According to Vice, a recent sale involving .org domains has experts worried that prices will be raised on nonprofits, and negatively impact the web.
The Public Interest Registry (PIR), the agency that manages the .org domain, recently announced that it will be acquired by Ethos Capital, a private equity firm. While the PIR expressed excitement over the new deal, experts aren’t overzealous about it. For example, the Internet Commerce Association (ICA), called the sale “a trend that’s undermining the entire purpose of the .org domain, making life harder on already struggling nonprofits,” Vice says.
This criticism is especially loud since it follows a decision made earlier this year by ICANN, the organization that manages internet domains across the world, to lift price caps on .org domain registrations and renewals. Vice says that experts anticipate this decision, along with PIR’s sale, will result in higher domain costs for nonprofits: “Ethos Capital’s no-bid contract for perpetual management of the .org system will give the firm the ‘unchecked ability to grow its profits by extracting greater and greater sums from the nonprofit community—forever.’”
While not everyone is happy about the sale, the PIR feels it’s a good move. Andrew Sullivan, President and Chief Executive of the Internet Society, hopes the sale will extend the Internet Society’s mission to give users a good web experience, and provide the organization the money it needs to keep going. “This is an important and exciting development for both the Internet Society and Public Interest Registry,” Sullivan said in a previous statement. “This transaction will provide the Internet Society with an endowment of sustainable funding and the resources to advance our mission on a broader scale as we continue our work to make the Internet more open, accessible and secure – for everyone.”
The Internet Society acquired the .org domain and created the PIR in 2002. The purchase with Ethos Capital will take place in the first quarter of 2020.