New website (full of BS, lies and omissions) created about the .ORG sale

The 3 companies involved in the .ORG domain name extension sale, PIR, Internet Society and Ethos Capital, created a new website about the .ORG sale: keypointsabout.org.

This seems like a reply to the website created by many Non-Profits at savedotorg.org and all the articles and criticism that the sale has received in the past few days.

The 3 companies attempt to reply to some frequently asked questions about this transaction with responses that should provide additional clarity.

Of course most of the content and responses are simply bullshit trying to blow smoke into our eyes.

Here are some important points and my comments:

  • Ethos Capital is an investment company firmly rooted in the belief that prosperity should be built and shared, and that innovation has the power to fuel growth and success for all.  It was founded by Erik Brooks, a seasoned technology investor with extensive knowledge of the domain industry. (PR bullshit at its best! Here is who bought .org.)
  • Ethos has completed investments in VidMob Inc., Whistle Sports Inc., Adhark Inc. and LiquidX Inc. (When were these investments done?)
  • Ethos Capital is committed to keeping .ORG accessible and reasonably priced for all, in line with PIR’s longstanding, purpose-driven mission. The current price of a .ORG domain name is approximately $10 per year. Our plan is to live within the spirit of historic practice when it comes to pricing, which means, potentially, annual price increases of up to 10 percent on average – which today would equate to approximately $1 per year. (Jon Nevett and Donuts lied about not increasing prices on their 200+ domains extensions and then they went ahead and increased prices a few months later!)
  • PIR has received strong support by a number of individuals and organizations throughout the Internet community who / that understand the value of this transaction and the opportunity it will provide to both PIR and the .ORG Community. Vint Cerf, the former Chairman of the Board of ICANN and founding President of the Internet Society, has publicly said: “I am looking forward to supporting Ethos Capital and PIR in any way I can as they continue to expand the utility of the .ORG top-level domain in creative and socially responsible ways.” (So the support has come only from ICANN that is the organization that created this mess in the first place. Great job!)
  • Ethos Capital first approached the Internet Society in September 2019, well after PIR’s contract renewal with ICANN had finished. (Yeah, people can choose to believe this or not.)
  • PIR was not for sale at the time the price caps were lifted on .ORG. The removal of .ORG’s price restrictions earlier this year was not unique to .ORG and was in no way motivated by a desire to sell PIR. (Ethos Capital was only interested in purchasing PIR after (or when they first informed (by Fadi Chehade and his friends at ICANN) the restrictions were going away.) the price restrictions were lifted because they see the future upside. When did this really happen?)
  • Abry Partners is not involved in this transaction. (Maybe Abry Partners is not involved in the corporate sense but some people might be investors in both companies, they have the same advisers (see below) and employees move from one company to the other. Plus they have the same connections to the regulator: ICANN.)
  • Fadi Chehade’s company, Chehade & Company, is an adviser to Ethos. (Somehow the response forgot that Fadi Chehade is an Abry Partners adviser since 2016.)

Here is the complete FAQ posted on the new website:

Information Regarding Ethos Capital’s Agreement to Acquire Public Interest Registry from the Internet Society

On November 13, 2019, the Internet Society and Public Interest Registry (PIR) announced an agreement with Ethos Capital, under which Ethos will acquire PIR and all of its assets, including the .ORG domain, from the Internet Society.

Below are some frequently asked questions about this transaction with responses that should provide additional clarity:

What is Ethos Capital?

Ethos Capital is an investment company firmly rooted in the belief that prosperity should be built and shared, and that innovation has the power to fuel growth and success for all.  It was founded by Erik Brooks, a seasoned technology investor with extensive knowledge of the domain industry.

The firm’s investment philosophy is to help companies drive growth and transformation by employing new technologies, while maintaining a commitment to operating ethically, responsibly and in the best interests of all stakeholders and the broader community.  The limited partners in Ethos are all U.S. based investors.

Ethos has completed investments in VidMob Inc., Whistle Sports Inc., Adhark Inc. and LiquidX Inc.

What will PIR’s acquisition by Ethos Capital mean for .ORG prices?

Ethos Capital is committed to keeping .ORG accessible and reasonably priced for all, in line with PIR’s longstanding, purpose-driven mission.

