The .ORG domains are managed by the Internet Society’s Public Interest Registry (ISOC/PIR), which is a not-for-profit organization created to manage .ORG in the public interest.2
This has allowed the .ORG domain suffix to remain an affordable, nonpartisan and safe place for nonprofit organizations to register their domains -- like openmedia.ORG, redcross.ORG, oxfam.ORG, etc.
But now, Ethos Capital is offering $1.1 Billion to ISOC to buy PIR, which would put the .ORG domains in the hands of a private equity firm looking to use nonprofits as a cash cow. If the sale goes through, the price of .ORG domains will have to go up to allow Ethos to recover their massive investment.
Not only that, Ethos could actually get into the business of censorship for profit. Other domain registries have entered into contracts with corporations to suspend domains of websites that go against the interests of those companies.3 But for users of .ORG domains, the stakes could be even higher.
Many authoritarian governments and corporations would be willing to pay millions to silence many of the nonprofit organizations that use .ORG domains. Under this sale, there is nothing to stop Ethos from getting into the business of censorship.
But this sale is not a done deal. ICANN, the organization that regulates domain names, has to approve this sale. They are already feeling the pressure from hundreds of organizations, leaders in the US congress and even the state of California.
You can add to this pressure by signing this petition, which will be delivered to ICANN before the decision deadline on May 4th!