What? Dot.org is for sale? An F.A.Q. from RoundTable

What? Dot.org is for sale? An F.A.Q. from RoundTable


What is this is all about?

On November 13th, The Public Interest Registry, the organization responsible for the dot.org and dot.ngo domains, announced that it had been sold to private equity firm, Ethos Capital.

Here is that announcement.

OK, so what?

Back in June of this year (without much fanfare), ICAAN (see glossary below) removed the price caps on dot.org domains.

The combination of these two things has many people worried that Ethos Capital will not prove to be good stewards of dot.org and that nonprofits could be price-gouged for keeping their domains or, worse, have their domains revoked for political reasons.

Yikes, is that likely to happen?

Hard to say. But it’s got enough people worried that over 15,000 people and over 200 organizations have signed onto a petition at savedotorg.org started by NTEN.

What should I do?

A simple action is to ensure your organizations key dot.org domain names (e.g. mynonprofit.org, myothernonprofit.org and any other domain names you use at your dot.org) are renewed for a long time (at least a decade, let’s say). Call it the “forever stamp” strategy.

If you want to learn more, you can read the information provided by PIR and by NTEN and decide if you wish to sign the petition at savedotorg.org.

If you want to really dive in deep and learn even more, NTEN hosted a community call on December 5th that included representatives from the Internet Society, Electronic Frontier Foundation, The National Council of Nonprofits, and Internet Society chapter leaders, the Public Interest Registry, and Ethos Capital. NTEN also has a curated list of articles on the topic here.


Some terms and acronyms that will help you as you read articles about this topic:

TLD - A top-level domain (TLD) is the part of a domain that comes after the dot, for example, .com, .org, .edu, or .net.

ICAAN - The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers is a nonprofit organization responsible for coordinating the maintenance and procedures of several databases related to the namespaces and numerical spaces of the Internet, ensuring the network's stable and secure operation.

ISOC - The Internet Society is an American nonprofit organization founded in 1992 to provide leadership in Internet-related standards, education, access, and policy. Its mission is "to promote the open development, evolution and use of the Internet for the benefit of all people throughout the world."

PIR - Formerly the Public Interest Registry, rebranded as “thenew.org” as part of its sale to Ethos Capital.

NTEN - Nonprofit Technology Enterprise Network

If you want additional help with any of the topics covered in the article, you can contact your account manager, or reach out to RoundTable Technology here and we’d be happy to assist you.

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