The current price of a .ORG domain name is approximately $10 per year. Our plan is to live within the spirit of historic practice when it comes to pricing, which means, potentially, annual price increases of up to 10 percent on average – which today would equate to approximately $1 per year.

With this construct, .ORG will continue to be one of the most affordable domain names on the market.  We are enthusiastic about the opportunity to provide enhanced services and support to the .ORG Community, and are committed to maintaining .ORG’s position as the natural home for purpose-driven organizations on the Internet.

What does the acquisition mean for the .ORG Community?

Ethos will continue PIR’s ongoing engagement with the .ORG Community to understand its needs and concerns regarding scope of services, price sensitivities and other matters.

Ethos is investing in the long-term vitality of .ORG and its users and intends to serve their needs for many years to come.

Ethos has pledged to continually address the needs of the community through expanded registry services to implement privacy regulations, clamp down on SPAM and DNS abuse, as well to undertake activities that support the .ORG Community.

Is the Internet Community supportive of this transaction?

PIR has received strong support by a number of individuals and organizations throughout the Internet community who / that understand the value of this transaction and the opportunity it will provide to both PIR and the .ORG Community.

Vint Cerf, the former Chairman of the Board of ICANN and founding President of the Internet Society, has publicly said: “I am looking forward to supporting Ethos Capital and PIR in any way I can as they continue to expand the utility of the .ORG top-level domain in creative and socially responsible ways.”

As expected, concerns that have been raised have mainly been related to pricing. We hope the information we have provided on pricing helps to allay those concerns.

Did Ethos Capital approach the Internet Society about acquiring PIR while PIR was renegotiating its ICANN contract?

Ethos Capital first approached the Internet Society in September 2019, well after PIR’s contract renewal with ICANN had finished.

Was the removal of price restrictions connected to the decision to sell PIR?

No.  All standard registry agreements with ICANN today no longer include price restrictions.  PIR was not for sale at the time the price caps were lifted on .ORG.

The removal of .ORG’s price restrictions earlier this year was not unique to .ORG and was in no way motivated by a desire to sell PIR.

Was Jon Nevett hired by PIR in anticipation of this transaction? 

Jon Nevett was hired because of his extensive industry experience and the Internet Society’s desire to see PIR set the highest standards for a registry operator. Under its new ownership, Jon will remain CEO of PIR.

Is Abry Partners involved in this transaction?

Abry Partners is not involved in this transaction.  Abry Partners is a private equity firm where Erik Brooks worked for 20 years, prior to leaving and starting Ethos Capital.

Is Fadi Chehade involved in this transaction?

Fadi Chehade’s company, Chehade & Company, is an adviser to Ethos. Chehade & Company is an advisory company with clients across the technology, education and creative sectors.

Mr. Chehade is a board member of Sentry Data Systems and Interactions LLC and serves as an advisory board member of the World Economic Forum’s Center for the Fourth Industrial Revolution. Previously he was the President and CEO of ICANN, a member of the UN Secretary-General’s High-Level Panel on Digital Cooperation, and a Senior Advisor to the Executive Chairman of the World Economic Forum.

How is Ethos Capital planning to protect the interests of the .ORG Community?

Under the new ownership, PIR’s operation of .ORG will continue as usual with the same excellent management team and reliable backend registry operator. There will be no disruption of services to the .ORG Community.

Both PIR and Ethos Capital are committed to ensuring a smooth and seamless transition, and to continuing the community orientation and strong social purpose of the .ORG and PIR. Ethos is enthusiastic about developing new services and support to serve the .ORG Community.

Will PIR continue its commitment to the .ORG Community now that it will be switching from a nonprofit to a for-profit entity?

Both Ethos Capital and PIR are strongly committed to the success of the .ORG Community.

PIR and Ethos Capital are looking forward to launching several new initiatives aimed at promoting and supporting the .ORG Community, including:

  • Establishing a Stewardship Council that will serve to uphold PIR’s core founding values and provide support through a variety of community programs;

  • Launching a Community Enablement Fund to support the financing of current and additional initiatives undertaken by key Internet organizations; and

  • Expanding a program to award .ORG prizes to promote the success and positive impact of non-profit organizations.

In addition, Ethos Capital is currently evaluating an opportunity to seek B Corporation Certification for PIR.

  • The high standards for B Corp Certification are overseen by B Lab’s independent Standards Advisory Council.

