The Internet Society & Public Interest Registry: A New Era of Opportunity

Today marks the beginning of an exciting new chapter for the .ORG Community.  Earlier today, the Internet Society and Public Interest Registry (PIR) announced that they have reached an agreement with Ethos Capital, an investment firm that helps transform and grow companies in today’s rapidly evolving digital economy, under which Ethos Capital will acquire PIR and all of its assets from the Internet Society.

As brief background – in 2002, the Internet Society won a competitive bidding process for the .ORG registry and established PIR to manage and operate the .ORG domain.  Since that time, the Internet Society and PIR have worked to grow .ORG into the largest purpose-driven domain – used today by millions of organizations and others to achieve their online goals – and PIR’s contributions to the Internet Society have helped make the Internet more available, accessible and secure for people around the world.

This transaction aligns PIR with a strong, new strategic partner, Ethos Capital, that not only possesses a deep understanding of the intricacies of the domain industry, but also has the ideal mix of expertise, experience and shared values to further advance the goals of .ORG into the future.  As a mission-driven firm focused on the guiding values and ideals that build successful organizations and communities, Ethos Capital is committed to ensuring complete continuity of PIR’s operations, to maintaining the strong community relationships PIR has established over the years, and to continuing PIR’s longstanding partnerships and vendor affiliations to ensure domain operations run smoothly, without disruption to the .ORG Community or other generic top-level domains operated by the organization.

Once the transaction is completed, PIR will continue to meet the highest standards of public transparency, accountability, and social performance in line with its longstanding purpose-driven mission, and will consider seeking B Corporation certification.

Today’s news has tremendous benefits for both the Internet Society and PIR.  The transaction will help the Internet Society to secure its future through more stable, diversified and sustainable financial resources than it has at present, allowing the organization to plan for the long term and advance its vision of an Internet for everyone on an even broader scale.  It will also enable PIR to continue expanding its mission and important work under new ownership — including its goal of keeping .ORG accessible and reasonably priced — while further strengthening and deepening its commitment to 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.

This announcement marks an important milestone within the domain industry – one that the Internet Society, PIR and Ethos Capital are confident will protect and enhance the interests of both the Internet and .ORG communities for years to come.

Andrew Sullivan
President & CEO
The Internet Society
Erik Brooks
Founder & CEO
Ethos Capital
Jon Nevett
Public Interest Registry