An Uncertain Future for .ORG
A private equity firm, Ethos Capital, could soon manage the internet’s top domain name extension for nonprofits after acquiring the nonprofit organization, Public Interest Registry (PIR), that runs it. The Internet Society maintains that the change in ownership won’t affect the philosophy with which the domain has been operated since the inception of the .org domain extension.
It’s hard to overstate the importance of the .org domain extension to the NPO internet ecosystem. And it’s equally hard to overstate the anxiety that this monumental transaction induces when coupled with the fact that this past year, ICANN (Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers) lifted price caps on .org domains – a decision that was met with significant resistance from the NPO community. This shift in ownership could represent not only potential price increases, but also a change to the rules of engagement leaving NPO’s web addresses vulnerable to cost fluctuations and to decisions driven by private sector values.
The community is rallying with protests and petitions, so there are opportunities to make your voice heard. Our recommendation is for all NPOs to secure the rights to their .org extension for the longest period of time possible to inoculate themselves from short term volatility. We will keep the community apprised as this story continues to develop.