PIR Addresses Concerns Over Conflicts And Registry Fee Rises Following Takeover

The announcement in mid-November that Ethos Capital, a private equity company, had bought Public Interest Registry from the Internet Society has caused some outrage from sections of the internet community over possible conflicts of interest and concerns the registry fee for .org domain names could rise significantly. To address these concerns Public Interest Registry put out a statement over the weekend addressing some frequently asked questions about the transaction with responses that they believe should provide additional clarity.

The questions and answers as published on the website PIR set up are as follows:

What is Ethos Capital?

Ethos Capital is an investment company firmly rooted in the belief that prosperity should be built and shared, and that innovation has the power to fuel growth and success for all.  It was founded by Erik Brooks, a seasoned technology investor with extensive knowledge of the domain industry.

The firm’s investment philosophy is to help companies drive growth and transformation by employing new technologies, while maintaining a commitment to operating ethically, responsibly and in the best interests of all stakeholders and the broader community.  The limited partners in Ethos are all U.S. based investors.

Ethos has completed investments in VidMob Inc., Whistle Sports Inc., Adhark Inc. and LiquidX Inc.

What will PIR’s acquisition by Ethos Capital mean for .ORG prices? 

Ethos Capital is committed to keeping .ORG accessible and reasonably priced for all, in line with PIR’s longstanding, purpose-driven mission.

The current price of a .ORG domain name is approximately $10 per year. Our plan is to live within the spirit of historic practice when it comes to pricing, which means, potentially, annual price increases of up to 10 percent on average – which today would equate to approximately $1 per year.

With this construct, .ORG will continue to be one of the most affordable domain names on the market.  We are enthusiastic about the opportunity to provide enhanced services and support to the .ORG Community, and are committed to maintaining .ORG’s position as the natural home for purpose-driven organizations on the Internet. 

What does the acquisition mean for the .ORG Community?

Ethos will continue PIR’s ongoing engagement with the .ORG Community to understand its needs and concerns regarding scope of services, price sensitivities and other matters.  

Ethos is investing in the long-term vitality of .ORG and its users and intends to serve their needs for many years to come.

Ethos has pledged to continually address the needs of the community through expanded registry services to implement privacy regulations, clamp down on SPAM and DNS abuse, as well to undertake activities that support the .ORG Community.  

Is the Internet Community supportive of this transaction?

PIR has received strong support by a number of individuals and organizations throughout the Internet community who / that understand the value of this transaction and the opportunity it will provide to both PIR and the .ORG Community.

Vint Cerf, the former Chairman of the Board of ICANN and founding President of the Internet Society, has publicly said: “I am looking forward to supporting Ethos Capital and PIR in any way I can as they continue to expand the utility of the .ORG top-level domain in creative and socially responsible ways.” 

As expected, concerns that have been raised have mainly been related to pricing. We hope the information we have provided on pricing helps to allay those concerns.

Did Ethos Capital approach the Internet Society about acquiring PIR while PIR was renegotiating its ICANN contract?

Ethos Capital first approached the Internet Society in September 2019, well after PIR’s contract renewal with ICANN had finished.

Was the removal of price restrictions connected to the decision to sell PIR?

No.  All standard registry agreements with ICANN today no longer include price restrictions.  PIR was not for sale at the time the price caps were lifted on .ORG.

The removal of .ORG’s price restrictions earlier this year was not unique to .ORG and was in no way motivated by a desire to sell PIR.

Was Jon Nevett hired by PIR in anticipation of this transaction? 

Jon Nevett was hired because of his extensive industry experience and the Internet Society’s desire to see PIR set the highest standards for a registry operator. Under its new ownership, Jon will remain CEO of PIR.

Is Abry Partners involved in this transaction? 

Abry Partners is not involved in this transaction.  Abry Partners is a private equity firm where Erik Brooks worked for 20 years, prior to leaving and starting Ethos Capital.

Is Fadi Chehade involved in this transaction?

Fadi Chehade’s company, Chehade & Company, is an adviser to Ethos. Chehade & Company is an advisory company with clients across the technology, education and creative sectors.

Mr. Chehade is a board member of Sentry Data Systems and Interactions LLC and serves as an advisory board member of the World Economic Forum’s Center for the Fourth Industrial Revolution. Previously he was the President and CEO of ICANN, a member of the UN Secretary-General’s High-Level Panel on Digital Cooperation, and a Senior Advisor to the Executive Chairman of the World Economic Forum.

How is Ethos Capital planning to protect the interests of the .ORG Community?

Under the new ownership, PIR’s operation of .ORG will continue as usual with the same excellent management team and reliable backend registry operator. There will be no disruption of services to the .ORG Community.  

Both PIR and Ethos Capital are committed to ensuring a smooth and seamless transition, and to continuing the community orientation and strong social purpose of the .ORG and PIR. Ethos is enthusiastic about developing new services and support to serve the .ORG Community.

Will PIR continue its commitment to the .ORG Community now that it will be switching from a nonprofit to a for-profit entity?

