The .Org Domain Racket

Breaking: Private Equity company acquires .Org registry

Tim Owens pointed me to this article about the .Org registry that reports not long after ICANN lifted price caps on .org domains the Public Interest Registry (which is controlled by the Internet Society) was bought by Ethos Capital, a recently formed private equity firm.* In other words, the .org top-level domain (TLD) is now controlled by a group that can charge as much as it wants, and given it’s private equity firm, chances are it will do just that. Why does this matter to me? Well, .Org domains are one of a few TLDs Reclaim Hosting provides for free as part of our shared hosting accounts, and frankly they’re already more expensive than .com, .net, and .info domains. So, with ICANN’s move to remove price caps it would make sense the other common TLDs will be following suit making it more and more difficult to provide affordable domains and hosting. Ultimately these costs get passed on to consumers given the pricing for domains in general is already quite steep. To give you a sense of this, we pay more than twice as much for domain registrations than we do for servers. In fact, besides payroll domain registrations are our single biggest cost. What’s more, we make next to no money on domains, and the more prices are inflated the harder and harder it is for us to swallow the costs given there’s already so little profit margin. It’ a shame to see ICANN go this route, and given the news of  cPanel’s being acquired by an equities firm as well over a year ago, it seems the hosting and domain world is being swallowed up by the investment banking world.


  • If you read the linked article you get a sense of how incestuous this whole deal seems:

Ethos Capital is a new private equity firm lead by Erik Brooks. Brooks was at Abry Partners until earlier this year. Abry Partners acquired Donuts and installed former ICANN President of Global Domains Akram Atallah in the top spot there.

Donuts co-founder Jon Nevett left to be CEO of Public Interest Registry.

The other person at Ethos is former ICANN Senior Vice President Abusitta-Ouri.

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5 Responses to The .Org Domain Racket

  1. iamTalkyTina says:

    Well, it is just another example of The Man sticking it to the little guy (or gal).

    So it should be possible for somebody to propose a new domain kind called .reclaim (dot reclaim) that could be used by all the ones who don’t want to have their data sucked up by The Man because they can reclaim their TLD as well as what they put on it and where they put it.

    You can have that idea for free, UNCLE Jim, in the spirit of open reclaim for the little people. (Just save iamTalkyTina.reclaim for me, please!)

    Your #TrueFriend,

    @iamTalkyTina

  2. Jim Groom says:

    HI Tina,

    Big fan, and I wish we could start a .reclaim TLD, but that is big businesss. And given we aim to serve all the guys and dolls like you, it would be out of our price range. I am interested, in some tech liberterian dream vision {fuck off Caulfield!}, in the idea of blockchain domains https://hackernoon.com/blockchain-domains-what-are-they-and-how-are-they-implemented-hi2b30hu I don;t understand them, but the idea of re-thinking domain names outside the existing ICANN structure would be a welcome experiment. Some things do need to be disrupted 🙂

  3. Yes, UNCLE Jim, that is the problem with all those big business. They get all the money and power and close everything up and don’t want to be nice and share and be open. So I agree with you about those Racketeers.

    I don’t know if we could convince them with blocks and chains, but I know sometimes it takes a revolution and barricades, with flags and torches, and a far better life than I have ever done, plus there was that invention of Monsieur Le Guillotine a few years back.

    So yeah. Meaners.

  4. Tim Owens says:

    More on this at https://www.theregister.co.uk/2019/11/20/org_registry_sale_shambles/ I’m just reading about today. This industry can be so slimy sometimes.

    • Jim Groom says:

      Damn, just catching up on this link, it went from bad to worse, and crazy how something like .org can be sold to what is effectively a shell company made up of former employees and industry insiders, nothing to see here….

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