ICANN has announced that it has rejected Ethos Capital’s plan to buy the Public Interest Registry which runs .ORG, after groups such as the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), spoke out against the plans with campaigns like SaveDotOrg. ICANN said that it has looked at the proposal with “due diligence” but decided that rejecting the plan was “the right thing to do.”
According to the EFF and the rest of the SaveDotOrg campaign, the sale of PIR could have negatively affected non-governmental organisations (NGOs) all over the world which tend to rely on .ORG domain names. The campaign warned that .ORG registration fees may have increased and that organisations that couldn’t afford the new cost would have to forego the legitimacy of a .ORG domain.
According to the EFF, a letter ICANN received from the Californian Attorney General, Xavier Becerra, is likely what changed ICANN’s mind as it acknowledged, as a Californian non-profit, that it could not afford to ignore its state regulator.
Going forward, the .ORG registry will still need a new owner because the Internet Society doesn’t want that responsibility. The EFF said that ICANN needs to find a “faithful steward” by holding an open consultation to select a new operator for the .ORG domain which will give non-profits a voice in its governance and protection against censorship and financial exploitation.