The Public Interest Registry (PIR), the non-profit organization responsible for the management of .ORG top-level domains (TLD), is raising its voice to advocate registry-registrar separation. The organization is concerned that ICANN is moving toward removing restrictions that prevent a registry, responsible for maintaining the infrastructure and management of a Top-level domain, from simultaneously owning registrars, the companies that sell domains.
Among the problems such cross-ownership could cause are that registries that are also registrars could provide domains at lower prices and thereby give themselves an unfair advantage over competing registrars. Another possible negative outcome is that information that a registrar gives to the domain registry could be used for their own registrar’s business, thereby once again giving them an unfair advantage.
PIR believes that these safeguards must stay in place and be more thoroughly defined when the new gTLDs are implemented. ICANN will be presenting information about cross ownership to a panel in Sydney on June 22. This will also undoubtedly raise questions about ICANN’s future. While the U.S. government believes it should maintain oversight over the organization, the E.U. wants oversight to be handed over to a collective committee of nations. ICANN itself, however, has expressed wishes to become an independent organization.