Monday, November 25, 2019 [Tweets] [Favorites]

.org Top-Level Domain Sold

Kieren McCarthy (via Quincy Larson):

At the end of last week, the Internet Society (ISOC) announced that it has sold the rights to the .org registry for an undisclosed sum to a private equity company called Ethos Capital. The deal is set to complete in the first quarter of next year.

The decision shocked the internet industry, not least because the .org registry has always been operated on a non-profit basis and has actively marketed itself as such. The suffix “org” on an internet address – and there are over 10 million of them – has become synonymous with non-profit organizations.


No one, including, we understand, the board of ICANN, expected the Internet Society to sell the registry. But it is also worth noting that the contract negotiation failed to add, or even ask for, protections or commitments to .org’s long-standing non-profit status despite the significant contractual changes and an extension of the contract by 10 years, far longer than previous extensions.

Save .ORG (via Hacker News):

Decisions affecting .ORG must be made with the consultation of the NGO community, overseen by a trusted community leader. If the Internet Society (ISOC) can no longer be that leader, it should work with the NGO community and the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) to find an appropriate replacement.

The 2019 .ORG Registry Agreement represents a significant departure from .ORG’s 34-year history. It gives the registry the power to make several policy decisions that would be detrimental to the .ORG community[…]


1 Comment

There does seem to be a limit on how far this can go, since the DNS system is entirely distributed. I could, for example, start my own registry of .org domain names, and run a DNS server that responded for them, and you could point your DNS server at mine and bypass the existing registry altogether. Yes. this would absolutely cause complete chaos, but nonetheless would be technically possible to do, and some big DNS provider like Google DNS ( or Cloudflare DNS ( could certainly at the least threaten this if things get overly out of hand.

Not that this should ever have been allowed to happen - the whole DNS registrar thing should never have been allowed to happen, it always should have just been a NFP organisation to maintain them - its just a database after all, its not exactly rocket science.

Meanwhile, I have only one .org domain myself (for a NFP organisation I volunteer with) and have extended my registration for the next 9 years to at least mitigate the issue (notably, .org is much cheaper than

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