  • Certified B Corporations are businesses that meet the highest standards of verified social and environmental performance, public transparency, and legal accountability to balance profit and purpose.

Sold.Domains

About Konstantinos Zournas

I studied Computer Engineering and Computer Science in London, UK and now live in Athens, Greece. I love domains and building websites. I am online since 1995, learned about HTML in 1996 and about domains in 2002. I started publishing the OnlineDomain.com blog in 2012.

48 comments

  1. They lie in our face like .comer lie about ntld. Grossly mislead. Isn’t Frank Schilling Jewish? No one spoke up about him owning .Christmas icann wants to put these tld in hands of practical terrorists. Dont care who does or doesn’t deserve. Frank ruined .christmas with hikes. Next up, .org then .com to jack ma / chinese as highest bidder for .com. $1000+ renewals coming up for .com to ruin millions of small biz. Sat on your hands. Mismanagement is precedent. $ talks, bye bye .org and .com

    • So you’re saying a Jew should not be allowed to run a .TLD that is called .christmas??

      Interesting POV.

      • Its a clear conflict especially in hindsight, given the mismanagement. Raise renewal just as our sites were budding up. Do yourself a favor and search frank schilling. Top pages about his corruption, running from tax fraud. His court battle with ex wife, playing his dirty tricks. How can anyone support that fraud is beyond me. Hes at the center of all this with many others.

      • I know Frank, I’m just wondering what makes you think that he’s Jewish…

        And I’m also wondering what a divorce (which is ugly enough) has to do with price hikes on a nTLD. I guess this is a personal for you but it sounds very antisemitic to be honest.

      • I love honest jewish ppl and honesty period. Its when corruption seeps in, the lies, i call it as it is. Maybe its HIM that is the anti-whatever and you’re blame shifting! Why you think hes DIRECTLY across from gov mansion? Laughing in ur face with their greasy palms.

      • There is corruption and it is at the highest levels of ICANN.
        Otherwise a deal like the .org registry sale would have never happened.

        BTW, Cayman Islands has a 0% tax rate no matter if you live across the street of the Governor, or 10 miles down the road.

      • You missing every point. Its all over your head. No time to educate you. Frank set precedent for irrational price hikes. They boiling you frogs.

      • I never owned a single nTLD in my life. Only .com and country codes.
        If you bought into that crap, I’d say you’re in over your head.
        Stick to the legacy

      • Konstantinos Zournas

        Legacy is slowly becoming “new”… if we don’t do anything about this.

    • Price cap removal on .com in 10 years. Do you take the over or under?

  2. Here’s a key point, I signed the letter at SaveDotOrg.org and so should you!

  3. Public will not care until they raise the price 10x or 100x.

  4. Anyone ever play something called “Liar’s Poker,” or sometimes called “Bullsh*t”?

    The first time I played was with a wedding party after a wedding. It was very fun. You’re only supposed to be able to spell out “bullsh*t” but it was my first time, I was best man, and I wound up spelling out “bullsh*t piled up higher and higher” which was hilarious at the time.

  5. Let the market decides, if prices are too high, consumers will opt out and this will make dot com more valuable.

    • Konstantinos Zournas

      Yeah let’s do a test with .org by screwing current registrants! Are you kidding?
      Most people like you don’t get it, do you? .com is next if this is allowed!

    • The market can’t decide. To change a well established brand, one that was built on decades or even years ago can cost a ton. So it is essentially extortion to charge existing brands “Whatever they can”.

      Even if you try to switch, you are beholden to pay for your .org because of existing marketing materials, business cards, emails, Google SEO and more.

      For people to merely suggest “changing your domain” is a solution is completely mistaken and false.

      This needs immediate intervention. The greedy monopolies are going awry!!!

    • Hahaha, “market” give GS et el control of ANY “market” and see how that works out for you!

      Domains the final frontier.

  6. So Ethos Capital registered keypointsabout.org at Godaddy 11-22-2019 to respond to the constant backlash and negativity they have been receving.

    The PR is just a stunt.The whole people involve all have curses placed on them already and karma will follow them and their greedy life .Now they started increasing yearly and say $1 on how millions of .orgs out there.

    All those at ICANN involved should have their names released because i am sure they got a cut in the deal.The FBI and interpol should be on their tail and bank accounts and assets.

