Domain: Icann refuses .org sale for $ 1.1 billion


The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (Icann) has the Sale of public interest registry (PIR) to financial investor Ethos Capital refused and rejected the $ 1.13 billion deal. As justification, Icann said the decision was "appropriate" and it is "right to do so".

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So far, the .org domain has been operated by the nonprofit company Public Interest Registry (PIR), which in turn is a subsidiary of the Internet Society (ISOC) and was commissioned by Icann to manage it. According to Icann, the sale of PIR to Ethos Capital would replace the fundamental public orientation of PIR with a strong self-interest of the financial investor and, above all, its shareholders. They would have no significant interest in protecting or at least supporting the .org community.

In November 2019, Icann made the planned transfer of the Public Interest Registry (PIR) to Ethos Capital public. Little is known about the financial investor who website of the company only lists the two founders: The current CEO Erik Brooks has been a financial investor for more than two decades. The second founder, Nora Abusitta-Ouri, referred to as Chief Purpose Officer, previously worked at Icann for several years.

Due to the gTLD registration agreement for top-level domains, Icann had until May 4, 2020 to finally approve the sale of the Public Interest Registry to Ethos Capital or to refuse it. The transfer of a community's decades-old property from the non-commercial sector to private ownership as an investment and speculative object had been heavily criticized in advance.

Due to the close links between employees of ISOC, PIR, Ethos Capital and other participating companies and the short time sequence of the planned sale, it was also reasonable to suspect that the parties had negotiated the .org sale from the outset – if at all, by to enrich yourself personally.

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