Ethos tries to assuage concerns, but non-profits have more questions.
Last week NTEN, a group that helps non-profits use technology, held a Q&A with the three parties involved with the sale of .org: Private equity firm Ethos, Internet Society (ISOC), and Public Interest Registry.
It was an interesting call and the first time we’ve really heard from Ethos, other than carefully worded statements on its website.
Questions related to: why ISOC didn’t put the .org contract out to bid, why the rush to complete the detal, how long Ethos plans to hold its investment, how Ethos can assure the community that it won’t raise prices much, and several other topics.
You can watch the full session here:
Google paid advert coming up since I search for NTEN original video link:
IRS 990 2003:
Organization Primary Exempt Purpose
“3) Educating the noncommercial, NGO and nonprofit global community about how to more effectively and more efficiently utilize the internet to accomplish their important missions.”
Changed slightly in 2007
“And responsive to the issues and needs of the ever expanding and unique worldwide non-commercial/non-profit oriented community”
One of the final comments is also disturbing. I understood it to mean that no 501C3 organization will be disallowed from registering a .ORG domain name. That misses the obvious issue that 501C3 requirements are themselves highly restrictive. So in effect the statement translates:
“We will not add additional restrictions to those required by the IRS. Anyone without 503C3 status may not be able to obtain a .ORG domain name.”
Now lets extend that to other countries. How will they be handled? 501C3 is a US concept, not a world wide status.
For example, current attempts to eliminate 501C3 status for Religious institutions:
“First they came for the Communists
And I did not speak out
Because I was not a Communist
Then they came for the Socialists
And I did not speak out
Because I was not a Socialist
Then they came for the trade unionists
And I did not speak out
Because I was not a trade unionist
Then they came for the Jews
And I did not speak out
Because I was not a Jew
Then they came for me
And there was no one left
To speak out for me”
The registry either allows unrestricted registrations, or it does not.
Remarkable Eric Brooks of Ethos Capital said lifting of price caps “was not part of our decision making process.”
I find that simply not credible. And it makes me doubt the credibility of everything else that he says.
* Fadi Chehade registered the domain EthosCapital.org on May 7, 2019.
* Abry Managing Partner Erik Brooks (who also sits on the Donuts board) formed Ethos Capital LLC in Delaware on May 14, 2019.
Now pay attention to these dates:
– ICANN opened its public comment on the removal of all pricing caps in .ORG on March 18, 2019.
– ICANN closed public comments on April 29, 2019.
– ICANN staff report occurred on May 13, 2019.
Fadi Chehade had inside information on the removal of price caps. He was aware of the staff report ahead of time and was aware what staff was thinking. He was aware that ICANN was going to ignore 3,200 public comments and remove all pricing caps in .org
Furthermore, the formation of Ethos Capital LLC occurred one day after staff comments were released about removing prices from .org in the “Proposed Renewal of .org Registry Agreement”. So when Erik Brooks says that removal of pricing caps was not part of their decision making process – this is hocus pocus.
Smoke and mirrors………..
Also, Jon Nevett said he was not aware of the deal until September 2019. There is absolutely no way this is accurate. Jon Nevett absolutely had knowledge about this proposed transaction many months prior to September. Frankly, he and Fadi likely coordinated this entire thing…
Why does Ethos Capital and Erik Brooks and Andrew Sullivan and Jon Nevett continue to lie?
Lies, lies and more lies…….
Andrew Allemann says
Other terms also changed in the new registry agreement. For example, a the registry can now own a registrar.
Charles Christopher says
Made more interesting in that this was previously true, then it was stopped. So somehow the original reason for stopping such relationships has gone away. At least in the mind of ICANN.
Which reminds me these statements have two audiances. The first being the very small group of domain professionals who know truth, and history.
Then there are the registrants who will accept a good story, because it sounds good (Frank Zappa’s valley girl was on my mind as i listened).
There are more registrants than professionals. And in the minds of most registrants, the professionals are evil.
Did ICANN fully consider issues of vertical integration before moving .ORG to the new gTLD version of the registry agreement?
Ad you point out Mr. Allemann, after June 30, 2019 – the .org registry operator is now able to vertically integrate and become (or acquire) a domain name registrar. Or vice versa.
Previously, vertical integration was not allowed on legacy TLD’s due to competition issues. The Department of Commerce specifically did not allow registries to be a registrar at the same time. The US Government specifically broke up Network Solutions / Verisign in the early 2000’s for this very reason. The US Government told NSI they had to choose – be a registry or a registrar. But not both. They did not want firms being both the supplier and retailer – which creates a whole set of new problems with favorable treatment, equal access, uniform pricing, tiered access, etc.
What type of analysis was performed by ICANN prior to allowing vertical integration with .org? Did ICANN study market and competition issues? Did ICANN reach out to any experts or conduct economic or other studies? Did ICANN consult with any regulators (considering ICANN claims it is not one.)
Or did ICANN do nothing – simply offered PIR the new version of the registry contract without considering any future consequences of its actions?
What if Verisign acquires PIR from Ethos Capital in two years’ time?
What if a Chinese national firm acquires PIR from Ethos Capital?
And as you point out Andrew, what if GoDaddy acquired PIR?
Will’s ICANN’s decision lead to even greater concentration of powers in the DNS?
The pir also has the .ngo/ ong extensions and a platform Ongood
That highlights vetted international organizations that don’t apply to 503’s in this country
Loose Restrictions are in place
This is the future business plan I see- from call,
ability to sell other extensions for profit
ongood as a global platform that facilitates donation transactions globally.
Doners pay transaction.. LOTS of them.
For a small MONTHLY fee web site management, platform, security etc. Specific to non profit niche globally in many languages.
The site encourages the use of many domains for various reasons. Currently in 5 languages.
Ngo’s /.org’s get global exposure.
Reg fees already fund overhead and endowment. Not likely to need reg increases or reg term limits at all.
Reg fees could easily remain as non- profit status
while the rest is for profit like other vendors to non profits
This should be an easy voluntary in writing concession Ethos.
The foundation and framing of this biz is free and the cash flow pays the rest + ! A deal of a lifetime.
No mention of the “other” assets interesting.
The internet society focus is net access, Not platform buildout for nonprofits. (48% global population still not connected yet, that’s what the endowment is for ?)
If any current registry/ registrar purchased would they focus on a non profit buildout? Not likely.
It’s not their focus either.
Eric not in person – not good.