[GTLD-WG] [CPWG] Fwd: Re: [registration-issues-wg] Fwd: ISOC sells PIR

John Laprise jlaprise at gmail.com
Tue Nov 19 22:24:17 UTC 2019


On the advice we issued on the change in contractual terms. It's within
ALAC's remit to issue advice on anything and this is exactly the kind of
situation that allows us to nimbly address a situation. George Kirikos
mentioned the s contingency in the list but by that time I'm pretty sure he
had established himself as shrill and was in the process of being report to
the ombudsman. We can ask the board to examine options here because we
issued advice in good faith and expectation of ISOC being a good Steward of
.org. selling it off to a VC firm was not something I considered likely and
had I, would not have advocated in the way I did.

Sent from my Pixel 3XL

John Laprise, Ph.D.

On Tue, Nov 19, 2019, 1:22 PM Alan Greenberg <alan.greenberg at mcgill.ca>
wrote:

> On what issue John?
>
> Alan
> --
> Sent from my mobile. Please excuse brevity and typos.
>
> On November 19, 2019 1:31:18 PM EST, John Laprise <jlaprise at gmail.com>
> wrote:
>>
>> I agree with Evan. This is an astounding sort sighted deal by ISOC which
>> essentially squandered the trust of it's membership for financial gain.
>> Trust is the most precious commodity of any non profit and hard to regain
>> once lost.
>>
>> Furthermore, ALAC and CPWG should urgently amend our advice on the
>> contractual issue to reflect new situation. I am no longer in support on
>> this issue.
>>
>> Sent from my Pixel 3XL
>>
>> John Laprise, Ph.D.
>> Show quoted text
>>
>>
>> Sent from my Pixel 3XL
>>
>> John Laprise, Ph.D.
>>
>> On Tue, Nov 19, 2019, 3:58 AM Evan Leibovitch <evan at telly.org> wrote:
>>
>>> On Mon, 18 Nov 2019 at 09:16, Hadia Abdelsalam Mokhtar EL miniawi <
>>> Hadia at tra.gov.eg> wrote:
>>>
>>>> I would certainly assume that ISOC got a very decent amount of money
>>>> from Ethos for the deal to go forward. At this point I would assume that
>>>> ISOC has insured its way forward. However, what is still to be seen is the
>>>> effect on the .org prices, hopefully going forward they would have special
>>>> prices for non profits.
>>>
>>>
>>> Two factors come to mind in considering the long term effects of the
>>> sale, over and above the financial-stability component of which we are all
>>> aware. Consider:
>>>
>>>
>>> *The substance:*
>>>
>>> PIR was more than just an ISOC asset. The Internet Society was custodian
>>> of the only global top-level domain that was, by nature and its very
>>> name, acting in the public interest. In a sea of TLD sharks, dot-org
>>> could be seen as a body that brought both financial stability to ISOC and
>>> social responsibility among the registries. Its size and nonprofit
>>> status would keep costs down and corporate direction serving a social
>>> mission. Its competitive presence could tamp down the excesses of the
>>> industry.
>>>
>>> And now that's gone. More important than the divestment of PIR is its
>>> change from nonprofit to Just Another Shareholder-Value-Maximizing part of
>>> the domain ecosystem, its uniqueness vanished in an instant. In the aim
>>> of maximizing its own revenue ISOC has eliminated from the the Internet
>>> the only publicly-accessible nonprofit gTLD. Gone is this substantial voice
>>> of public-interest sanity within the registry community, replaced by an
>>> entity barely more ethically motivated than Donuts. As a dot-org "owner",
>>> this hurts personally. But as someone trying to advance Internet domains as
>>> a component of progress, this hurts on a global scale.
>>>
>>> Stewardship of a socially-motivated registry was one of ISOC's core
>>> global functions IMO. With that gone, so is part of ISOC's value.
>>>
>>>
>>> *The process:*
>>>
>>> The path that led to the divestment of PIR, both before and after the
>>> decision had been made, has laid bare a core ISOC culture that is the
>>> opposite of the openness it asks the world to embrace. At a level of
>>> fiscal responsibility, ISOC's action was exactly what one would expect any
>>> for-profit entity to do. Maximize benefit through a secretive process that
>>> catches everyone unaware -- not just of the transaction but of the urgency
>>> to do it,
>>>
>>> Except ISOC is not a for-profit entity. It displays itself to the world
>>> as a community body that encourages involvement at a personal, regional,
>>> institutional or national scale. It has carefully crafted and evolved a
>>> Chapters Advisory Council explicitly designed to provide management with
>>> the view from the grassroots, alongside a parallel Council for corporate
>>> participants. This was combined with global virtual events such as
>>> InterCommunity that were created to give ISOC a global awareness of what
>>> was needed to promote a more-open Internet. And it has always had an
>>> individual-membership program, which isn't really talked about these days
>>> as these "members" have neither any costs nor any benefits.
>>>
>>> None of these mechanisms were employed, none of these entities
>>> consulted, before or after the decision, even under NDA. The community
>>> wasn't even aware that PIR was being shopped around. As a result, there was
>>> no open solicitation, no publicly-competitive process, no opportunity for
>>> any other firm to make a counter-offer that might keep PIR nonprofit. We'll
>>> never know. Or maybe it wasn't shopped around and someone just made ISOC an
>>> offer it couldn't refuse. But ISOC isn't Jack Woltz. The community had
>>> no idea of any sense of urgency to sell PIR, and certainly was never
>>> consulted about the ethics or consequences of turning PIR for-profit.
>>> The common nonprofit practice of having major decisions ratified by
>>> stakeholders at an AGM is also nowhere in sight.
>>>
>>> So now we know the reality of ISOC's corporate culture. Promote openness
>>> and consultation when convenient, but be opaque when it matters.
>>>
>>>
>>> I don't know if ISOC considers me a stakeholder, or for that matter
>>> anyone else on this list, any Chapter or any Organization Member. In fact
>>> right now I have no idea who ISOC considers its stakeholders to be; it
>>> certainly didn't consult any before the fact or ask for any blessings
>>> afterwards. Not even informally. So who shows up at the AGM? Just the
>>> Trustees?
>>>
>>> In any case, the deal is essentially done. ISOC clearly appears to have
>>> assured its financial stability, which is certainly a Good Thing. But with
>>> a crown jewel of the Internet fading away and the shallowness of its
>>> commitment to openness and community exposed in the process, it is
>>> legitimate to ask whether ISOC has sold more than a registry.
>>>
>>> We won't know the answer to that for a while
>>> - Evan
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>>
>>
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