Both Ethos Capital and PIR are strongly committed to the success of 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.

In addition, Ethos Capital is currently evaluating an opportunity to seek B Corporation Certification for PIR.

  • The high standards for B Corp Certification are overseen by B Lab’s independent Standards Advisory Council
  • Certified B Corporations are businesses that meet the highest standards of verified social and environmental performance, public transparency, and legal accountability to balance profit and purpose. 

The above information was sourced from: keypointsabout.org

 Keyword Research Tool

PIR Eyeing Growth Opportunities Following Ethos Capital Takeover

Public Interest Registry and the Internet Society announced Wednesday that they had agreed for PIR, the .org registry, to be taken over by Ethos Capital, an investment firm, based in the United States.

.ORG was established in 2002 when the Internet Society won a competitive bidding process for the .ORG registry and established PIR to manage and operate the .ORG domain.

The takeover sees PIR excited for their future and allowing the Internet Society to focus on their core activities with a long term financial endowment and security.

Speaking to Domain Pulse, PIR’s CEO Jon Nevett said they’re “excited for the future and the new opportunities the new ownership brings.” Nevett went on to say they’ll be looking at other TLDs that have a similar mission to PIR, without naming any, with a view to future takeovers and growth.

“We’ll be looking at other mission-based TLDs that are consistent in their mission with .org and that are focussed on doing good on the internet,” said Nevett.

Speaking to the issue of an increase in the registry fee that has been discussed in the domain name community in recent months, Nevett went on to say “the takeover is not a masterplan to increase the .org fee and any future increases would be reasonable and fair.” It was a point reiterated by a spokesperson for Ethos who said there would be no dramatic price increases, not least because of competitive pressures in the market, namely, a wide range of other choices of TLDs.

“For the most part, it’s just a change in ownership,” said Nevett. “The same management team will exist.”

“Since the inception of Public Interest Registry, our mission has been to enable the .ORG Community to use the Internet more effectively and change the world for the better,” stated Jon Nevett, CEO of Public Interest Registry in a joint announcement. “That will not change. We have enjoyed a long and successful relationship with the Internet Society, and are thrilled that we will be able to continue – and expand – our important work with Ethos Capital while sustaining our commitment to the .ORG Community going forward.”

Vint Cerf, former Chairman of the Board of ICANN and founding President of the Internet Society, said in a statement: “When the Internet Society won the bid to operate the .ORG registry, it enabled a productive and sustainable future for the organisation. Public Interest Registry exercised its stewardship to the benefit of the registrants and the Internet Society’s mission. I am looking forward to supporting Ethos Capital and PIR in any way I can as they continue to expand the utility of the .ORG top-level domain in creative and socially responsible ways.”

Going forward, PIR and Ethos Capital are planning to launch 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 organisations; and
  • Expanding a program to award .ORG prizes to promote the success and positive impact of non-profit organisations.

“We are excited to support PIR’s mission and build upon the incredible work it has done to promote success and positive impact for the .ORG Community,” said Erik Brooks, Founder & CEO of Ethos Capital. “As part of our commitment to setting the gold standard of registry operations, we will be establishing a Stewardship Council that will serve to uphold PIR’s core founding values and provide support through a variety of community programs.”

“Importantly, throughout the transition and beyond, we are committed to ensuring complete continuity of PIR’s operations and enhancing the relationships PIR has established over the years. We look forward to continuing PIR’s longstanding partnerships and vendor affiliations to ensure domain operations run smoothly and without interruption.”

Sources have told Domain Pulse the takeover was initiated by Ethos, who along with other interested companies approached the Internet Society and PIR and submitted proposals. But Ethos was judged to offer the best deal and be the best steward for .org and the .org community going forward.

Registrations in .org have declined in recent years to 10.1 million at the end of the first quarter of 2019, down from 10.4 million from 2 years ago, according to Verisign’s Domain Name Industry Brief. But the decline isn’t confined to .org, but rather an industry-wide trend, particularly among the legacy generic top-level domains (gTLDs), with the exception of .com. PIR also has 6 new gTLDs that have been delegated, 5 of which have entered general availability with the 2 largest being .ong and .ngo, both currently with 3,201 domains according to nTLDstats, as well as .ОРГ (1,151) being the only other with more than 1,000 registrations.

Ethos Capital describes themselves as a private investment firm focusing on companies in which technology can be used to automate, optimise and transform traditional business models into faster growing, more efficient organisations. Their founder and CEO, Erik Brooks worked at Abry Partners for 20 years before founding Ethos this year and worked on the deal that saw Abry, another private equity firm, take over Donuts, which is where it’s believed while working alongside former ICANN CEO and President Fadi Chehadé he gained an interest in the domain name industry.

In an announcement from PIR, Ethos Capital commented they are “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 organisation.”

PIR is also likely to seek to change from a not-for-profit to a for profit organisation with their announcement noting that PIR will consider seeking B Corporation certification, a certification businesses can acquire “that meet the highest standards of verified social and environmental performance, public transparency, and legal accountability to balance profit and purpose.”

