Frequently Asked Questions

Yes, but then PIR should no longer be able to run the .ORG in light of the history of .ORG and the ICANN community’s decision regarding the operation of .ORG. Running .ORG as a for-profit would be at odds with the purpose of the .ORG TLD and the commitments made by PIR when .ORG was first delegated to PIR.

In compliance with the policy requiring that .ORG be operated by a non-profit organization that is non-commercial in orientation, ICANN should organize a request for proposals, allowing non-profits to apply for operating the .ORG TLD.

Any person or entity materially affected by an action or inaction of ICANN may request reconsideration of that action by the ICANN Board. The right to request reconsideration by the Board is established by Article V of the ICANN Bylaws, which requires that the requestor to show that it has been adversely affected by:

a) One or more staff actions or inactions that contradict established ICANN policy(ies); or

b) One or more actions or inactions of the ICANN Board that have been taken, or not taken, without consideration of material information, unless the requesting party could have (but did not) submit the information for the Board’s consideration at the time of action or refusal to act; or

c) One or more actions or inactions of the ICANN Board that have been taken as a result of the Board’s reliance on false or inaccurate material information.

Any person materially affected by any actions or failures to act by or within ICANN committed by the Board, individual Directors, Officers, or Staff members that he or she asserts is inconsistent with the Articles of Incorporation or Bylaws may submit a request for independent review of that action or inaction. In order to be materially affected, the person must suffer injury or harm that is directly and causally connected to the Board’s alleged violation of the Bylaws or the Articles of Incorporation.

At this point, that information is unknown. On 9 December 2019, ICANN’s President and CEO and the ICANN Board Chair informed the community that ICANN is examining the “proposed acquisition” of PIR by Ethos Capital and that ICANN had asked additional information to PIR to evaluate the change of control. Additional information is available on ICANN’s website.

In 2019, ICANN removed the the price caps for .BIZ, .ORG and .INFO.

In October 2015, ICANN decided to remove the price cap for .PRO and to lift the restriction to limit the .PRO to certain types of professionals. In November 2015, the .PRO Registry Agreement was later assigned to Afilias, the parent company of the previous .PRO registry operator, Registry Services CorporationAfilias.

In contrast with the more recent eliminations of price caps in .ORG, .INFO and .BIZ, the internet community was not concerned about the removal of price caps in the much smaller .PRO.

Although the timing of the acquisition of PIR (as well as the principals involved) raises many questions, it is possible.

Yes. Section 7.5 of the new Registry Agreement and Section 8.5 under the previous Registry Agreement expressly requires ICANN’s prior approval of a change of control of the registry operator.

ICANN has announced that it will thoughtfully and thoroughly evaluate the proposed acquisition to ensure that the .ORG registry remains secure, reliable, and stable.

Apart from negotiations in the context of a cooperative engagement process (CEP), there are three other possible mechanisms: DIDP, RfR, and IRP. Namecheap has already submitted a DIDP request and two RfRs. It is currently engaged in a CEP with ICANN.

In addition to the criteria that ICANN has announced it will use, ICANN should also look at the specific nature of .ORG, as a trusted registry for the non-profit sector and as a contributor to important Internet stakeholders. ICANN should examine whether the proposed change of control respects the criteria that were used in 2002 to evaluate PIR’s application to operate the .ORG registry. The policy according to which the .ORG registry was assigned to PIR has never been modified. If ICANN wishes to move away from these criteria, new evaluation criteria should be developed by the community in a new policy development process (PDP).

ICANN Staff took this decision following bilateral negotiations with the registry operators for .ORG, .INFO and .BIZ. Generally, changes in ICANN policy are made by the ICANN community rather than ICANN staff.

When defending ICANN’s renewal decision, the ICANN Board referred to a “Preliminary Analysis of Dennis Carlton Regarding Price Caps for New gTLD Internet Registries”, from March 2009. Written by a University of Chicago professor, Dennis Carlton. According to the ICANN Board, this report was a major part of ICANN's decision to remove the price caps. It was a dated opinion piece from an economist commanding high consulting fees, was written in 2009, and reaches conclusions mainly based upon assumptions.

It is not a fact-based analysis and only a preliminary report.

The report only discusses price caps for new gTLD registries.

The author was not asked to analyze price caps for existing TLDs. The existence of price caps in existing gTLDs were an important factor in the author’s opinion of 2009, when he was of the opinion that no price caps should be imposed on new gTLDs.

Moreover, in his final reports of June 2009, the author made clear that he saw no basis for eliminating price caps in existing gTLDs. He had understood from ICANN that there is no basis for the concern that the absence of price caps for new gTLDs could result in the elimination of price caps for .COM, .NET, .ORG, .INFO, .BIZ, and others.

In 2013, the then already four years old report was clearly not an impediment to maintain the price cap when renewing the PIR registry agreement.

And the data for the domain name space dates from 2008, a time when there was a handful of gTLDs, [get percent of DUM total for gTLD then versus now] percent less domains, and did not factor in country specific TLDs.

According to a 2016 Propublica report, Professor Carlton charges at least $1,350 an hour. It is estimated that he has earned approximately $100 million for his consulting services. It is not known how much ICANN paid for his services, however based upon the Propublica report, his positions are very pro-business.

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