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ICANN says it “does not have authority” over .org transaction

Domain regulator is unlikely to do anything about the sale of .org by a non-profit to a private equity firm.

Logo for .org domain, featuring a blue circle with white letters spelling ORGAnyone holding out hope that ICANN will block the sale of .Org to private equity company Ethos should prepare to be disappointed.

The company issued a statement to Financial Times saying that it “does not have authority over the proposed acquisition”:

Pressure is now mounting for ICANN to block the transaction. Since it involves a top-level internet domain, the transfer of .org to a new owner requires the agency’s formal approval.

In a statement to the FT, however, ICANN appeared to brush aside the calls for action, saying that it “does not have authority over the proposed acquisition”. Instead, it said its job was simply to “assure the continued operation of the .org domain” — implying that it could only stop the sale if the stability and security of the domain name infrastructure were at risk.

Whether the deal will be delayed by ICANN’s accountability mechanisms or other action remains to be seen. But I wouldn’t put money on it.

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  1. David Michaels says

    The most effective method of stopping this heist is:

    1. A class action lawsuit,

    2. Petitions to VA state AG office to investigate PIR and Internet Society for self-dealing and possible breach of fiduciary duty,

    3. Petitions to California State AG to investigate ICANN officials for governance issues

    • David Michaels says

      Internet Society
      Reston, VA | EIN: 54-1650477 | bridge Number: 2820125758
      …have allowed the Internet to thrive over the past three decades. The 2017 Internet Society Global Internet Report: Paths to Our … The Internet Society supports and promotes the development of the Internet as …
      GROSS RECEIPTS: $61,906,456
      ASSETS: $34,512,184

      IRS Filing Status: 501C3

      Internet Society Foundation
      Reston, VA | EIN: 82-3285688 | bridge Number: 5395405540
      The Internet Society Foundation Exists To Demonstrate And Support The Positive Difference The Internet Can Make To People Everywhere … Use The Internet To Improve People’s Lives. Local And Regional Projects That Are Aligned With The Internet Society’s Mission Creates …
      GROSS RECEIPTS: $43,071,227
      ASSETS: $43,104,607

    • John says

      4. Antitrust lawsuit against ICANN for facilitating supracompetitive pricing on a captive base of 10+ million registrants

      ICANN made the momentous decision to eliminate all pricing caps for .org this past June. ICANN had no proper justification for doing so.

      Thus, ICANN’s removal of all pricing caps provides an enormous benefit to one contracted party at the detriment of 10+ million locked in users. This will go down in history as one of the greatest transfers of wealth – from 10 million registrants who are held hostage to their domain names – into one for-profit company Ethos Capital.

      Is ICANN no longer fulfilling its obligations?

  2. Jack says

    Of course they have authority on this mess they created.
    They’d better stop the sale before it is too late or ICANN will be wiped out by this tsunami when .ORG prices are insanely increased.

  3. Samer says

    Goodness will prevail in the end

    Don’t make me file for .Nonprofit

    do you “not have authority” to approve that? Curious (corrupt) excuse, would come with.


  4. John says

    Is ICANN a monopoly itself? Handing out no-bid monopoly contracts to operate each TLD? Thus, excluding all forms of competition?

    Or is ICANN a cartel? On top of handing out no-bid contracts – it is the co-conspirator and extracts out rents from those contracts over time?

  5. John says

    Or is ICANN the regulator? But recently, ICANN is telling everyone it no longer wants to regulate.

    I believe everyone in the industry knows ICANN is the DNS regulator – numerous examples in the past where they have regulated.

    But the recent narrative from ICANN over the past several years is that they are not a regulator and do not want to engage in price regulation.

    Why does ICANN believe it is no longer a regulator? Why is ICANN abandoning this role?

    And the billion dollar question…..
    If ICANN claims it is no longer a regulator – who is regulating??????????

  6. Snoopy says

    Probably nothing will happen short of extreme government pressure. US government is typically only concerned about .com so nothing happening is the most likely scenario.

  7. martin watt says

    A campaign is needed to force the authorities to shut ICANN down and transfer its operations to a new International organisation. It is and never has been fit for purpose. No single country should have the power to control internet domains.

  8. John says

    A statement like that is part of the oldest BS in the playbook when dealing with organizational corruption.

    And everybody said, “How conveeeeeeeeeeeeenient…”

  9. John says

    And like I said, never could have happened under US oversight, not even with the current pro-elite pro-plutocracy administration, and not even the removal of price caps. Now, however, there is ample “political cover” to let it happen, especially since billionaire Republicans have the upper hand in it.

    And even say something like “we have no authority” if pushed. 😉

  10. Kp says

    Sorry for the profanoty. Bit ICANN just does not give a f—- anymore. They are captured and totally controlled by the registries. They are not acting in the public’s best interest but in the interest of their biggest funders. They are simply a trade association, and a corrupt one at that. Such a sorry and sad day for sure!

  11. Samantha says

    off topic here but the new owner of porn.co is trying to sell it for $499,000 on adult site broker . com its only been a few weeks whats going on? he purchased it for $22k is he new?

  12. Kp says

    It is crazy they wanted to be an international organization not privy to U. S. oversight. But then they go off saying they dont have the authority. Seems like the worlds biggest scam and a prime example why ‘nonprofits’ like icann should not be international.

    Oh the irony with being a nonprofit, operating on a .org domain.

    • martin watt says

      I disagree. How dare Americans assume only they should have the power to register domain names. The Internet IS International and should be regulated by some kind of International body. Clearly American regulation has failed with this scam sale run by ICANN.

  13. John says

    What is Ethos Capital actually acquiring? The no-bid, presumptive right of renewal contract?

    PIR does not own .org – it is merely the outsourced provider for ICANN. ICANN owns and controls .org

    ICANN does not have the ability to sell or assign this vast global resource.

    PIR does not own – and Ethos Capital will not own .org after this transaction has closed

    PIR / Ethos Capital is only the third-party contracted registry service provider.

    But ICANN is claiming it has no authority over .ORG? How is this possible?
    ICANN is the owner / trustee for .ORG correct?

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