Statement Against the Sale of Dot.Org


Dear all,

We call on ISOC Global to reverse the sale of the .ORG domain to private equity firm Ethos Capital. We invite all ISOC chapters across the world to join us in this statement.

In May 2002, ICANN formulated a number of criteria for the reassignment of the .org Top Level Domain, amongst which:

  • Inclusion of mechanisms for promoting the registry’s operation in a manner that is responsive to the needs, concerns, and views of the noncommercial Internet user community. 
  • Demonstrated support among registrants in the .org TLD, particularly those actually using .org domain names for noncommercial purposes
  • The registry fee charged to accredited registrars should be as low as feasible consistent with the maintenance of good-quality service.

In response, upon selection, then ISOC Global President Lynn St. Amour issued the following statement: “We are thrilled to have this opportunity to serve the worldwide .ORG community and are dedicated to making .ORG a truly global home that will serve the unique interests of non-commercial organizations on the Internet.”

We believe that the 2019 decision of ISOC Global to sell PIR to private equity firm Ethos Capital is not in line with ICANN’s criteria from 2002 and the subsequent promise from ISOC Global. Despite ISOC Global’s assurances to the contrary, we share the misgivings of the international community about giving a single privately owned entity the power to raise tariffs, implement rights protection mechanisms possibly leading to censorship, and suspend domains at the request of local governments. We also fear that ISOC Global’s reputation has been severely harmed by even contemplating this transaction.

We therefore call on ISOC Global’s leadership to reverse this decision immediately, and do its utmost to restore faith in ISOC as the one global organisation that through its many professionals and dedicated volunteers sincerely strives for an internet for everyone.

We invite all ISOC chapters to join us in this statement by responding to this message.

On behalf of the Internet Society Netherlands Chapter,

Alex Blom