News Sale of registry to venture capital firm blocked

ICANN, the organization that oversees domain name registries, has blocked the sale of the .org Public Interest Registry to a private equity investment company.

The board ruled that the sale would create uncertainty for the nonprofit community, and that withholding consent for the sale was the reasonable thing to do.

Read ICANN’s full statement here.

Late last year,  the Providers’ Council and many other nonprofits signed onto a national letter to oppose the  sale of ownership of the .org domain to Ethos Capital.

The proposed sale put the rights to more than 10 million domains in the hands of venture capitalists, who — without the longstanding cost controls in place to protect nonprofits — could take more than $750 million dollars from nonprofit missions.

Rick Cohen, Chief Operating Officer/Chief Communications Officer for the National Council of Nonprofits, released the following statement:

“We are glad that the ICANN board came to the only logical decision in this situation: a rejection of the transfer of the .org registry. And, in their statement doing so, they validated the concerns that the .org community has had from the beginning. A conversion from a nonprofit that, by law, is required to serve the community interest to a for-profit entity primarily concerned with paying down hundreds of millions in debt and then needing to generate returns for their shareholders before even thinking about the community would have fundamentally changed how the .org registry operated. Multiple factors cited by the ICANN board in their decision were rooted in the benefits of Public Interest Registry’s nonprofit status. We’re glad that the online home for millions of nonprofits worldwide will continue to be run by a nonprofit.”

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