back to article Internet Society, remember your embarrassing .org flub? The actual internet society would like to talk about it

The non-profit organizations that fought to halt the sale of the .org registry to a newly created private equity firm are demanding an independent review into the fiasco, which pitted charities against domain registrars over the billion-dollar aborted deal. “While we are pleased that .org is not being sold to Ethos Capital, …

  1. RM Myers
    Thumb Down

    ISOC and PIR

    If it looks like a duck, walks like a duck, and quacks like a duck, maybe it is a duck run be people of very dubious integrity. The weight of responsibility may have misshaped their backs, or made them slightly crooked (their backs of course, didn't mean to imply anything else was crooked).

    1. MacroRodent

      Re: ISOC and PIR

      Really hard to see how ISOC could "regain the trust" after this. The organization should be dismantled, or at least the entire board and management should be replaced, with the ex-board members banned for life from any position in the organization.

      1. Schultz

        hard to see how ISOC could "regain the trust"

        For starters, they could replace the people involved to clarify that selling assets to the highest bidder (or your buddies) is not part of the job description.

    2. robidy

      Re: ISOC and PIR

      Sell it of to be run as a non-profit mainly for non-profits...simplez.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: ISOC and PIR

        No need to sell it off. ICann should still govern it, but simply contract out it's running as a non-profit.

    3. Antron Argaiv Silver badge

      Re: ISOC and PIR

      Quis custodiet...

      Integrity seems to fly out the window when sufficiently large sums of money are involved.

      If that's not one of the fundamental laws of society, it should be.

  2. Jamie Jones Silver badge

    Sod ISOC and PIR

    .org should have been (and still should be) taken away and handed over to a new custodian.

    Since when did they "own" .org anyway?

    Let them do whatever sham internal investigations they want - it will be something to do to fill up the extra free time they'll have!

    On a similar vein, the UK government should reassign *.uk to someone else to - a non-profit that can "encourage" responsible use of the domains, rather than adding dubious domains that confuse the DNS structure, just to make money.

    "Uk" belongs to the UK not nominet.. Boris? When you finish doing nothing about Cummings, and sod all effective about coronavirus (England, prepare yourself for second wave / lockdown #2 in 4 weeks time, all because of early rule relaxing designed to shift attention away from Cummings eye-drive test), take back this public asset and reassign it. If it helps, Cummings told me to tell you. Oh yeah, and where is the Russia dossier?

    1. Roland6 Silver badge

      Re: Sod ISOC and PIR

      > England, prepare yourself for second wave / lockdown #2 in 4 weeks time

      Given the lag, expect the effects of the end of lockdown not to be noticed until late August - just in time for the Bank holiday...

      1. Jamie Jones Silver badge
        Thumb Up

        Re: Sod ISOC and PIR

        Yeah, you're right.


  3. don't you hate it when you lose your account



    This whole affair has left so many questions unanswered. And they do need answering

    1. Yes Me Silver badge

      Re: ORGasmic

      "there’s nothing in [the] recent announcement that addresses the unilateral decision-making that led to the Internet Society (ISOC) board of directors deciding in secrecy over a matter of weeks to sell the .org domain,”

      Um, no, why should there be? The Internet Scociety (which anybody can join -- anybody) has a Board (selected by a well documented community process) and the Board gets to decide on things. And from the first announcement, they made it clear that the confidentiality was not their choice; the company offering to buy insisted on confidentiality, which is pretty normal in any $B deal that doesn't involve stock trading.

      Where you detect hypocrisy is beyond me. ISOC was transparent from day 1 about why they wanted the deal and what they would do with the proceeds.

      Apparently the piffle about the sacredness of the .org registry continues. It's a list of names, for heaven's sake. It's nothing other than a list of names. To have control of a name on that list, you have to pay a modest annual fee. That's all there is to it. There's no vetting, and never has been since 1998, whether the "organisation" using a name is good, bad, or indifferent, or even whether it is an organisation at all rather than an individual person or just a robot. The only qualification is the ability to pay the fee. If the EFF forgets to pay its fee one year, might pop up the next month as a porn site. There's no magic in .org. ( shows this quite neatly.)

  4. Alister

    the executives at the heart of the matter, and the boards of directors for both PIR and ISOC, failed to do their jobs.

    It was my understanding that there were a number of individuals who were on the boards of both PIR, ISOC and the prospective purchaser.

    No conflict of interest though... no, none at all...

    1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      I'm sure that wouldn't be allowed.

      You can't join the board of the purchaser until after the deal has gone through and a decent interval, typically several seconds, has elapsed

      1. Yes Me Silver badge

        No conflict that I can see

        The person making the comment about conflict should post the names of the people who were on both sides. There has always been some overlap between the ISOC Board and the PIR Board, because ISOC owns PIR. No conflict there. So who are you accusing of conflict? I'm not aware of anybody from the ISOC/PIR side who had anything to do with Ethos Capital.

        Secondly, I think that any laws about this would only apply in the case of companies with publicly traded stock, which is not the case. In any case, both ISOC and PIR have conflict of interest policies and as far as I can tell are not afraid of review.

    2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      I wonder if Ethos Capital and the string of shell/holding companies still exist and what their current capitalisation is? It seems fairly obvious to most that Ethos was set up specifically for this purchase to hide the real buyer from the limelight. But since I don't have an MBA, hey what would my opinion be worth anyway? Probably about as much as Ethos Capital.

  5. Big_Boomer Silver badge

    Burn everything!!!

    What do you want to bet that people at all 3 organisations are right now in the process of sifting out all signs of dodgy dealings to keep themselves out of jail?

