The domain name org is a generic top-level domain (gTLD) of the Domain Name System (DNS) used in the Internet. The name is truncated from organization. It was one of the original domains established in 1985, and has been operated by the Public Interest Registry since 2003. The domain was originally “intended as the miscellaneous TLD for organizations that didn’t fit anywhere else”. It is commonly used by non-profit organizations, open-source projects, and communities, but is an open domain that can be used by anyone. The number of registered domains in org has increased from fewer than one million in the 1990s, to ten million in 2012, and held steady between ten and eleven million since then.
In November 2019, the Public Interest Registry (PIR) was to be sold by the Internet Society to shell company Ethos Capital for US$1.135 billion. The PIR also announced it would abandon its non-profit status to become a B Corporation. However, this move was criticized by non-profits and various digital rights groups on concerns that Ethos Capital, a private equity firm, would raise fees or censor the domain. The sale was blocked by Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) in April 2020 on the basis that transfer of control of the domain to the private equity firm would create “unacceptable uncertainty” for non-profits that relied on the org domain.
The domain “.org” was one of the original top-level domains and was established in January 1985. The other early top-level domains were com, us, edu, gov, mil and net. It was originally intended for non-profit organizations or organizations of a non-commercial character that did not meet the requirements for other gTLDs. The MITRE Corporation was the first group to register an org domain with mitre.org in July 1985. The TLD has been operated since January 1, 2003 by Public Interest Registry, who assumed the task from VeriSign Global Registry Services, a division of Verisign.