ICANN delays sell off of .org domains

(Image credit: ICANN)

The internet registration watchdog ICANN has once again delayed a decision on the sale of the .org registry to private equity firm Ethos Capital.

As reported by The Register, the organization's board of directors was close to a decision on approving the $1.13bn sale of the .org domain from Internet Society to Ethos Capital when a letter from California's attorney general Xavier Becerra disrupted ICANN's plans.

Instead of taking a vote on the matter, ICANN's board debated the issue and ended up deciding to hold off on making a decision until May 4.

In a press release, ICANN confirmed that it would push back its decision, marking the fourth time such a delay has occurred, saying: "We have agreed to extend the review period to 4 May 2020, to permit additional time to complete our review”.

.org sale

Attorney general Xavier Becerra's letter arrived at ICANN just hours before its meeting to decide on the sale of the .org domain. The letter urged the organization not to approve the sale as it “raises serious concerns that cannot be overlooked”.

For instance, Ethos Capital has an unusual corporate structure and its purchase of the .org domain involves six different companies that were all registered on the same day back in October of last year. The private equity firm has also refused to answer specific questions about its ownership.

Becerra provided more information on his doubts about Ethos Capital taking over the .org registry in his letter to ICANN, saying:

“Little is known about Ethos Capital and its multiple proposed subsidiaries, including PIR LLC, which will be converted from a nonprofit corporation into a for-profit corporation. Even less is known about how these for-profit corporate entities and private investors will operate their businesses. Without such information, it remains unclear how the .ORG registry and community will be impacted. Given the lack of transparency regarding Ethos’ future plans, approval of the transfer may place at risk the operational stability of the .ORG registry.”

As ICANN's decision has been pushed back until May 4, non-profits and other concerned parties still have time to try and talk the organization out of going through with the sale of the .org registry to Ethos Capital.

Via The Register

Anthony Spadafora

After working with the TechRadar Pro team for the last several years, Anthony is now the security and networking editor at Tom’s Guide where he covers everything from data breaches and ransomware gangs to the best way to cover your whole home or business with Wi-Fi. When not writing, you can find him tinkering with PCs and game consoles, managing cables and upgrading his smart home.