In much the same way that our
culture places people with PhD's on such a high pedestal - that
although they may indeed have a paper stating that they have
been blessed with an advanced education, there are, in fact,
a percentage of not-so-very intelligent, or perhaps even dishonest
or fraudulently-natured 'doctors' out there.
Yes, there are many wonderful,
smart and successful docs within the ranks of our society. It
does not, however, guarantee that all or any of them can be
trusted without a little further investigation.
Similarly, there is absolutely
nothing about a "Dot-Org" that makes it more trustworthy,
noncommercial, or higher quality than a site with any other
I've unfortunately seen
a rise in not-so-trustworthy senior care and assisted living
websites out there playing on this perception that a .org will
be their ticket to more referrals and better rankings.
a number of them are succeeding at a level that they shouldn't
be based on false pretenses.
According to Wikipedia,
.org "...was originally created for non-profits, but
today it is commonly used by schools, open-source projects,
communities, and for-profit entities."
It further states that "Anyone
can register an org second-level domain. Although org was recommended
for non-commercial entities, there are no restrictions to registration."
So, basically put, although the
intent of this extension was to originally identify "noble'
causes such as not-for-profits, schools, and entities whose
main goal is other than making money, it has, through lack of
being regulated, been taken advantage of.
I would submit that if you were
to ask anyone whether they would inherently 'trust' information
on a .org over a .com, you'd get almost a 100% response in favor
Why this can be troublesome
for the senior care industry
Unfortunately, I've seen a growing
number of senior care and assisted living sites with the .org
extension popping up out there, many of which are entirely commercial,
with very little expertise, thought or quality behind them.
Even more unfortunate is that they are often times able to rank
really well, since other educational and governmental agencies
are willing to link to them, and promote them, simply because
they have that misleading, but all-too-trusted dot-org extension.
Even more unfortunate is that
some of these .org sites are geared solely to collect personal
information, to be then resold to any number of third party
Seniors, especially those who
may be experiencing mental or cognitive disorders such as Alzheimer's
or dementia, may be especially falling
prey to offering up personal information, or be persuaded into
a situation that is not in their best interests.
A Few Things To Look
If you happen upon a .org, or
any website for that matter check to see if any of the following
items are happening:
1) Go to the
site's contact page. Is there any hint of where the site is
located, and is there an obvious address and phone number? If
there is only a 'contact form' and no identifiable information
about the site's ownership or headquarters, it may not be a
Can you find the name of any expert(s) or contributors who have
directly offered their time and input specifically to the website?
Do articles identify who wrote them, and do these people have
easily findable profiles on sites like google-plus, facebook
and twitter - adding to their reputability? If you have no idea
who is behind the material on a website, it's probably best
to keep moving.
3) Are pieces
of imperative information "hidden" by ads or referral
forms, or is it difficult for you to get to the information
you need before submitting personal information? If so, it may
not be a safe website.
4) Does the
that if they do collect information from you, how it will be
used, and how you can opt-out? Any trustworthy website will
5) If it is
a .org, is there anywhere on the site that states how any income
collected through the site will be used, and which 'non-profit'
it will go to? Is there information about the websites's 501
(c)(3) or Charity status?
6) Does the website do any advertising at all,
and does the advertising or ads dominate the site, and take
precedence over the actual 'content?' If so, you may want to
do further digging on what the intent of the site is.