 Keyword Research Tool

PIR Rebrands With The New .ORG

It’s been a year in the making, and now Public Interest Registry has rebranded as The New .ORG, giving it a fresh new look “with a new, bold visual identity.”

Instead of being publicly known as Public Interest Registry or using the pir.org domain name, the public face is now a bold .ORG as well as new visual identities for PIR, .ong and .ngo. The rebranding also goes across all of PIR’s social media channels, marketing campaigns, across our registrar network, and everywhere that .ORG lives.

The move makes a lot of sense as apart from .com, most legacy gTLDs, and many ccTLDs, have struggled for growth in the post-new gTLD world. For .org, registrations have dropped from 10.4 million in mid-2017 to 10.0 million in mid-2019 according to Verisign’s Domain Name Industry Brief. For .net, the only legacy gTLD apart from .com with more registrations, the decline has been even greater, dropping from 15.1 million to 13.6 million in the same period.

The new logo—with “ORG” encircled in a vibrant royal blue sphere—reflects the brand’s impact worldwide according to the announcement. The open “ORG” lettering on either side of the sphere signals that .ORG is an open domain for anyone; it serves as a powerful and inclusive global connector. The logo uses a deep royal blue, evoking feelings of trust, security, and reliability that reflect .ORG’s long-standing reputation. The design also allows the colour to be exchanged for photography and video, so .ORG can tell visual stories through the lens of the logo.

The logo for PIR and the .NGO/.ONG extensions—exclusive domains serving non-governmental organisations—also underwent a visual refresh. The new visual identities of PIR and .NGO/.ONG mirror that of .ORG, but with different colour designations: turquoise and green respectively.

PIR explain they selected the primary colours very purposefully:

  • .ORG royal blue evokes feelings of trust, security, and reliability that reflect .ORG’s long-standing reputation.
  • PIR turquoise represents the strength and integrity of PIR as a trusted registry.
  • .NGO/.ONG green underscores the focus within the NGO community on forward progress, sustainability and social responsibility.

But the logo doesn’t stop there. PIR explains the design also allows the colour to be exchanged for photography and video, so .ORG can tell visual stories through the lens of the logo. As such, they also developed a photography suite that is varied, worldly, and reflective of the diverse passions of the .ORG community.

According to the announcement, the new brand launch is just the beginning of a bright and transformative journey ahead. PIR want to let people know that .ORG is the trusted open domain of choice to power their ideas and connect with others. Through 2019 and well into 2020, the .ORG brand along with stories about the exceptional people and organisations in the .ORG community will be shared with the world. PIR hopes that others will be inspired to start their own .ORG stories to make the world a better place.

Buy Domain Names For A Profitable Online Business

Step one to setting up a profitable online business is to buy domain names unique to your business. If you’re just setting up a personal blog to share vacation pictures with family and friends then you don’t really need to have your own domain name if you don’t want to. Even if you decide you want a domain name, you can just use your own name or some variation of it and that will work out just fine.

It’s not quite that simple, though, if you’re buying a domain name for an online business ( don’t panic, it might not be as simple as just choosing your own name, but it’s not hard either). The point is that if you’re building a business online one of the most important things you will need to do is to drive a ton of very targeted traffic to that website and what better way to do that than to have a domain name that is an actual keyword?

Let me explain. Let’s say that your website is going to be about golf, more specifically you are selling an instruction video on how to perfect your golf swing. You’ve done the keyword research and you’ve found that many people who are searching online for information on how to improve their golf swing type in the search phrase “golf swing instruction”.

If there are thousands of people every single month that are using the keyword phrase “golf swing instruction” to do their search, what do you think would happen if you used that keyword for your domain name, GolfSwingInstruction.com? Yep, you’d get a ton of highly targeted free traffic just because you made your domain name a highly searched for keyword.

If you can get the .com version of a name do so, but if not you can use a .net or a .org and still get good results. Once you’ve got your desired domain name picked out (you should actually start with a long list of possible names since many of them will already be taken), you can head over to websites like NameCheap, CrazyDomains or RightBiz.net and register (buy) your domain name.

It’s an easy step by step process (just make sure you pay attention because these sites like to try to get you to buy other things during the checkout procedure and if you’re not paying attention you may end up buying similar domain names or other upgrades that you really don’t need) and when it’s through you will be the proud owner of a new domain.

Domains are pretty cheap, you can pick up a domain name and own it for as little as $10 a year. You can choose to register the domain for longer and with specials your per year investment could be even cheaper.

The actual process of paying for the domain name is easy, the most time consuming part will be to find just the right domain name for your business, it’s not hard but it is important that you don’t get impatient and skip this step. As I explained above you want to buy domain names that are highly searched for keyword phrases. That is the best way for your business to get a lot of very targeted traffic and that is the best way to get a lot of money with your online business. The Keyword Researcher is a good product to help you with getting the right keyword/phrase for your business or product.