Did billionaire Republicans just buy the .ORG domain extension?

I guess you have by now heard the news about the .org extension being sold to Ethos Capital.

A Medium post claims that there are more investors besides Ethos Capital and behind these investment firms are 3 billionaire Republicans.

Jacob Malthouse, who started the “Stop the .ORG Digital Land Grab” petition on Change.org, claims that an email was sent to a public mailing list by Internet Society CEO Andrew Sullivan, who apparently sees nothing wrong with this outcome.

The email identifies the three families that have come together to buy .ORG. They are all American and they are all Republican.

The proud new owners of the .ORG domain are the Johnsons, the Perots and the Romneys.

Andrew Sullivan claims that the investors in addition to Ethos Capital are:

  • Perot Holdings (affiliated with Petrus Asset Management Co/Petrus Holding Co)
  • FMR LLC (affiliated with Johnson family)
  • Solamere Capital (affiliated with Romney family)

Here is a screenshot from the newsletter:

Jacob Malthouse was the co-founder of the .eco domain, former ICANN Staffer and co-founder of the Principles for Responsible Investment.

Fadi Chehade, the former President and CEO of the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) appears to have a connection with Ethos Capital. Chehade is an Abry Senior Advisor. Abry is the fund that bought Donuts.


About Konstantinos Zournas

I studied Computer Engineering and Computer Science in London, UK and I am now living in Athens, Greece. I went online in 1995, started coding in 1996 and began buying domain names and creating websites in 2000. I started the OnlineDomain.com blog in 2012.


  1. Hmm Fadi Chehade registered EthosCapital.org way back in May of this year, so he seems to be involved with the actual firm that purchased dot org (not in public view though, apparently).

    Wow, so you can go from being a senior official at ICANN to working with the big boys at a private equity firm and rubbing elbows with the wealthiest people in the world? Who knew working for the industry’s governing body was such a lucrative career path! Does ICANN have a job board? I’ve got to check that out!

  2. “Internet Society CEO Andrew Sullivan, who apparently sees nothing wrong with this outcome.”

    What a strange situation where the CEO os a supposed charity is now doing PR for the billionaire buyers.

    Will Icann simply endorse this sale or will they make an embarrassing admission? My guess is they will double down on the bad decision and it would take US government pressure for them to change course.

  3. Well technically I don’t believe the Romney’s are billionaires, so I don’t know what anyone is concerned about.

    Word to the wise: whenever you see the job title “Senior Advisor,” you can bet everything you own some major BS is going down. I speak from firsthand experience.

    And to think – people were so concerned about “taking over the Internet” before the transition from US oversight. Especially Republicans, that was their very talking point. (I’m not a Democrat either.)

    And I still say it’s a virtual certainty none of this could ever have happened had US oversight not been removed, however – *despite* how wicked and corrupt so many (but not all) of us are over here.

    • Konstantinos Zournas

      John, I am still waiting for the US government to do something. Do you think they do nothing because of the great missing ICANN “oversight”?
      Come on… The US has ignored the United Nations countless times in wars all over the world. Do you think they won’t touch an organization with US headquarters because someone from Sweden will complain about the oversight? (No one will complain.) Please…
      Among other things these people are manipulating the stock market with their decisions and some are probably shareholders in these companies. Lock them up.

      BTW I don’t really care if they are billionaires or millionaires or Republicans or Democrats. All I care is that ICANN stinks and every registrant is getting screwed.
      And I don’t care about the messenger either.

  4. “And this just in, folks: Republicans, who were so concerned about China and Russia ‘taking over the Internet’ prior to the transition from US oversight of ICANN, are now busy taking over the Internet. More on our 9 o’clock broadcast tonight…”

  5. Looks like the nonprofits are really rallying the troops.

    Nearly 30 of the biggest nonprofits in the world have just signed a letter demanding the sale of dot org to private equity be stopped.


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