Weather Forecast


BBB: Not all domain names are legitimate

The Better Business Bureau of Minnesota and North Dakota (BBB) urges consumers to always be conscious of small differences in top-level Internet domain names. It is a common misconception that in order to have a domain name, such as .org, an individual would have to qualify themselves as a nonprofit organization. While that was the original intent with the .org domain name, this is not the case anymore. Now sites such as .com and .org can be registered by anyone.

The top-level domain comes at the end of a Web address, and denotes the type of organization linked to that Web page. For example, in the

BBB's website,, the top-level domain is .org. Some top-level domains, like .com and .net, are open, meaning that anyone can use them, while some are restricted to special types of organizations.

Some of the most common open top-level domains are: .com, .org, .biz, and .info. Any person or entity can register websites that use these domain names. There are also top-level domains that are limited to certain types of entities. A few of the most common are: .edu, .gov, and .mil, which belong to colleges and universities, government entities, and the U.S. military, respectively. A full list of domains is available from the Internet Assigned Number Authority (, the organization that oversees global IP address allocation.

It is common for consumers to feel as though a website that has the .org top-level domain name is somehow more trustworthy than others. However, this is not always the case; because the .org domain is open for everyone, it is important for people to use as much caution as they do with any .com or .biz site. You can always look up a company's Reliability Report on the BBB's web site,, if you have any doubts or concerns.