Just heard: .org domain registy sold to a FOR PROFIT company

Old news, I suppose. In November, the .org domain registry, which was run by a non-profit company was sold to Ethos Capital, a FOR-PROFIT company.

There is the figure of 10% being mentioned (not sure how officially) for annual price increases, but I think that for-profit and non-profit companies have quite different goals. Nevertheless, 10% seems much higher than inflation rates.

Perhaps it would not be unreasonable to buy as many years of a .org domain as possible before the prices creep up.

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You might be interested in this open letter opposing the sale.

In fact, @QuincyLarson might want to add freeCodeCamp (as an organization) to the signatories, being a .org owner.

Hello Phildc,
Thanks for the link.

Considering that ICANN ignored the vast majority of commentors to stop the removal of the .org price cap, I doubt that a petition (now in retrospect) would do much.

Maybe a mass migration to .xyz for ($0.99 USD) or some other cheaper than .org TLD by all .org domain owners would have an impact. Afterall, the tech industry adopted .io, so why not a change for non-profits? Enough publicity may make it viable, but there would be a lingering sense of unease at blackhats buying up expired .orgs to do bad things.

Thanks. Yes they reached out to me. I assented to them adding our logo to the page but for some reason they haven’t gotten around to it yet.

I’ve been tweeting about this since April. It is frustrating and I’m optimistic a government like the US or EU can step in and intervene. Nothing good will come from this being owned by a private company, and this certainly wasn’t the intention when ICANN was created.

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@QuincyLarson, would you and other non-profits consider migrating away from .org to another TLD, or is .org too deeply integrated into people’s minds?

It’s not just a matter of “being to deeply integrated into people’s minds”. There are all kinds of other considerations.

Our formal name is freeCodeCamp.org. Our domain is several years old (which matters a lot with ranking in Google). If we let the .org TLD go, someone would quickly buy it and essentially set up a similar (but probably paid) site - if not use it for outright scamming.

We can never leave the .org domain, and most other nonprofits can’t, either.


I agree with your comments. I think this whole sell-off is concerning, especially without price caps. With no price cap protection, increases may start off as a 10% increase, could creep up a few percent more each year.

Website owners are pretty much trapped, especially those with long-term domain names. There is not much of a choice other than to risk loss of search influence, additional financial costs of redesigning marketing for a brand after changing TLD, and as you mentioned, those scammers. TLD owners are a captive market that has no choice but to pay up whatever is dictated or lose it, possibly along with reputation.

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Domain names are something whose price should only be going down, down, down since it becomes something cheaper to manage every year. Welcome to the “free” market.

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Agreed. Pretty much everything should only go down in price thanks to economies of scale and scope. Housing should be getting cheaper as better methods and materials become available. Services should be getting cheaper thanks to automation.

Instead, every time I go to a cafe my tea seems to be a few cents more expensive.

I will say this - education is going to get a lot cheaper. freeCodeCamp is making sure of that. You can’t charge $200,000 for a computer science degree when much of the theory and practice are available for free and are more convenient to boot. And I’m hopeful other people will launch similar projects to restore reason to the market.

Well, they ain’t making more land, and coffee is getting screwed by global warming … dunno about tea. But it’s the fact that TLDs are still run by a monopoly and that the domain name system hasn’t updated significantly in the last 20 years to address (see what I did there?) the problem.

The fact that the domain name system is hierarchical doesn’t mean its management structure has to be, but guess who butters ICANN’s bread? Those Caribbean junkets aren’t going to pay for themselves after all.

Indeed. A degree is just packaged knowledge. It’s odd that someone can study more than what a degree covers and not be acknowledged through lack of a sheet of paper. You have done a wonderful thing here Quincy to bring so much information together.

I don’t know about tea either, but I drink Arabica coffee from Yunnan Province, China. 2kg of beans for the price of three cups of coffee shop coffee.

Yes they should, especially when the customer acts as staff. Customers are now checkout operators, order takers, petrol pump attendants (still have them in China) and more. Gosh, why employ staff when customers can do the job?