In late January 2020, ICANN halted its final approval of the sale after the Attorney General of California requested detailed documentation from all parties, citing concerns that both ICANN and the Internet Society had potentially violated their public interest missions as registered charities subject to the laws of California.
In February, the Internet Society’s Chapter Advisory Council (which represents its membership) began the process to adopt a motion rejecting the sale if certain conditions were not complied with.
ok it could have been that… ICANN would lose tax advantages (and effectively might lose the charity status thus maybe needing to payback tax) if it was to proceed with the deal X-D
Update! .org NOT FOR SALE! send ICANN a thank you card! 🙂
resistance takes enormous amount of effort! but it works! democracy ain’t dead yet!
and then: CELEBRATE! CELEBRATE! CELEBRATE! 🙂 (do a little wiggle dance whatever!) X-D
“Today, the ICANN Board made the decision to reject the proposed change of control and entity conversion request that Public Interest Registry (PIR) submitted to ICANN.”
“This decision by ICANN is a hard-fought victory for nonprofit Internet users. But the .ORG registry still needs a faithful steward, because the Internet Society has made clear it no longer wants that responsibility. ICANN should hold an open consultation, as they did in 2002, to select a new operator of the .ORG domain that will give nonprofits a real voice in its governance, and a real guarantee against censorship and financial exploitation.”
details of the (hi)story:
“On 14 November 2019, PIR formally submitted to ICANN a “Notice of Indirect Change of Control and Entity Conversion” in advance of closing the proposed transaction between Ethos Capital and ISOC.
Since 2003, PIR has operated the .ORG generic top-level domain (gTLD) as a not-for-profit organization, as well as six other gTLDs.
Per the gTLD Registry Agreements, ICANN must either approve or withhold consent of a proposed change of control, the deadline for which is 4 May 2020.”
Throughout this process, the ICANN Board has worked thoughtfully and thoroughly to determine if it is reasonable under PIR’s Registry Agreements for ICANN to either approve or withhold consent to the proposed change of control. Before making our determination, the Board, among other things:
- Conducted thorough due diligence
- Received and reviewed hundreds of pages of documentation and responses provided by PIR, ISOC and Ethos Capital following ICANN issuing three requests for more information
- Was briefed extensively by ICANN org
- Received and considered more than 30 letters from stakeholders
- Considered input from an ICANN67 public forum, views of the community and others who weighed in after we received PIR’s Public Interest Commitments
- Considered the opinions expressed in the California Attorney General’s Office letter sent to ICANN on 15 April 2020
The Board was presented with a unique and complex situation – impacting one of the largest registries with more than 10.5 million domain names registered. After completing its evaluation, the ICANN Board finds that the public interest is better served in withholding consent as a result of various factors that create unacceptable uncertainty over the future of the third largest gTLD registry. Factors that were considered in determining reasonableness include, but are not limited to:
- A change from the fundamental public interest nature of PIR to an entity that is bound to serve the interests of its corporate stakeholders, and which has no meaningful plan to protect or serve the .ORG community.
- ICANN is being asked to agree to contract with a wholly different form of entity; instead of maintaining its contract with the mission-based, not-for-profit that has responsibly operated the .ORG registry for nearly 20 years, with the protections for its own community embedded in its mission and status as a not-for-profit entity.
- The US$360 million debt instrument forces PIR to service that debt and provide returns to its shareholders, which raises further question about how the .ORG registrants will be protected or will benefit from this conversion. This is a fundamental change in financial position from a not-for-profit entity.
- There are additional uncertainties, such as an untested Stewardship Council that might not be properly independent, or why PIR needs to change its corporate form to pursue new business initiatives.
- The transaction as proposed relies on ICANN as a backstop for enforcement of disputes between the .ORG community and the registry operator in an untested manner.
The entire Board stands by this decision.
After thorough due diligence and robust discussion, we concluded that this is the right decision to take.
While recognizing the disappointment for some, we call upon all involved to find a healthy way forward, with a keen eye to provide the best possible support to the .ORG community.
The Board would like to thank the global community and stakeholders for their engagement.
The resolution and rationale document, which expands upon this decision is available, here.
who pays more get’s more? (monopoly on names, servers, bandwidth, fake-posts, fake-articles, fake-likes, fake-5-star-reviews… and so on)
a monopoly on domain names would be terrible: with ever raising prices, shutting down a lot of websites, blogs, domains… maybe that’s exactly what they want?
The deal is set to complete in the first quarter of next year.”
Its best known investment is the planned acquisition of the Public Interest Registry, the organization in charge of managing the .org top-level domain, from the Internet Society for $1.135 billion.
Ethos Capital was founded by Erik Brooks.
Brooks is a former Managing Partner of another private equity firm Abry Partners.
During his tenure at Abry, in September 2018, the company acquired Donuts, a domain name registrar with a wide portfolio of new gTLDs.  In October 2018 former ICANN President of Global Domains Akram Atallah joined Donuts as CEO, while in December 2018 Donuts co-founder Jon Nevett joined Public Interest Registry as CEO.
Other former ICANN staff members are involved in Ethos Capital itself. Former CEO Fadi Chehadé serves as an advisor, and former Senior Vice President, Development and Public Responsibility Programs Nora Abusitta-Ouri serves as Chief Purpose Officer.
“This is an important and exciting development for both the Internet Society and Public Interest Registry,” said
Andrew Sullivan, President and Chief Executive Officer of the Internet Society, the organization that established Public Interest Registry.
A lot of honest NGOs registered and use .org domains such as https://archive.org “the way back machine”, if the domain name costs rise (which they will, because Mr Brooks spend $1.135 billion in order to extract even more than that in profit over the next years, will place additional burdens on such NGOs and organizations.
it is time that – state owned departments – elected people – are put in charge of essential services – such as the internet – not private profit-my-monopoly seeking corporations – to make the rich even richer.
A state department should be in charge to organize vital services such as the internet – to re-democratize this planet – not privatize the planet – in order to avoid more social clashes and civil wars.
Rep. Ken Buck Congressman says: Corruption in Washington Is ‘Worse Than You Think’ – he should run for president!https://youtu.be/WTk5iyLxXk0
Corruption on Capitol Hill is “worse than you think,” Rep. Ken Buck, R-Colo., insists.