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

Evan Leibovitch evan at telly.org
Wed Nov 20 12:33:04 UTC 2019


Or there could be totally new advice asking ICANN to re-delegate .ORG back
to a nonprofit.
It has that authority.

https://gizmodo.com/private-equity-ghouls-buy-non-profit-that-handles-org-1839860118


On Tue, 19 Nov 2019 at 17:25, John Laprise <jlaprise at gmail.com> wrote:

> 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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>>>
>>>

-- 
Evan Leibovitch, Toronto Canada
@evanleibovitch or @el56
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