 characters. There were many short names, often used as acronyms. 32.1% of the names were 4 characters or shorter. However, longer names, two or even three words, were also well represented, with 20.3% of the names 11 characters or longer.

Current Use

I went to, or tried to go to, each of the 536 associated websites. I categorized the site in one of the current use categories:
  • D=developed website
  • R=redirection to an active website on another domain name
  • S=domain name is actively for sale again
  • P=domain name has monetized parking, without it being obvious that the name is also for sale
  • X=there was no active site or lander on the name. I also counted sites that simply said ‘coming soon’ in this category.
The graph below shows the distribution.


The most striking observation is that so many names are either for sale again, parked, or totally nonoperational. Only 48.1% were developed with a functioning website, if you exclude for-sale landers.

Names that sold for a total of more than $705,000 are currently unused, with another $267,000 listed for sale again, and $201,000 used only for parking currently.

The high number for sale again probably reflects that, even with the $1000 cutoff and venue restrictions, a few of the sales were to domain investors. It is also possible that some of the organizations have ceased operation, and their names are now back on the market.

In several cases the domain is or sale by the same seller, and that may reflect payment plans which were abandoned by the buyer.

Profit vs Nonprofit

Even after reading the About section of the website, it is not always clear on whether the sponsoring organization is a nonprofit or not. I did not attempt to further seek out business or organization registration data.

My classification suggested that, for the developed sites, 43.6% were nonprofit organizations. Therefore, more .org names are sold to for-profit businesses than to nonprofits.


What Sectors?

For the 146 developed sites designated for-profit businesses, I further characterized according to sector. There was huge variety, with almost every sector represented in at least a site or two. The graph below shows the distribution of sectors that appeared in at least two of the developed websites.


Note that in this graph use is expressed as a percentage of the total developed for-profit sites, and therefore does not add to 100%.The categories shown in the graph only reflect 58.9% of the total developed sites, indicating many single-category use cases.

It is not surprising that education and training, and health-related sites are the most common. Those categories were also well represented in the nonprofit developed sites.

I was surprised that cryptocurrency sites were not more numerous in the data, as there are many well-known sites in this sector operating on .org domain names in general. This could be because many of the names were sold with nondisclosure agreements, at marketplaces that do not report to NameBio, or were sold since January 2021, and therefore not reflected in the dataset.

A number of monetized blog and information sites were developed, and it appears that mid-$$$$ prices for .org domain names to be used in this way are not uncommon.

Other Observations

A few other reflections I noted while going through the data:
  • I was surprised that so many of the sites, those in the P characterization but also many in the S categorization, were using monetized parking. Only one used zero-click advertising, at least the day I checked.
  • While the majority of sites were English language, a number of other languages were represented. The largest number beyond English were German.
  • Those names that were for sale again, while normally asking considerably more than the previous sales price, in some cases the asking price was about the same as the previous sale, or even slightly less.
  • The for-sale landers that did not use parking employed private landers, many Dan landers, a fair number of Uniregistry, a few Efty, and one Alter lander. Surprisingly, not a single one used the Afternic for-sale only landers, although a number used Afternic parking. Landers from the dedicated parking companies seemed more common, however.
What Does It Mean?

My motivation in conducting this study was to help guide the sort of .org domain names that are being actively purchased on the aftermarket for significant prices. Here are the messages I took from the data.
  • The broad education and training sectors, including tutoring, are active buyers.
  • Healthcare and wellness were also strongly represented, including mental health and therapy, traditional and alternative medical fields, and medical financing and support.
  • The view that the majority of .org sales go to nonprofits is not supported by the data, with more than half to the for-profit sector. I think it is also true that the profit-nonprofit dividing line is becoming less clear, with some using a not-for-profit model, which still allows compensation for work to the principals involved in the organization.
  • The breadth of represented sectors indicates that almost any type of business or organization might consider an .org name.
  • I am not sure if the number of sites using parking indicate that .org have advantages for monetized parking, or simply that strong single words can be more readily purchased compared to .com. I suspect that many who have their names set to parking, are making enough to more than cover renewals, and are biding their time waiting for a sale at a sufficiently high price.
  • While I did not completely categorize use of the 113 nonprofits with developed sites, it seemed to me that they were mainly in the categories of religious organizations, societal causes, environment, and in particular organizations that provide support to particular groups such as the homeless, developing world, veterans and others. Many of these had paid significant prices for their domain name.
  • A number of the .org names used by nonprofits were regional organizations. This may reflect a use not considered by some domain investors, and a number of these domain names had sold for good prices.
  • A large number are using 4-letter acronyms to represent a 4-word name of the organization.
  • The number of sites which were not in use, even without a functional landers, surprised me somewhat. That may simply reflect that many nonprofit organizations fail after a very short period. If so, this may be a source for acquisitions at reasonable prices, at least in cases of generic terms or phrases, or acronyms.
  • The view that nonprofits will not pay a significant price for their domain name is not supported by the data. Numerous sales of domains that ended up in use by nonprofits were in the range $2000 to $10,000 and occasionally more. Of course, that does not mean that some nonprofits may be resistant to paying competitive prices.
I welcome your opinions and experiences in the comments section below.
  1. Have you had success selling .org domain names to both for-profit and not-for-profit organizations?
  2. What sectors do you concentrate on in your .org portfolio, and which have been most lucrative so far?
  3. Do you see the .org extension strengthening in the years ahead, perhaps because of the dwindling supply of prime words in .com at prices within the range of organizations?
  4. When you are selling to a nonprofit, are you more flexible on price?

Thank you to NameBio for providing the data on which this study was based.
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The views expressed on this page by users and staff are their own, not those of NamePros.


Top Contributor
Thanks for this perfect research, Bob!

Those names that were for sale again, while normally asking considerably more than the previous sales price, in some cases the asking price was about the same as the previous sale, or even slightly less.

It often happens that after domain is sold buyer do not even change nameservers. That is why domains continue to have for sale lander. In case domain was sold not from the lander and seller had not removed sold domain from the venue which provides current lender.