If the FTC is cracking down on unfair and deceptive marketing practices — why is it ok for you to pose as a non-profit (trusted source) when you make tons of money selling add space? Don’t you think this is a conflict and deceptive to pull traffic into your site?
Thank you for your question. I’m happy to openly discuss these issues.
We don’t pretend to be a non-profit. I’m very clear about the ads in the site terms, disclose the site is owned by the for-profit Myvesta Foundation, a Delaware corporation, and talk about how the revenue from ads funds the work done here. – Source
As the terms say right at the top:
“Since this site does not charge users or visitors any fee, nor sell any products or services the reality is that any income this site derives from advertising helps to pay for the reporting, research, and journalistic work we do, just as any newspaper, magazine, news operation, television channel, radio station, or publication is supported by advertising revenue. It is because of the ads that this site can do all the good work it does.
Our work is not paid for by consumers or by creditors as credit counseling is, and we sell no services as debt relief companies do, there are no products to buy and we don’t even solicit contributions to help fund our work.”
If you can find some place where I have said the site is a non-profit organization, please bring that to my attention.
If your issue is the .org domain name, there is no prohibition from any entity owning a .com, .net, .info, or .org domain name. – Source. According to InterNIC, “The .com, .info, .name, .net, and .org TLDs are open and unrestricted.” – Source
In fact the State of Florida utilizes a .org domain for the Florida Department of State Division of Corporations site. – Source. Should they instead be using a .gov?
Even very large for-profit groups, like WordPress utilize the .org domain in the furtherance of their mission. See WordPress.org. Same thing with the big groups, OpenOffice.org, SourceForge.org (which forwards to SourceForge.net), or how about even eBay.org.
History Of .ORG
The .org (organization) domain is a generic top-level domain and was one of the original top level domains that was introduced in January 1985. In the typical style of most gTLDs, .org is sometimes pronounced in word form as ‘dot-org’ or ‘dot-oh-are-gee (O R G)’. Anyone can register a .org domain; there are no requirements for registration. The .org TLD is mostly associated with non-profit organizations. In addition to its wide use in the charitable field, it is often used by the open-source movement, as opposed to the .com domains used mostly by companies. Many political parties also use the .org extension.
The .org TLD has been operated since January 1, 2003 by Public Interest Registry (PIR), who took over from VeriSign Global Registry Services, a division VeriSign. – Source
As a social enterprise which works hard to protect consumers, the use of the .org name seems perfectly appropriate when understanding the use of .org domains.
Of course I’ve made an assumption that the .org name was what may have made you incorrectly assume the site is non-profit. If not, was there something else that led you to that conclusion?
Please post your responses and follow-up messages to me on this in the comments section below.