Shady Investment Firm Buys .org Domain, JOS in danger?

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Shady Investment Firm Buys .org Domain, JOS in danger?

Postby curio » Sun Nov 24, 2019 3:36 pm

"A private equity company just bought the rights to the entire .ORG domain registry.

Oh, and
removed price caps, too.

If your nonprofit owns a .org domain, go extend your registration out to the maximum 10 years before prices skyrocket."

Special report The sale of one of the internet’s most popular registries to a private equity firm has revived concerns over how the domain name system is governed.

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.

However, overnight and without warning that situation changed when the registry was sold to a for-profit company. The organization that operates the .org registry, PIR – which stands for Public Interest Registry – has confirmed it will discard the non-profit status it has held since 2003 as a result of the sale.

Adding to a sense of betrayal, the organization that decided on the sale – the Internet Society – has always been viewed as a supporter and protector of the engineer culture that devised and developed the networking technology that made the modern internet possible. That culture has always sought to provide a counterbalance to growing commercialism of the internet.

That decision to sell was made by the boards and management teams at both ISOC and PIR, according to a statement provided to The Register: “In terms of decision-making, the Boards – and executive management teams – of both the Internet Society and PIR were closely involved and voted to proceed.”

But that’s only part of the controversy: there is also the matter of who the registry was sold to.

Despite ISOC calling the purchaser Ethos Capital “a strong strategic partner that understands the intricacies of the domain industry,” no one in the internet industry had ever heard of the company when the sale was announced. Which wasn’t a surprise since it was established a few months earlier.

Who's behind Ethos?
Despite stating that Ethos Capital “understands the intricacies of the domain industry” its founder and CEO Erik Brooks has no experience within that industry. The firm’s website lists only Brooks and one Nora Abusitta-Ouri – who joined the outfit last month as its “chief purpose officer” – as employees.

But there is a common thread between those two and it is Fadi Chehade, a former CEO of ICANN, the organization that oversees the domain-name system and awards the contracts to run internet registries.

It was under Chehade that ICANN radically changed its approach to internet registries, including a massive expansion of the internet namespace and a move toward a free market approach to internet addresses. Chehade’s actions as CEO led directly to the Ethos Capital buyout of .org but he is not listed as a part of Ethos Capital and the company has so far failed to respond to our questions about his connection to the firm.

More recent decisions by ICANN also had a significant bearing on the decision to sell the .org registry. At the end of June this year, in a controversial decision made despite significant and vocal opposition, ICANN decided to lift price caps on .org domains for the next 10 years, paving the way for unlimited price increases on the 10 million .org domain names. That decision massively increased the value of the .org registry from millions to potentially billions of dollars.

At the time, ICANN justified the decision by saying it was bringing the contract in line with the many new extensions that have been added to the internet in recent years. And this week, ICANN’s chairman Maarten Botterman told The Register in a statement that:

“The renewal agreement for .org removed the price cap and includes pricing provisions that are consistent with the base form registry agreement that is published and has been in public view for some time, essentially removing the role of ICANN in pricing restraints, where possible.”

Profitable conformity
But that logic has been repeatedly questioned by the internet community both at the time and since. Several high-profile non-profit organizations, including America's National Public Radio (NPR), C-SPAN, the National Geographic Society and the YMCA, wrote a joint letter to ICANN complaining that the organization had “articulated no compelling policy basis for this proposed change."

They rejected ICANN’s contract conformity argument, stating: “This strikes us as conformity for its own sake. ICANN should not disregard the public interest in favor of administrative convenience."

The joint letter was just one of 3,200 comments sent to ICANN on the issue, which was itself an indication of the extraordinary interest in the proposal since ICANN rarely receives more than 50 comments for any of its comment periods.

ICANN’s subsequent official summary of the comment period – which the organization’s board is said to have used to make a determination – did not reflect that strength of feeling, however, and gave almost equal weight to those in favor of the proposal as those against.

Such apparent bias sparked a furious response from the internet community, with one member carrying out an independent analysis of the comments in which he concluded that no less than 98 per cent of comments sent in were explicitly opposed to the change.

In addition, those in favor of the change – whose arguments were repeated in the official summary – are linked to organizations that stand to benefit financially from the decision to lift price caps on all “legacy” registries. That analysis was published online under the title “The Case for Regulatory Capture at ICANN.” ... _shambles/

The article is quite long. I copied what seem to be the important parts.

HP. Hoodedcobra666
Posts: 5160

Re: Shady Investment Firm Buys .org Domain, JOS in danger?

Postby HP. Hoodedcobra666 » Sun Nov 24, 2019 9:07 pm

I am almost certain this is just an attempt from jews behind the clock to just directly control the domain registrars from the inside, but rest reassured this has almost entirely been the case anyway.
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