Dot Org users worried prices will increase under private ownership

Weblog: whoever runs dot org registry has the power to set and raise domain prices

Mark Surman of the Mozilla Foundation says  it is important that significant parts of the internet ‘remain dedicated to the public interest’

Mark Surman of the Mozilla Foundation says it is important that significant parts of the internet ‘remain dedicated to the public interest’

 

The key difference between .com and .org domains is that dot orgs are managed by the Public Interest Registry and are geared towards non-profits. However, the registry (itself a non-profit) recently announced it is selling the domain name registry to private equity firm Ethos Capital.

This is concerning for organisations including Creative Commons and the Electronic Frontier Foundation: they worry that previously capped costs could rise under new management, thus pricing out thousands of charities and other organisations.

Mark Surman, executive director of the Mozilla Foundation, said of the sale: “Yes, much of the internet is and should be commercial but it is important that significant parts of the internet also remain dedicated to the public interest. The current dot org ecosystem is clearly one of these parts.”

Surman says that whoever runs the dot org registry has the power to set and raise domain prices, can define rights protection rules (although presumably this is within the boundaries of GDPR), and has the power to suspend or take down domains that are considered unlawful (a standard that varies widely depending on jurisdiction).

“It is critical that whoever runs the dot org registry is a reliable steward who can be held accountable for exercising these powers fairly and effectively,” he added.

blog.mozilla.org/blog/2019/12/03/questions-about-org/