While .com is king in China, sometimes I wonder what’s happening to .org. In the west, .org has a distinctive identity as a domain extension for non-profit organizations. In China, it is still a question mark. I’m not sure many Chinese can understand the meaning of .org with its low visibility. Translating “org” to “organization” to “non-profit organization” is probably not an easy task for most non English speakers in China.
Just to satisfy my own curiosity, today I went to Baidu and did a search by entering “site:org” into the box. Surprised! I actually found a lot of pages of Chinese .org websites to browse, so definitely this extension is used in China.
One name that came up on many pages is ChinaCourt.org. As a government organization, why would they not use the gov.cn extension? They do, and the main site is Court.gov.cn, which provides links to district courts using sub-domains of ChinaCourt.org such as Bjgy.Chinacourt.org for Beijing District Court.
For my casual survey, I looked at the first 20 search results and then checked the content of each of the .org websites. Interestingly, I found only 45% of them are of non-profit nature, the rest being commercial operations. The top three listings are all run by businesses, as follows:
Jiaren.org (佳人=beautiful women) publishes news and other topics of interest to women. It makes money via affiliate links to an e-commerce site. Pigai.org (批改网=mark your homework) helps Chinese students improve their English. The company sells hardware and services. The third one is Taobao.org (淘宝网=treasure hunting), which redirects to Taobao.com, a popular e-commerce site owned by Alibaba.
My casual survey tells me .org is used in China and significantly for commercial purposes. Perhaps Chinese companies are not aware of the non-profit nature of .org, so they are willing to build commercial sites using this extension. In this respect, short, meaningful, and easy-to-remember .org names may have potential in China.