.ORG management change could double URL fees

March 12, 2020

Organizations using a web address ending in .ORG should be aware of an upcoming change affecting website registrations. In brief, the nonprofit manager of the .ORG top-level domain is requesting permission from ICANN, which is ultimately responsible for domain registration, to a private equity firm. Opponents of the sale have asked ICANN to step in to find a new nonprofit manager, which has, in turn, prompted Ethos Capital, the prospective firm, to propose a binding addition to the .ORG contract.

The first of these additional provisions would be to limit price increases to an average of 10 percent per year for eight years — sufficient to double the cost of registration over this period — and with no price protections after this point. Other provisions would create a “Stewardship Council,” with input on policies but no say over financial matters, and a $10 million fund for the council to use to support nonprofits. Ethos says they are giving ICANN an extension for their review of the proposed transfer until March 20.