Internet Society Sells Non-Profit .Org Domain Registry to Private Equity Company

Kieren McCarthy, the Register:

At the end of last week, the Internet Society (ISOC) announced that it has sold the rights to the .org registry for an undisclosed sum to a private equity company called Ethos Capital. The deal is set to complete in the first quarter of next year.

The decision shocked the internet industry, not least because the .org registry has always been operated on a non-profit basis and has actively marketed itself as such. The suffix “org” on an internet address – and there are over 10 million of them – has become synonymous with non-profit organizations.

However, overnight and without warning that situation changed when the registry was sold to a for-profit company. The organization that operates the .org registry, PIR – which stands for Public Interest Registry – has confirmed it will discard the non-profit status it has held since 2003 as a result of the sale.

It’s not just a bleak turn of events for millions of charities and non-profit organizations worldwide that are tied to their domains; McCarthy’s investigation found suspicious undercurrents behind the sale. Truly one of the year’s most upsetting stories about the web.