(800) 664-1229 ds@bluediamondwebs.com
Select Page
Protesters take their '.org' sale criticism offline

Protesters take their '.org' sale criticism offline

Internet activists hit the streets to protest the .org registry takeover by private equity outside of ICANN's LA offices. Internet activists hit the streets to protest the .org registry takeover by private equity outside of ICANN’s LA offices.

Image: Andrew Cowie/AFP/GettyImages

A group of protesters took their disapproval of the sale of the .org domain registry to the streets.

On Friday, around two dozen people rallied outside of the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) offices in Los Angeles to protest the sale of the .org registry to private equity firm, Ethos Capital. 

Protesters held signs saying “Save Dot Org” and brought with them a petition with 35,000 signatures asking ICANN, the nonprofit which basically sets policy and maintains the internet’s domain name system, to block the sale. More than 700 organizations, from Greenpeace to Girl Scouts of the USA, backed the petition.

ICANN originally stated that the organization was powerless to intercede in the sale of the .org registry but has since changed its tune. 

According to Amy Sample Ward, the CEO of NTEN, a nonprofit for nonprofit professionals, ICANN did not have a “coherent” response to the planned protest and initially tried to shut it down. The attempt was unsuccessful. Eventually, a board member came down to talk with the protesters and accept their petition.

Ward said that ICANN Board Chairman Maarten Botterman relayed to her that the board “does see this as an important issue, they don’t want the .org domain to be ruined, and that they are taking this seriously.”

The sale of the .org registry to private equity has many nonprofit organizations worried. Public Interest Registry (PIR), run by the nonprofit Internet Society, has long overseen the .org domain extension. However, shortly before the sale, ICANN removed specific terms, such as price caps from its new contract with PIR to manage the .org registry. 

Critics of the deal believe Ethos Capital will take advantage of the price cap removal and raise prices of .org domain registrations and and renewals in order to recoup the $1.135 billion it paid to acquire the registry.

It remains to be seen if ICANN will take action to halt the sale of the .org registry.