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Published: November 2019

The sale of .org a big concern for non-profit organizations

A private equity firm will soon run the internet’s top domain name extension for non-profits after purchasing the non-profit organization that runs it. Millions of non-profits around the world rely on .org domain. Yet, the Internet Society, the American nonprofit organization founded in 1992 to provide leadership in internet-related standards, decided to sell it, causing concern that fees to renew domain names will drastically increase in order for the firm to recoup its billion-dollar investment. Proponents of the deal reasoned that competition will keep renewal prices in check, but non-profit associations with established web addresses are wary to risk changing their web address and losing their online identity—in doing so, organizations may not be found by clients and donors under a new web address.

Internet Society, the non-profit group that has managed the .org domain registry since 2002, said it had reached an agreement to be acquired by the private equity firm Ethos Capital for an undisclosed price. The deal is expected to close early next year. There is now great concern that a for-profit firm would raise registration and yearly renewal prices to recoup its billion-dollar investment. There are roughly 10 million .org domains in operation. Over twenty-four organizations, including Consumer Action, have signed a letter in opposition of the acquisition. 


Lead Organization

Electronic Fontier Foundation (EFF)

Other Organizations

350.org | 91.3 WVUD | AccessNow | American Alliance of Museums | America's Service Commissions | APACHE | APS Physics | April | ASAE | CiviCRM | Code for America | Consumer Action | Consumer Reports | Creative Commons | Crisis Text Line | CWA | CYON | Defending Rights & Dissent | Demand Progress | Digital Rights Watch | DNRC | DoSomething.org | EFF | EPIC | The Enviornmental Center | European Climate Foundation | Farm Aid | Feeding America | FFDN | Fight for the Future | Greenpeace | Jobs with Justice | MapLight | National Council of Non Profits | Open Knowledge Foundation | Open Society Foundations | OpenSourceMatters | Public Citizen | Rainforest Action Network | Sierra Club | YMCA | YWCA

More Information

To read the letter in full, and to see the full list of coalition groups, click here.

For more information, please visit EFF.

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