The .org controversy

In November 2019, the Internet Society (ISOC) announced its intention to sell Public Interest Registry (PIR) – the registry for the .org top-level domain – to investment firm Ethos Capital for US$1.135 billion. The announcement has generated controversy, with supporters and opponents of the deal strongly voicing their views.

[Latest] On 30 April 2020, the ICANN Board announced its decision to withhold consent of the proposed transfer of the .org registry from the Internet Society to Ethos Capital.
Main reactions:
  • The Internet Society noted its disappointment with ICANN having 'acted as a regulatory body it was never meant to be' and stated that 'neither PIR nor any of its operations are for sale now'.
  • PIR qualified ICANN's decision as 'a failure to follow its bylaws, processes, and contracts', but reiterated the registry's commitment to operating .org 'at the highest level of excellence and in furtherance of .org’s ideals'.
  • Ethos found ICANN's decision as 'dangerous precedent with broad industry implications', noting that the company is 'evaluating its options'.
  • Members of the Save .ORG campaign expressed their support for ICANN's decision and called on ICANN to 'open a public process for bids to find a new home for the .org domain'.