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Username: asjunk
Date/Time: Fri, August 23, 2002 at 8:19 PM GMT
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Subject: Serious Concerns About ISOC's financial ability to run .org


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ICANN's recent recommendation to assign control of the .org domain to the Internet Society is, I'm sure, well intentioned.  ISOC's mere existence as an organization representing individuals and organizations using the Internet, founded by some of the Internet's early luminaries, is a powerful statement for the common good and the future of the Internet as an open, humane medium.

However, ISOC in practice has varied rather widely from ISOC in promise, and while the ideals of the organization are sound, the organization itself is not.  For example, in the past few months, ISOC has revamped its governance structure and stripped its individual members of their right to participate in electing the Board of Directors.  Moreover, ISOC has proven itself unable to manage its own financial affairs, accruing significant debt that, in their own auditor's words, "raise a substantial doubt about the Internet Society's ability to continue as a going concern" (see

In response to a question I raised on the ICANN discussion boards, ISOC replied that they were financially able to cover the costs of administering .org regardless of whether or not they received the endowment from Verisign (see;3D505E92000001CE).  This clearly is NOT true -- ISOC's own financial audits reveal that the organization is virtually bankrupt and does not have the assets to undertake a significant project like running a TLD.  Additionally, ISOC's proposed back-end technology provider, Afilias, seems to lack the financial stability to ensure the continued integrity of the .org domain (see 

ISOC is not alone.  Other bidders have also recently experienced financial difficulties.  I still strongly question why the financial stability of the new operator is not a primary criterion in this process; the continued stability of the .org domain needs to be the top priority in determining the new administrator, and that stability demands that the operator be on firm financial ground.

While I am a strong proponent of running the .org domain in such a fashion that it can continue to serve the public interest and promote the values that nonprofit groups across the world espouse, I strongly object to using .org as a crutch to fund ISOC.  None of the TLDs should be entrusted to organizations that are financially unsound.  There is simply too much at stake in controlling and administering the DNS system to risk it on an organization with shaky finances, no matter how well intentioned.  ISOC should not be entrusted with the administration of the .org domain.



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