Broad Resistance to Sale of .org Domain

The top-level domain .org, mainly used by non-profit organizations, is to be sold. The new owner, U.S. investment firm Ethos Capital, is an investment company with profit interest. The consequences for civil society and non-governmental organizations could be serious.

Schools, open source initiatives, environmental groups and similar organizations around the world rely on the .org top-level domain for their websites. The abbreviation .org, short for organization, has meanwhile established itself as a digital symbol for non-profit associations and federations.

The Internet Society (ISOC) has now announced that it will sell responsibility for the top-level domain (TLD) .org to Ethos Capital.

Fear of Rising Prices

The market has reacted shocked, since this TLD was operated on a non-profit basis since its establishment in 1985. The non-profit basis was one of the reasons why it became the preferred address for non-profit organizations and open source projects worldwide. Many of them would now fear rising prices and a departure from the original spirit of the .org TLD.

While ISOC states that Ethos Capital has made a number of commitments regarding the manner in which the PIR will be managed, neither Ethos Capital nor ISOC wants to disclose exactly what these commitments will look like. PIR has already confirmed that it will lose its non-profit status as a result of the sale though.

Organizations like Wikimedia, Creative Commons and the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) warn of negative consequences after the announcement of the sale. They protest with an open letter against the takeover of PIR by Ethos Capital.

So far, more than 11,000 supporters have signed for the cause here: