Sale to Ethos delayed as ICANN requests more information.
ICANN has delayed its approval of the sale of .Org to private equity company Ethos Capital by requesting more information.
According to its contract with Public Interest Registry (PIR) to run .org, ICANN had 30 days from when PIR notified it of the transaction to request more information. It has now done so. After it receives the responses, it has 30 days to either approve or withhold its consent of the registry transfer.
ICANN will thoroughly evaluate the responses and then ICANN has 30 additional days to provide or withhold its consent to the request. The Registry Agreement requires a standard of reasonableness for ICANN’s determination.
What’s reasonableness? That’s a good question, which might ultimately have to be determined by the courts.
ICANN also disclosed that PIR denied ICANN’s request to make its request for registry transfer public. ICANN questioned this decision in light of Internet Society CEO Andrew Sullivan saying he wished there were more transparency.
In a letter, ICANN General Counsel Jeff Jeffrey wrote (pdf):
As you, Andrew, ISOC’s CEO stated publicly during a webcast meeting in which you participated on 5 December 2019, you are uncomfortable with the lack of transparency. Many of us watching the communications on this transaction are also uncomfortable.
The webcast was this one with NTEN.
Keep the pressure on, this is just a side step to make it look like they are doing DD after the fact. These guys financials for life need to be audited, as someone is going to be getting two golden parachutes.
Why will Ethos not agree to a full and transparent disclosure? Despite the fact they said they would do this weeks ago!
What is Ethos Capital trying to hide?
John Berryhill says
I remember all the way back to last week, when ICANN couldn’t do anything.
Andrew Allemann says
So what do you think changed? Or are they just putting this out there to show their concern?
It’s Corruption 101, Andrew. What changed is a withering and persistent spotlight that even the most brazen don’t always feel they can ignore. And over, above and around all that an omniscient and omnipresent Divine Providence. See KZ’s post headline today about pretending…
thealliance.media / what to do about .org Milton Muller
This is the best reporting I’ve seen regarding .org.
Require contract mod to remove arbitrary renewal limits to gain the support of the community it is supposed to serve, Non-profits.
I believe Ethos will agree to this and the deal will go thru as it’s not the reg fees they are “excited” about. For the most part, it funds the endowment/ op costs.
The money is in the added services.
Future investment money – “Social good” B corps. Status.
Also likely, once the deal is done, non-profit status/ association to reg. To eliminate speculators and spammers.
Brad Mugford says
ICANN clearly has the authority to stop this. Their initial “We can’t do anything” response is a bunch of nonsense.
There is a difference between being unable and unwilling to do something.
If ICANN thinks that they have no authority to regulate domain names, then there really is no reason that they need to exist.
If however, they see themselves as a public benefit multi-stake holder organization still, this deal needs to be blocked. Millions of registrants get nothing, other than being thrown under the bus.
The fact that Andrew Sullivan says one thing about transparency, then refuses to make the request for transfer public says all you need to know about this deal.
This reflects poorly on Andrew Sullivan, the ISOC, PIR, Fadi Chehade, and all the other insiders involved in this.
It seems like all these former ICANN connected parties and insiders thought they were going to discretely pull off this heist. Unfortunately, it has probably got a lot more (negative) attention than they were expecting.
So who is regulating?
If ICANN is telling the world they want to be out of the game of price regulation – who is filling ICANN’s regulatory role? Who did ICANN hand the baton off to?
Or is the DNS operating in a vacuum and there is no regulatory body overseeing this vast global resource?
Thus, nobody looking out for consumers.