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ICANN rejects sale of .org domain registry to for-profit firm

Many associations opposed $1.135 billion deal, citing concerns about potential price hikes for internet domain names, rights of .org users

May 8, 2020
By Walt Williams

The Internet Society’s plan to sell off its lucrative registry for .org domain names was shot down following nearly six months of controversy and an outpouring of objections from associations and other nonprofits.

The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers announced April 30 that its board of directors would withhold its consent to transfer the registry to Ethos Capital. The firm had offered more than $1.1 billion for the Public Interest Registry, a subsidiary of the Internet Society.

California-based ICANN said the sale would represent a fundamental change in the nature of PIR, transforming it from a nonprofit entity to an organization serving corporate stakeholders with “no meaningful plan to protect or serve the .org community.”

"The ICANN Board finds that the public interest is better served in withholding consent as a result of various factors that create unacceptable uncertainty over the future of the third-largest