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Could .org debate bring back the glory days of ICANN public forums?

Kevin Murphy, March 5, 2020, 17:42:03 (UTC), Domain Policy

ICANN is going to devote 90 minutes to discussing the controversial acquisition of Public Interest Registry by Ethos Capital on Monday, and the sparks could fly.

It’s actually going to be the first formal session of the abridged, online-only ICANN 67 meeting, which had been due to take place in Cancun but will now be carried out fully online. The customary opening ceremony has been scrapped.

Seventy minutes will be devoted to taking questions and comments from the “room”. ICANN 67 is sticking to Cancun’s time zone and the .org session starts at 1400 UTC, which would have been 0900 at the venue.

ICANN warned that the sessions is devoted to the process ICANN is using to approve, or not, the acquisition, and that it “cannot address questions and comments that relate to the ISOC, PIR, Ethos Capital, or other parties involved in the proposed transfer”.

The deal is controversial largely because critics believe Ethos, as a private equity company, is much more likely to start to rip off .org registrars with price hikes than not-for-profit ISOC. But Ethos has offered to bake conditions into its contract that limit it to 10% increases per year on average.

Given the vast amount of interest in the .org deal from outside the usual ICANN community, we could see the kind of robust debate that was common in the ICANN public forum sessions during the birth throes of the new gTLD program, but which has been sadly lacking in recent years.

Newcomers wishing to get involved might like to first familiarize themselves with ICANN’s Expected Standards of Behavior. Anyone dropping the F-bomb or calling the deal “gay”, as happened during the recent .com comment period, will very likely be kicked and banned. Just imagine you’re talking to Titania McGrath and you should be okay.

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Comments (3)

  1. “Anyone dropping the F-bomb or calling the deal “gay”, as happened during the recent .com comment period…”

    Please share links…

  2. John says:

    It is time to STOP the wholesale shift-in-control and -ownership of key swaths of the internet to BIG MONEY interests.

    Looking at the Ethos acquisition of Donuts, and now its proposed acquisition of .ORG, the need for a Board of Governors – such at that at the Smithsonian Institution – to oversee the administration and management of assigned names and numbers currently the charge of ICANN is glaringly evident.

    Another case in point: the sale of that whale of all cash-cows, Mark Monitor, to a “blank check” company controlled by Churchill Capital Group, which is “affiliated” with Swiss banking interests.

    According to since-redacted text on their website (https://churchillcapitalcorp.com/about-us/) as of Q4 2019:

    “Churchill Capital Corp, a newly incorporated blank check company formed as a
    Delaware corporation in 2018 for the purpose of effecting a merger, share exchange, asset
    acquisition, share exchange, asset acquisition, share purchase, reorganization or similar business combination with one or more businesses. Churchill Capital Corp merged with Clarivate Analytics in 2019, …”

    Back when, the U.S. government thought it was putting the care and feeding of the internet into the hands of the dedicated computer scientists who had created and nurtured it, and suffused it with goodwill. Under current rubrics, the care remains with them, but the feeding has migrated to the troughs of the bankers looking to skim the cream from their collective efforts and, in finance, profit trumps conscience, ethics and goodwill every time.

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