Misguided Instruction

Sadly, there is a lot of misinformation in the world. Here is my attempt to list the various places that are spreading false ideas about the credibility of .org domain names.

Spreading Awareness

The purpose of this list is to showcase just how widespread the misconception of .org domain names really is. If you encounter a website, textbook, or any other resource that misrepresents the implied credibility of the .org domain name I encourage you to reach out to its publisher and tell them that they are misleading their audience. You can point them to this website, www.dotorgdoesntmeancredible.org for more information. Additionally, if you find any examples in the wild, feel free to reach out to me via email so I can update this list.

The Culprits:

Name Format Description
Weaponized Lies: How to Think Critically in the Post-Truth Era Book While generally a great overall discussion on issues of misinformation and disinformation, the book states that "Knowing the domain can also help to identify any potential bias. You’re more likely to find a neutral report from an educational or nonprofit study (found on a .edu, .gov, or .org site)"
Invitation to Public Speaking, Fifth Edition Textbook In its section on evaluating Internet Information, this textbook states that a .org doman name represents "a nonprofit organization more interested in services and issues than in commerce."
Morehead State University Camden-Carroll Library University Website This research guide suggests that students can look at a website URL for evaluating a website's credibility. It correctly states that .org is a common Top Level Domain, but inaccurately asserts that is indicates a website is that of a non-profit organization.
Central Michigan University Libraries University Website This website isn't necessarily that bad of a culprit. It does recommend that students analyze .org website carefully, as they may be biased toward a specific agenda. However, it still suggests that all websites ending in .org are organizations.
Public Speaking Now: Textbook and Coursebook for SPCM 200: Public Speaking Textbook In Chapter 6: Research, this textbook instructs students to check the URL when assessing the credibility of a webpage. While the book does acknowledge that there are few limitations on who can own these URLs, it nonetheless continues to perpetuate false understandings of URLs by stating "URLs that feature .com, .org, or .edu tend to be the most credible, representing businesses, institutions, and schools and universities, respectively."
Kent State University Libraries University Website "Does the URL suggest a reputable affiliation with regard to the topic--personal or official site; type of Internet domain (i.e., .edu: educational institution; .org: non-profit organization; .com: commercial enterprise; .net: Internet Service Provider; .gov: governmental body; .mil: military body)?"
Mayo Clinic Patient Education Healthcare Provider In the pamphlet "Finding Reliable Health Information on the Internet," the Mayo Clinic states that a website URL can give information about a its credibility, but suggests that .org means "a non-profit organization owns or sponsors this website" without providing any caveats.