    Ethos Capital is Corrupt and now the whole world knows.

  7. What justification is there for a 10% price increase when PIR’s costs are declining significantly and it profits are already super fat as it is. What is the inflation rate anyway? 2% So where did they pull this 10% number out of?

    Ethos wants the nonprofit community to service its debt for it.

  8. Don’t ever overlook small details, they snowball. Press release on a sunday???

  9. “annual price increases of up to 10 percent on average”

    Nobody is believing that because they had that under the old contract. Clearly it wasn’t enough for them.

  10. Lies and lies.

    PIR told ICANN “we have no plans to increase the prices for .org registrants” back during the public comment period.

    But now, not even 4 months later, we are hearing a different tune. The message today is that Ethos Capital may raise prices up to 10% on average, per year.
    Thus, the statement PIR made 4 months ago is no longer true.

    What happens when Ethos Capital sells .ORG to another private equity firm? Possibly this new firm’s approach will be 20% or 30% yearly price increases? What happens when this is sold again – to a foreign entity – or to a fund based out of China who wants to charge $2,000 per registration or renewal?

    But why should we believe any of this anyhow? After all, shortly after Fadi Chehade’s firm acquired Donuts – they increased prices on almost all of their extensions across the board. Despite the fact that Donuts publicly went on record and said they would never raise prices on its captive base of users. Donuts – under the direction of Fadi Chehade did exactly the opposite. They lied……

    Frank Schilling also increased prices across the board, despite the fact he said they would not. Frank Schilling went on record and said the following “Uniregistryʹs management includes individuals who participated in anti-trust litigation which was brought to combat increases in existing TLD registry charges they believed to be unjustified, and we have no intention of following that path. We believe our best opportunity for prosperity is to offer a reliable, differentiated TLD which will attract increasing numbers of registrants.”

    But in 2017 – Frank Schilling increased the prices on some of its TLD’s by more than 3000%. Frank Shilling lied…..

    Everyone is lying……

    And ICANN claims – because nobody has raises prices yet – no harm has occurred yet.
    But this statement is ridiculous. Look at the facts. Look at what happens time and time again. What a racket!

    Price caps are in place for a reason: CONSUMER PROTECTION

    Without price caps, it allows the operator to act opportunistically for its own personal gain (at the detriment of its captive base of registrants.)

    Nobody is looking out for registrants. Not even ICANN.

    Quite shocking!

  11. More lies…

    One of Jon Nevett’s erroneous statements during the public comment period on removing all pricing caps for .org domain names:

    ***
    “we cannot dramatically increase prices for .ORG, as we recognize and understand that both our .ORG end users and our .ORG registrars would turn away from .ORG.”
    ***

    This statement by Jon Nevett (CEO or PIR) is unequivocally wrong. It is false. Jon is making the point that both .ORG end users and registrars would turn away from .ORG

    ——With regards to .ORG end users or “registrants”: Registrants are, for all practical purposes, entrenched in their existing domain names. It is virtually impossible for an organization to switch away from .org to a different domain because they are locked-in to their existing website (search engine rankings, email systems, no way to recall offline media/advertising and printed business cards and all of the lost branding, goodwill, no way to update browser bookmarks, etc.) Furthermore, it is a tedious process to switch, as domain names are hardcoded into websites and databases – require planning and coordination across different departments, sometimes with third-party firms, and likely involve updating thousands or more lines of website code.

    In the few cases where registrants / companies have switched domain names, they are forced to maintain their existing domain name for search engine redirects and to make sure old emails continue to be received and don’t disappear into a black hole. There is no way to port or forward existing email without continuing to maintain the old domain registration (and paying required fees.) Registrants are simply not willing to risk of giving up access to future email correspondence that originate from older emails when users hit the “reply” button. Think of all of those emails you have sent out on the past – to hundreds of contacts – sitting in inboxes. All of those replies will not be delivered – and lost forever. Also, think about the security concerns – say a law firm were to switch domain names and its website – if the firm does not continue to renew its old domain name, it potentially has the risk of the next registrant receiving old sensitive legal emails.

