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ICANN Requests Answers About Sale of Dot Org Registry

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ICANN Requests Answers About Sale of Dot Org Registry
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The sale of the organization that manages the dot org domain name registry has hit a snag. ICANN, the organization that oversees domain names announced that it is requesting further information about the proposed sale.  The announcement comes in response to what ICANN terms “many questions” having been raised.

Who is Behind the Dot Org Registry Sale?

The dot org domain registry is managed by Public Interest Registry (PIR). Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) is the non-profit organization that oversees domain names and IP addresses.

In March 2019, ICANN proposed removing price caps on the dot org domain name registrations. ICANN received overwhelming responses against the proposed change yet in May 2019 it decided to go ahead with the change.

Meanwhile, companies associated with former ICANN executives began forming the companies that would eventually attempt to purchase the organization in charge of the dot org registry, PIR.

Related: How to Choose a Domain Name That Will Stand the Test of Time

List of former ICANN executives and investment people behind the sale:

1. The CEO of ICANN left ICANN and began working at investment company Abry. Abry is a company that is co-founded by one of the members of ETHOS (who is purchasing the dot org registry).

2. Abry purchases a domain company called Donuts.

3. The co-founder of Donuts winds up on the board of PIR, which has control of Dot Org.
4. PIR sells Dot Org to Ethos.

5. Ethos Capital is co-founded by two people in May 2019. One is a former SR VP of ICANN and the other is a partner at Abry.

Illustration showing people involved in the sale and purchase of the dot org registry

It seems that at every step of the way there is an influential former executive from ICANN who is involved in the transaction to purchase control of the dot org domain registry.

ICANN Requests Transparency

ICANN’s approval is needed before the sale can proceed. In its announcement, ICANN noted the substantial negative press that has been written about the sale and pledged to find out if the buyers are capable of running the dot org registry.

This is what ICANN announced:

“We have asked PIR to provide information related to the continuity of the operations of the .ORG registry, the nature of the proposed transaction, how the proposed new ownership structure would continue to adhere to the terms of our current agreement with PIR, and how they intend to act consistently with their promises to serve the .ORG community with more than 10 million domain name registrations.

We acknowledge the questions and concerns that are being raised and directed to ISOC, PIR, and ICANN relating to this change.”

Response to ICANN Statement

The responses to the statement voiced concern about the proposed sale.

“As a stakeholder in the .org community, and member of NCSG/NPOC there are a number of issues that concern me here, but a major one is that while Ethos Capital is making promises about the future, there is no track record for the newly formed Ethos, or evidence of expertise in the registry field by the investors.”

Will Sale of Dot Org Happen?

At this point it’s unclear whether the sale will be approved by ICANN. ICANN is requesting more information about the sale and the ability of the involved parties to manage the dot org domain name registry.

Read the official ICANN announcement here.

Related: Do Exact Match Domains Still Work Anymore?

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Roger Montti

Roger Montti is a search marketer with 20 years experience. I offer site audits and link building strategies. See me ... [Read full bio]

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