In the discussion of the new ORG proposal, I am surprised
by the inaccuracy of many comments regarding the status of the ORG Top-level domain,
both within the proposed agreement, and in the press.
There is a widespread perception
that ORG was "originally intended" to be restricted to non-profit organizations.
That is not now and has never been true.
ORG's status is mentioned in only two
Internet RFCs, 920 (1984) and 1591 (1994). Here is the sum total of what they say
"ORG = Organization, any other domains meeting
the second level requirements."
"ORG - This domain is intended as
the miscellaneous TLD for organizations that didn't fit anywhere else. Some
non-government organizations may fit here.
It is indisputable that ORG was "originally
intended" to be nothing more or less than a catch-all for registrants that didn't
neatly fit in the other categories. The term "non-profit" never appears in any discussions.
It is also a historical fact that during the great domain rush of 1995-6, IANA
(Jon Postel) specifically authorized Network Solutions to cease attempting to discriminate
between COM, NET and ORG domain applications. Although there is no written record
of this decision that I know of, it has been independently confirmed by people who
were working at NSI and at NSF at the time. To alter that decision would constitute
a significant policy change in the current environment, given the large number of
people who have registered in ORG under the assumption that it is basically an open
It seems from the comment that this decision was a reaosnably popular one,
as it has allowed the name space to accommodate needs that otherwise might have been