    ——With regards to “registrars”: The lock-in effect is enormous. Registrars have existing customers which registered .org domains (most from a very long time ago.) Each of these customers is required to renew domains annually to maintain ownership. If registrars stopped offering .org registration or renewal services – it would cause a major disruption with .org customers. Chaos! Customers would be forced to transfer their domains to another registrar. Many domains would be lost and many customers would be unaware that they have to take special action or they will lose their domain name. This is a frightening customer issue. Can you imagine millions of registrants scrambling to transfer their domains to another registrar? Most registrants have their domains on auto-renew – imagine the frustration when they find out that they lost their domain because it did not auto renew – because the registrar no longer offered .org registration services! Therefore, it is impossible for registrars to stop offering .ORG registration services. IMPOSSIBLE. Registrars are held hostage to registries as they are the sole sourced provider.

    Why is ICANN not paying attention to what is happening? Why is ICANN allowing this to happen?

  12. It stinks to high heaven such rampant monopolization is going on, and yet nobody is there to protect the Internet at large. This is a huge racket, in combination, taking BILLIONS out of non-profits and companies worldwide, just because ICANN organizes and allows it.

    Total joke. Needs serious interference from someone who has authority to destroy all the corruption we have going on at the highest levels of Internet governance!

  13. Strange, I Google all of the following and don’t even find ONE mention of Ethos Capital, Fadi Chehade, Erik Brooks or anything similar.

    “VidMob Ethos”
    “Whistle Sports Ethos”
    “Adhark Ethos”
    “LiquidX Ethos”

    So, as of today seems not a single mention of Ethos being anywhere connected to any of these companies. This is very fishy and seems like they are trying to legitimize this NEW company when in reality, it’s just a shell for legally stealing non profit’s money.

    Seriously, why no press releases? Maybe because these deals are not complete? Who knows, but the company is obviously running around trying to legitimize itself. Probably trying to save face to still hope this legal shill is miraculously allowed.

  14. It’s amazing how ISOC and PIR have allowed almost twenty years of trust to vanish in two weeks.

    • When someone is selling out it doesn’t matter so much. The internet society can blame the price rises on Ethos even know they likely where the ones pushing for it with Icann

  15. If ISOC wanted to divest PIR and dot org, a public auction process could have been undertaken with various bidders who would have been judged based on multiple factors such as expertise, track record, management team, ownership profile, security, proven commitment to nonprofit community, along with the size of the bid.

    ISOC could have led the way in a fully-disclosed process that involved the various constituencies impacted by the transfer of ownership of a public good like the dot org registry.

    That is called TRANSPARENCY.

    Instead, it negotiated a secretive, behind closed-doors deal with a little-known and aggressively for-profit entity with un (or under) disclosed connections to former high-ranking officials of ICANN shortly after it received a widely-opposed pricing concession from that same organization. Then, it drops the news of the sale like a bombshell on the vast Internet and nonprofit communities who helped create the integrity and value of the namespace that ISOC is now profiting so handsomely from. It completely blindsided the communities it purports to serve.

    That is called un(curse word)believable.

  16. Warning: User atmosphere global (namepros) is a highly sophisticated AI bot designed to learn how to domain. Do not feed it advice!

    • The cold calling and email outbound threads are meant to entrap you to admit that you’ve been spamming. Spam is how most the ‘pros’ have done it the past. Don’t let them make domainers look bad!

  17. Basic business truth is : the truth continually evolves.
    Noticed the excitement they convey regarding + services along with reg. Something PIR wasn’t offering.
    My take on this – the money is on the management, security, promotion and build out of .org sites.
    The annual increase would be a fraction of the profit
    from all in one services.
    Caaaaching……
    I don’t see the broader .org users complaining.
    Integrated services specifically tailored to the needs of non-profits. From one vendor is a plus for them.
    What reasonable person would rally against that ?
    I’ve served on boards of non-profit professional and educational. Much needed products and services were rarely donated sometimes discounted mostly provided by vendors that were for profit providers.
    IF cost becomes an issue , the .org community is much larger than a few thousand domain investors and would.
    Also have the network to donated legal services if needed.
    Cheers

    • Hah. What a load of BS. Integrated services… How about a free markets and you go hire anyine you want for ‘services’ intead of paying a price gouging monopoly?

  18. JD-
    Geeze of course they can use any service.
    1. Platforms will always be more Cost effective
    2. The market for net services to nonprofits is huge.
    3. Free markets also allow non profits to sell their assets to any one they want.
    Cheers

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.