May 01, 2020

Wyden, Warren, Eshoo, Markey Applaud ICANN Blocking Sale of .Org Registry

Members Repeatedly Urged ICANN to Keep Nonprofit Domains Out of the Hands of Private Equity Firm

Washington, D.C. – Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., and colleagues today applauded the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) for blocking the sale of the .org registry to a little-known venture capital firm, Ethos Capital.

U.S. Sens. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., and Edward J. Markey, D-Mass., and U.S. Rep. Anna Eshoo, D-Calif., also praised the decision to put users and nonprofit organizations above private equity profits. 

“ICANN made the right decision,” Wyden said. “This deal would have saddled the .org registry with hundreds of millions of dollars of debt, putting it in an unstable position during this current economic crisis, solely to enrich a private equity firm at the expense of users and nonprofits. The .org registry is too important to be at the mercy of wealthy investors.”

“I’m glad ICANN listened to our concerns and blocked a private equity takeover of the .org domain registry, which would have raised costs on .org websites and threatened them with censorship. This is good news for nonprofits and everyone who relies on a free and open internet,” Warren said.

“ICANN’s decision is a big win for the internet,” said Rep. Eshoo. “Like so many people and organizations around the world, I strongly opposed the takeover of ‘.org’ by a private equity firm and joined my colleagues in urging ICANN to reject the proposal. Now more than ever, nonprofits, mission driven organization, charities, and international organizations depend on reliable and affordable ‘.org’ domains to fulfil their missions, and I applaud ICANN’s decision to side with the public interest.”

“ICANN was right in its decision to keep nonprofit domains out of the domain of a private equity firm. It made no sense to subject the .org registry with debt and uncertainty just so wealthy investors could make a buck. The .org registry helps support the backbone of our nonprofit community, and we need them protected now more than ever during the coronavirus crisis,” Markey said.

The members repeatedly urged a rejection of the sale in a letters to Ethos Capital and two letters to ICANN.