Seems bad
November 22, 2019 7:10 PM   Subscribe

MOVEMENT.ORG (301 Moved)
BUSINESS.ORG (402 Payment Required)
RACKET.ORG (410 Gone)
posted by RobotVoodooPower at 7:41 PM on November 22, 2019 [4 favorites]

I've read ICANN's attempt to explain why removing price caps is justified (PDF, see page 8), and I still have no real explanation other than rampant corruption and/or mismanagement (and given the allegations in the Register article about how the same cast of characters has been playing both sides on this one, it's hard not to go with corruption) for why domain renewals shouldn't have price caps.

Domain renewals without price caps are just a license to print money. If renewal fees double overnight, the registrar basically doubles their revenue while providing no additional services of any kind, and domain owners have no real option but to pay it. A six month warning with an option to lock in 10 years at the old price doesn't fundamentally change that. ICANN pulls some nonsense about "market mechanisms" and "competition," but that makes no sense here. Even if you accept that competition could be relevant in the prices charged for new domains (someone could, at least theoretically, reject a TLD because it's too expensive, though that mainly matters for domainers buying in bulk), there's no functioning market mechanism for renewals; no operator of a functioning website is going to change gTLDs because the renewal fee went up. It's just extortion; pay more if you want to keep your domain.

I also haven't seen any real explanation of what this means financially for the Internet Society, which is supposed to be a non-profit acting in the public interest. ISOC gets what has to be hundreds of millions of dollars, assuming they sold the registry for some multiple of annual revenue, and seems to give no real indication what they plan to do with it or why selling out will help achieve any kind of public good.
posted by zachlipton at 7:46 PM on November 22, 2019 [27 favorites]

You can say what you want about the new registrar of .org, but at least it's an Ethos (Capital property)...
posted by zaixfeep at 8:09 PM on November 22, 2019 [3 favorites]

Is it possible that this is another part of the plan to get us off the web and all onto app-based Internet?
posted by Jon_Evil at 8:13 PM on November 22, 2019 [4 favorites]

Reads like one of those EVE Online heists.
posted by Sing Or Swim at 8:38 PM on November 22, 2019 [10 favorites]

This is genuinely outrageous, and the corruption so naked.
posted by smoke at 8:56 PM on November 22, 2019 [12 favorites]

And the MBA's take another point! "We had to normalize the rates that are charged for domain registration. If we didn't the non-profits would simply have too great an advantage in the market. Also the point of a business is to make money. This non-profit, public good concept sounds good on paper but there are market efficiencies to be realized. And none of us went to B-school to walk away from lucre. The very idea is insane. Only when the market is fully engaged can we hope to see technology progress at its natural rate. If we didn't do it now someone else would just do it. Would you like to come over for brandy and strippers?"
posted by Ignorantsavage at 9:15 PM on November 22, 2019 [17 favorites]

2019: year of the grift
posted by Two unicycles and some duct tape at 11:51 PM on November 22, 2019 [9 favorites]

the non-profits would simply have too great an advantage in the market

Odd how everybody who has ever said this in the entire history of ever has said it as if they think it's a bad thing.
posted by flabdablet at 1:20 AM on November 23, 2019 [17 favorites]

The likely consequence of this seems like it will be the destruction of the gravity of the 'official' TLDs, namely .com/.org/.net, which seems like it will make it even harder to determine if a domain is legitimate to the organization or not.
posted by Kikujiro's Summer at 6:29 AM on November 23, 2019 [16 favorites]

From BoingBoing/Doctorow, Ethos' s suspected owners, who's opposing and the petition.

I imagine in exchange for restoring the price cap, some kind of strict qualifiction would be imposed to prevent bad-actor for-profit folks from buying a cheap org domain. So the net effect either way will be that, like Magrathea, nobody will be unable to afford a domain, well, nobody who matters, anyway.
posted by zaixfeep at 8:17 AM on November 23, 2019 [5 favorites]

What a load of nonsense. The rest of the world has been unhappy with ICANN being in charge of the internet and here's another example of why they should be. JFC these people.
posted by Bella Donna at 8:25 AM on November 23, 2019 [1 favorite]

This article was also in the magazine. I thought it pretty interesting.

That is a lot of credit unions, universities, research institutions, health care institutions, what a brilliant move, on the part of those incredibly adorable families! When I meditate on them I just tingle with the sensation of the last of life on earth being sucked up their platinum straws! Mammon wanted them financially well endowed because he really isn't all that, as far as other physical endowments go. I think I am getting more spirit hives, waves of seawater filled with plastic bags washing over me in dreaming.

Their money isn't all that sexy is it? Here's to cryogenic failure for those who can afford it, since there is no escape from their doings at this point, anywhere, even for them.

Couldn't they have invested in that Danish guy who is cleaning up The Great Gyre, out in the Pacific, instead?
posted by Oyéah at 9:46 AM on November 23, 2019 [4 favorites]

Well, this bites. I hope the decision effectively gets impeached. I own a couple .org domains and I'm loath to give them up, so I just extended their expiry to 10 years from now.
posted by Jubal Kessler at 11:01 AM on November 23, 2019 [3 favorites]

I use a .org domain for my email. I picked .org at the time in large part due to how they handled whois lookups. .com and .net return a lengthy terms of use notice with every lookup, even a 'not found' result with no data in it. At the time, .org would return the simple "NOT FOUND", which I appreciated. I see now that that's no longer the case, and .org stuffs a terms of service into every result as well, although it's a little shorter. I wonder when that changed.

Anyway, this sucks.
posted by vibratory manner of working at 1:36 PM on November 23, 2019 [3 favorites]

Going by the usual vulture capital plan, there will be two revenue plans: constantly escalating prices for the ordinary not particularly attractive domains, and for particularly desirable domains, anyone can put in a bid. Want to keep your snazzy name that a company decides it wants? Now it's a thousand dollars a year.
posted by tavella at 2:11 PM on November 23, 2019

JFC these people. I've spent the majority of my career working for nonprofits. It's not bad enough to get smarmily bizsplained at every turn while doing twice the accounting, now we have to deal with another form of profiteering fuckery? I have such a headache.
posted by desuetude at 5:40 PM on November 23, 2019 [2 favorites]

mumble mumble something federated byzantine consensus mumble decentralized mumble grandfathering mumble auction blockchain mumble something mumble

It ought to be technically feasible to design single points of capitalist chokepoint failure out of this kind of vital worldwide infrastructure.
posted by flabdablet at 12:37 AM on November 24, 2019

I just renewed my domain for a further five years in case they Skhreli the prices. Which gives me 5½ years to find an alternative to and relocate.

I'm hoping somebody launches a .void TLD in that time.
posted by acb at 6:10 AM on November 24, 2019

Goddammit, yes. I got my domain for at least the last twenty years and I don't want to give it up but neither do I want to pay assholes exhorbitant amounts of money for basically nothing.
posted by MartinWisse at 10:56 PM on November 25, 2019

On the other hand, if things go as badly as suggested, I have the .net to match and fall back to that. I'd have the .com too if I'd done it initially, but by the time I decided to pick up more than just the .org, squatters grabbed the .com, hoping I'd pay them way too much money for it. Jokes on them, I won't and no one else ever will, either. Jerks.
posted by vibratory manner of working at 1:39 AM on November 26, 2019

Further discussion. People are pissed.
posted by Jubal Kessler at 5:35 PM on November 26, 2019 [1 favorite]

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