Ethos/Internet Society Deceptive From the Start on .Org

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There is no historic practice in a legacy gTLD to raise prices 10%, except yours.

If you search for anything related to the .org deal, you will find a paid spot at the top of search engine results for They have various taglines like

“We would never make dramatic price increases, as we know that would harm .ORG customers. Get the details about .ORG pricing and other information regarding the transaction.” (Source Google Search)

So from the start, only because of the sale to Ethos Capital, the .org registry, awarded to the non-profit Internet Society, is spending the registrants user fees to promote and justify their self-dealing transaction.  So the path is we need to raise prices to pay for the promotion and justification of our deal to raise prices.

So in the past year the “trusted custodian” of the .org registry, given to them in 2002 to promote competition in the registry space, has seen their costs reduced by 50%, locked in future price increases and cashed out for a reported $1.3 Billion.  Of course, now they are transparent about the price, only when it was discovered.

And now in their first days they are the custodian of .org, they come out with a self-serving “spirit” trying to win the public relations battle.  I say Internet Society, shame on you.

Since shame is the only weapon we as registrants have.  Ethos/PIR, along with their fellow hundred million dollar endowment partner ICANN, have cemented the deal in a seemingly random series of beneficial transactions.

Ethos/PIR/Internet Society Recreating Facts from the Start

In describing their benevolent intent, we have:

“The current price of a .ORG domain name is approximately $10 per year. Our plan is to live within the spirit of historic practice when it comes to pricing, which means, potentially, annual price increases of up to 10 percent on average – which today would equate to approximately $1 per year.” Source

My problem is, beside .org itself in 2003 on the award of the contract: and the past 2 years, there had never been a $1 price increase in a legacy gTLD, ever.  How can you match historic practice when the historic practice you reference is yours?  There have been price increases to boost profit only. The cost per name for registry services has decreased at every registry services renewal. Historic practice would be two increases every 15 years.  About 15 cents a year.

Verisign has raised once or twice, and to cover ICANN fees. The wholesale price of a .com is similar to the price 20 years ago.  Other increases were blocked. So $1.80 over 20 years is about 9 cents a year.    So yes they have the right to raise in the future.  But, as we said in November, this price increase is just for Verisign shareholders, or full profit.  So lets just says it, increasing pure profit to the new owner, that is your “spirit”.

Before the last 2 bumps, the price for a .org had been the same since 2003, $9.05. Source Wikipedia.

So after almost no historic price increases, we now have a trusted custodian saying they will stay to the “spirit” of the past increases.  If you want to stay in the spirit, drop prices.

It is my opinion the Internet Society has always been closely tied to ICANN. They were given the .org when Verisign gained lifetime leverage over .com. But $100,000,000 a year wasn’t enough for them.  For me, the next time the Internet Society tells me whats good for the internet, I’ll see it as simply they are telling me what is good for them.

The Spirit of a Non-Profit

Because as a non profit monopoly provider of .org registrations, with their costs dropping 50%, they went against the overwhelming internet user public comments and won unlimited increases, and sold out.  Maybe no one in the Society mentioned, “hey since this is all the registrants money, lets drop fees for the good of internet users we claim to help and provide a low cost top level domain for organizations globally.” That is the spirit I am looking for in a non-profit.

The transfer of .org is a threat to the safety and stability of the internet because the second largest legacy TLD has a new master. The new master paid $1.3 Billion and the cost of paying back and providing a return on that billion dollar investment will come on the backs of .org registrants.  Each .org registrant has been “sold” to a new owner. There was no vote of registrants.

All registry contracts trace back to a zero cost bid contract award by the U.S. Government.  Never should it be that one of the costs registry operators can recover and build into domain pricing is the return to a private equity purchaser.

So I’m envious, they made a great deal. But don’t come at me with the false intent of a beneficial “spirit”.  We only have a short track record, and the spirit I see is get what you can from every registrant.

Private Equity is no doubt motivated by profit. But to the Internet Society, I see a hard to defend money grab, especially in their early post-deal actions.

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