    1. Yes Me Silver badge

      Re: Burn everything!!!

      They did nothing wrong or unethical and have nothing to shred.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    PIR has been and will continue to

    fuck you

  7. General Purpose Silver badge


    PIR seemed a little emphatic and maybe a little rattled when they wrote "the door is closed on ICANN transferring .ORG to any other registry operator. Such a transfer by ICANN is a contractual impossibility under our registry agreement."

    1. Dvon of Edzore

      Re: Hmm

      I'm pretty sure the many violations of policy we just witnessed will stamp Null and Void all over that so called agreement.

      1. Jellied Eel Silver badge

        Re: Hmm

        Whatever happened to the rumblings from California's prosecutor? ICANN's statement just raises more questions if there's nothing in their contract that allows it to be terminated for this kind of behaviour.. And ICANN seemed rather keen to approve the enrichment of it's former staff. Successful prosecutions should create a material breach, and hopefully they'll follow.

        1. Yes Me Silver badge

          Re: Hmm

          The California AG stuck their nose in for no good reason, but since they succeeded in scaring ICANN off, nothing else will happen. It's over. In fact it never began.

          As for PIR's existing contract with ICANN, as far as I know they didn't violate it and it will run its course. I forget when it comes up for renewal, but that's public information.

    2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      Re: Hmm

      "a contractual impossibility under our registry agreement."

      Unless that contract contains the phrase "in perpetuity", I doubt that very much.

  8. Adair Silver badge

    ISOC and PIR...

    should both be dissolved and cease to exist as legal entities. They are utterly discredited.

    1. Yes Me Silver badge

      Re: ISOC and PIR...

      How about ISOC's work in developing countries ( or their work in favour of encryption ( or supporting Internet exchange points (, etc. etc.

      All funded by income from PIR, in the public interest.

      Please look at the facts.

      1. Adair Silver badge

        Re: ISOC and PIR...

        I cannot do better than to quote Oliver Cromwell speaking to the 'Rump Parliament' in 1653:

        "You have sat too long for any good you have been doing lately... Depart, I say; and let us have done with you. In the name of God, go!"

        Just because we have done some good does not absolve us from the consequences of our failings and failures.

  9. Rich 2 Silver badge

    Is this an “American thing”?

    When I look at this mess and add it to the growing list of (mostly) tech companies that behave in an abhorrent way, one things bubbles to the top - they’re all American - I’m thinking faecesbook, MS, Googlies, etc etc... the list goes on

    Is this a culture thing? “I am an American therefore I shall behave in a shockingly bad, amoral way”? Or is their regulation so non-existent that it allows all this shit?

    1. Peter2 Silver badge

      Re: Is this an “American thing”?

      That's only because most tech companies are American due to them having huge amounts of venture capital thrown at them, most of which is lost. I personally think that British companies are just as bad.

      It's an aristocracy thing. Having destroyed the old bad aristocracy people who are exactly as bad are replacing them.

      It's almost as if excessive amounts of money and power corrupt.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Is this an “American thing”?

      Actually there is some truth in the "American thing", I would suggest simply because these companies could never have grown as they have anywhere else but the US.

      Consider youtube, even when it started the law was quite clear about responsibility for protecting other's IP but that didn't stop the site hosting other's IP for years before they were forced to take it seriously.

      If youtube had been started in the UK for example then the existing laws would have locked them down whilst any legal issues were sorted out, the same for all the other loophole companies that grew to power in the US.

      Thus the "cash is everything" policy in the US has allowed these companies to become major economic factors that make them now effectively untouchable. That the other countries have had to degrade their own legal systems to compete has resulted in "law only for the rich" across the world where previously there had been growing equality.

      1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        Re: Is this an “American thing”?

        "these companies could never have grown as they have anywhere else but the US."

        Possibly not as quickly, but there are other enormously large and wealthy companies in other areas of business. Some in the EU, many in SE Asia, some in India, pretty much everywhere actually. But yes, the worst offenders do seem to be US tech companies in particular.

    3. Terry 6 Silver badge

      Re: Is this an “American thing”?

      I was going to post this as a separate comment. But it's better here.

      I have witnessed the boards/committees of several non-profit groups, albeit all tiny ones, here in the UK who have come to see themselves as being the core of the group they've come to run and above the wishes of the members they're responsible to. And I've seen how their vainglorious attitude can easily turn to straightforward self-indulgence.

      I've seen an elected committee of a friendly society turn the organisation into a ltd. company and declare themselves to be "directors". And then use blatantly underhand tactics to freeze out opposition. [Blatant as in having an extraordinary members' vote to remove a couple of previously well liked committee members who'd opposed them, that was unanimous (bar two) in an organisation that normally can't even agree how often the grass should be cut. And by the way, a vote that the friends of those members didn't know about].

  10. ebyrob

    A billion really ain't that much.

    Imagine having control of 1/3 of every phone book in the world (every non-profit entry) in 1980. A billion dollars really isn't all that much these days. In the USA alone there are over 10 corporations with a market capital over 300 billion. That's what 5 trillion right there? 1 billion is a pittance in the global information market.

    1. Adair Silver badge

      Re: A billion really ain't that much.

      But, your honour, I only murdered one person, and he was scum; Jack has slaughtered hundreds of innocents.

      So, it seems only fair that I should be let off with a warning, but let Jack be torn to pieces by dogs, as an example to others.

      1. A.P. Veening Silver badge

        Re: A billion really ain't that much.

        It would even work if the one you murdered was that Jack, especially if you could claim self defense.

  11. Arthur the cat Silver badge

    Where's Grand Fenwick when you need them?

    Get them to go over and sort things out.

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