Monday, November 16, 2009

Why .Org v. .Com is Irrelevant

Warning: You might not agree with everything I say in this post. Please feel free to tell me why I'm wrong in the comments.

Earlier today I came across a blog that, based on the tone of the posts and the recent blog creation date, appears to be written as part of a continuing education class requirement. One of the posts listed fifteen education websites. Each website was given a score of 0-100 based on a set of criteria. One part of the criteria was .org v. .org domains. Websites with .org domains were automatically given ten points while websites with .com domains were penalized ten points. Unfortunately, that teacher's blog post reflects a practice that I too often hear and see a lot of teachers telling their students to use. So I responded to the post with the comment that determining the validity of a website's content based on whether or not it uses .org is not a good practice. It's not a good practice because anyone can register a .org domain. If you want to test this for yourself head over to Go Daddy and see how quickly you can register "your name".org.

What is important to teach students is to recognize bias and recognize flawed reasoning displayed on websites. It is also important to teach students how to find the contact information for the author's of a website or blog. Then if you still feel that domain registry is an important criteria for determining validity, teach your students how to run a WHOIS domain registry search.

Where does .org v. .com rate in your criteria for determining the value of a website's or blog's content?

Footnotes:
1. I discovered the blog post I referenced above through a Google Alert I have set up for "Free Technology for Teachers." I purposely did not link to that person's blog because I did not want to bring undue negative attention to it. If the author I'm referencing contacts me with permission, I will link to it.
2. Free Technology for Teachers was given a relatively low score based on using a .com domain, having distracting advertising, and navigation difficulty. These are issues I was aware of before I redesigned the blog layout 8 days ago. If you have suggestions for making the layout better, please let me know because as Gary Vaynerchuk says, "I'm not talented enough to see what I've done wrong."