The Future of .ORG

By Jon Nevett 

When I first learned that the Internet Society might sell Public Interest Registry (PIR), I had mixed emotions. I was surprised, a bit confused, and concerned.

Many people are feeling the same way. It’s important to have continued discussions about the future of .ORG – I believe it is – and will always be – the crown jewel of the domain name system. It plays a vital role for the world’s leading charitable, purpose-driven, and non-profit organizations, making it an essential part of not only the fabric of the Internet, but society as a whole. With 10 million registrations, .ORG is both one of the most popular domains in the world, and one that carries great meaning and responsibility.

Simply put, we have the best name, the best customers, the best brand, the best mission and the best employees – enabled by a supportive Board of Directors. We have an amazing team of 34 employees, and I’m proud to stand by their side as we continue our mission to serve the .ORG community in several important ways. As an exemplary registry, we operate transparently, publish our financial information and recently issued our annual report. We live by our anti-abuse principles and publish our take-down statistics as part of our anti-abuse programs. And we lead the industry on privacy, transparency and policy development – all to ensure a safer, more secure Internet. All of us here at PIR want certainty on how .ORG operates, confidence in its continued safety and security, and assurances that it will continue to be run ethically.

When I first learned of the transaction, the PIR team and I feared if all of the great work we’ve done, are doing, and plan to do, would continue.

Now that I’ve had time to process, I truly believe this is the best path for .ORG’s future. The next 20 years of .ORG will differ from the last twenty. As the Internet grows in importance, so do the demands. It is in this light that I came to appreciate the significance of the Internet Society’s decision: a diversified portfolio is much better, and less risky, than relying on one company like Public Interest Registry – in one industry – for nearly all of its funding. This transaction makes sense for the Internet Society as well-articulated by its board members Richard Barnes and Gonzalo Camarillo.

It also makes sense for PIR and the .ORG Community. The combination of Ethos’ financial strength and expertise, along with commitments to create certainty for the .ORG community (including around pricing), creates a platform to grow and strengthen .ORG too. Ethos wants to continue – and expand – the .ORG mission.

Erik Brooks and his team are committed to the continuity of our operations and PIR’s long-term financial security. They’re committed to our employees. And they have good ideas to jump start our new future, including the formation of a Stewardship Council, a Community Enablement Fund, enhancing our .ORG Impact Awards and other Educational and Outreach efforts around the world.

The Internet Society is an amazing partner, but we’ve been in perpetual “harvest” mode, where PIR sends the fruits of our labor to support the amazing work they do. A relationship with Ethos will allow us to invest in .ORG, enabling us to deliver more to the .ORG community, and the Internet at-large. We will be able to focus more on the things purpose-driven communities care most about – including certainty, security, and our ability to operate in an ethical and responsible manner. We will have the resources to provide innovative solutions that will make .ORG stronger.

My goal before, during and after this transition is to protect the .ORG mission, the .ORG brand, and the .ORG staff. I understand that moving from being a non-profit entity back to being a for-profit will be difficult for some. Please know that we’ll continue to listen to and work with those who share their questions or concerns with us. We are committed to having an open dialogue to address your concerns, so that when we operate .ORG together, we stay true to its values – and we continue to make it the best domain on the Internet.