MARKETING AND SALES STRATEGIES

Launch a Dot ORG site to communicate quickly in times of crisis

When important news affecting your organization breaks fast, sometimes the best way to connect with customers and the media is to quickly build a new Web site.

The technique of building a new Web site in real-time can be used in a variety of situations requiring your organization to deliver instant information to a large number of people.

Dot_org For example, when a natural disaster strikes, organizations might want to quickly establish a Web site to deliver information, organize volunteers, or solicit donations.

A .ORG domain name is an excellent option in this case because it has an inherent reputation of trust, integrity and credibility.

In the immediate aftermath of the January 12, 2010 earthquake in Haiti, President Obama asked former Presidents George W. Bush and Bill Clinton to lead an effort to raise awareness and solicit funds to support Haitian earthquake survivors.

Haitifund

The Clinton Bush Haiti Fund was established on the web using the domain ClintonBushHaitiFund.ORG. The new .ORG was up and running within hours, and before the first day had passed, hundreds of thousands of dollars in donations had flowed in.

The choice of a .ORG domain was important. A .com domain address would almost certainly have carried with it the implication that this was a for profit venture, while .net could create a vague, indistinct first impression.

Within days, the ClintonBushHaitiFund.ORG had distributed over $4 million to aid organizations.

Not just for nonprofits

There is a lot of misinformation about who can use a .ORG web address. In fact, a .ORG domain name is available to anyone, not just nonprofit organizations. When an element of trust is involved, perhaps a .ORG would work for your company too.

"Buying a .ORG means companies can benefit from those characteristics instantly," Lauren Price told me recently. Lauren is Brand Manager at .ORG, The Public Interest Registry. "Marketers and PR professionals can use a .ORG domain name as a vehicle to neutralize crises, communicate causes, educate communities about a particular issue and/or share its works with charities."

Of course, the key here is to get the new site up very quickly, right at the time that people are eager to locate credible information on a breaking issue.

Imagine if Toyota had created a .ORG site within hours of learning about sudden acceleration issues with their cars. As an official clearinghouse for information, a .ORG would have been seen by Toyota customers and the media as a credible source of information, but only if the company had communicated quickly and transparently.

David Meerman Scott

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