Photo by Marvin Meyer on Unsplash

We are thrilled to learn that the board of ICANN, The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers has rejected the sale of among others the .org top-level domain that hosts many domains of organizations in the non-profit and non-governmental sectors. This happened after a global campaign gathering the signatures of 64 000 individuals and 900 organizations. The future of the third-largest top-level domain in the world does, however, remain unclear as we yet have to see what the next move of ICANN will be.

Here’s the joint statement from NTEN and EFF:

We are thrilled to see ICANN’s leadership reject the sale of Public Interest Registry (PIR) and the .Org top-level domain.

For 20 years, .Org has been the online home for nonprofits, NGOs, and community-based groups around the world. It serves both those organizations and the public, helping navigate and support trust, information and resource sharing, and advocacy.

The current global pandemic has further illustrated the importance of nonprofit websites, as most of the world’s leading scientific and research institutions, health and safety resources, and educational services are on .Org websites. The need for reliability and security of the .Org domain is as high as it ever has been, and the proposal to convert PIR from a nonprofit to a for-profit entity and then sell it to private equity firm Ethos Capital would have jeopardized both.

We want to thank the nearly 900 organizations and the 64,000* individuals from all over the world who joined us in calling for the sale to be stopped.

The collective voices made a difference. This is not the final step needed for protecting the .Org domain.

ICANN must now open a public process for bids to find a new home for the .Org domain.

ICANN has established processes and criteria that outline how to hold a reassignment process. We look forward to seeing a competitive process and are eager to support the participation in that process by the global nonprofit community.

The .Org domain, the third-largest top-level domain, needs a secure and reliable steward that can prove it has the public and nonprofit sector’s interests at its core.