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.org back-end deal will come up for re-bid, PIR says as it acquires four new gTLDs

Kevin Murphy, December 8, 2021, Domain Registries

The industry’s most lucrative back-end registry services contract will be rebid, Public Interest Registry said today.

The deal, which sees PIR pay Afilias $18.3 million a year to run .org, according to tax records, will see a request for proposals issued in the back half of 2023, according to PIR.

Given that’s two years away, it’s strange timing for the announcement, which came at the bottom of a press release and blog post announcing that the company is acquiring four new gTLDs, three of which belong to Afilias’ new owner, Donuts.

PIR said Donuts is to transfer control of .charity, .foundation and .gives, which will be “reintroduced” to the market. .foundation currently has about 20,000 registered domains; the other two have a few thousand each.

It’s also acquiring the unlaunched gTLD .giving from a company called Giving Ltd.

All four are on-message for PIR’s not-for-profit portfolio, which also includes the barely-used .ngo and .ong for non-governmental organizations.

Those two gTLDs are getting decoupled, allowing registrants to register one without having to buy the other, PIR also said today.

The last time the PIR back-end contract came up for renewal, in 2015, Afilias was also the incumbent but increased competition — it was up against 20 rivals — meant that its slice of .org revenue was cut in half.

Lady Gaga dumps .org for freebie new gTLD

With all the recent headlines about celebrities who feel compelled to protect their personal brands in .porn and .sucks, it’s worth noting that celebs also find new gTLDs useful.
Lady Gaga has re-domained her Born This Way Foundation non-profit, dumping a .org for a domain in the new gTLD .foundation.
The old bornthiswayfoundation.org, which still tops Google searches for the organization, now redirects to bornthisway.foundation.
The domain was registered April 1.
Donuts tell me the foundation is not paying for the domain, but declined to comment on whether the registration was as a result of some kind of registry marketing.
Born This Way Foundation was set up by pop singer Lady Gaga at the .org address in 2012.
I’d like to tell you what the foundation does, but unfortunately its web site contains nothing but impenetrable PR waffle.
Something to do with “supporting the wellness of young people and empowering them to create a kinder and braver world” and “shining a light on real people, quality research, and authentic partnerships”.
Nevertheless, it’s associated with Lady Gaga, who is just about as high-profile a celebrity as they get.
It’s a potential awareness-raiser for a gTLD with about 5,200 registered names.