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Answering Additional Questions about Ethos’ Acquisition of Public Interest Registry (PIR)

A few good questions have circulated in response to my recent blog post seeking clarity around the following: 1) what we mean with respect to adhering to Public Interest Registry’s (PIR) historic practices on pricing, and 2) our interpretation of how the new co-operative proposal would reward speculators.

With regard to Ethos’ pricing commitments: we are not saying that we will raise prices 10% every year—our commitment is that any price increase would not exceed 10% per year on average, if at all. This is in line with PIR’s historic practices before price restrictions for .ORG (and nearly every other domain) were lifted as part of ICANN’s new registry agreement.

To the point about the new co-operative proposal rewarding speculators, I encourage those interested to closely read their articles of incorporation. Article 13 states that it would “distribute the remaining savings to its member-patron registrants, proportional with the number of .ORG domains held by each.” In other words, a speculator with tens of thousands of .ORG names would presumably receive a larger proportion of those savings than, say, a nonprofit that may have just one or two.

I appreciate the continued interest to learn as much as possible about the Ethos acquisition of PIR, and welcome the opportunity to clarify our commitments to the community.

By Nora Abusitta-Ouri, Chief Purpose Officer at Ethos Capital

Nora Abusitta-Ouri is the Chief Purpose Officer at Ethos Capital, where she oversees the development and execution of social impact and ethics initiatives for the firm and the companies in which it invests. She also serves as the Executive Director of the Digital Ethos Foundation, a global nonprofit committed to fostering a trustworthy, just and peaceful digital world.

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Still not addressing the intention to financially exploit .ORG registrants Nat Cohen  –  Feb 8, 2020 8:50 PM

These responses raise more questions than they answer.

Since you are focussing on an average increase of 10% rather than an annual increase of 10%, does this mean that you are not excluding the option of imposing an immediate multi-year increase followed by several years of no increases?  For instance, an immediate raise to $16 per .org domain name per year followed by five years of no further price increases?  If so, this would immediately increase the financial burden on .org registrants by approximately $60 million per year.

As to the harm caused by the new co-operative’s proposal to offer a fair price to .org registrants, as 90%+ of .ORG domain names are not registered to speculators, then proportionally speaking non-speculators will enjoy the benefit of 90%+ of the savings from reasonable - rather than over-inflated - .ORG pricing.

There is no way to avoid the central truth that Ethos Capital’s interest in .ORG is to financially exploit .ORG registrants.

Profit? Chris Beach  –  Feb 12, 2020 3:37 AM

ICANN, a not-for-profit, assigned the operation of the .ORG extension, primarily used by not-for-profit organizations, to ISOC, a not-for-profit, who created PIR, a not-for-profit.

Then, some as yet unnamed ICANN staff, without formal board approval and against the clearly expressed wishes of the stakeholders, removed the price caps, just prior to ex-ICANN staff with redacted names setting up Ethos.

Feel like dropping some names here, Nora? Where do you fit in exactly, and who gave you your job?

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