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Turkey's back up, but what's happening with Dot-org and a new visual identity?

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By Smallbones and Indy beetle

Dot-org to be owned by venture capitalists?

In November 2019, the nonprofit Internet Society announced that it had reached a $1.1 billion deal with a fledgling private equity investment firm, Ethos Capital, to sell the Public Interest Registry and thus its control of the .org web domain. Dot-org has been under the stewardship of the Internet Society since it was founded in 1985 for use by nonprofit organizations, and managed through the PIR since 2003. The domain has been available to for-profit enterprises in recent years. The sale blindsided many web leaders, while the Internet Society explained that it was focusing on other goals and was not keen on spending its time managing domains. Hundreds of nonprofits voiced their objection, raising fears that Ethos would raise prices or attempt to censor information or sell data gleaned from hosting their websites.

WMF Executive Director and potential director of a new cooperative, Katherine Maher

In 2013, wiki and open source websites made up the largest share of users of .org, holding 22% of the registered domains.[1] According to Alexa Internet, as of the time of writing Wikipedia has the highest volume of traffic of any global website that uses the .org domain, ranking as the 13th most used website.[2]

Reuters broke the news early this month that a group of concerned internet nonprofit leaders were appealing to the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers to block the sale, and had moved to create a nonprofit cooperative, the Cooperative Corporation of .ORG Registrants, as an alternative buyer of the .org domain. Wikimedia Foundation Executive Director Katherine Maher has offered herself to be one of seven directors of the new cooperative. She told Reuters, "There needs to be a place on the internet that represents the public interest, where educational sites, humanitarian sites, and organizations like Wikipedia can provide a broader public benefit." Maher also said that the organization was not offering a competing bid for .org, but wishes to obtain it to safeguard its integrity and ensure that the sites it hosts are not subject to censorship. The NonProfit Times added that a few members of the United States Congress have declared their opposition to the sale.

Turkish Wikipedia back up and running

Last month's Constitutional Court decision in Turkey did not have immediate effect, as pointed out by Wikipedian John Lubbock in the Ahval News story "Wikipedia is good for the Turkish economy and education sector - but it's still being blocked". Five days after Lubbock's article and three weeks after the Constitutional Court ruled against the ban "Turkey Lifts More Than 2-Year Block of Wikipedia" according to the Associated Press.

Other sites reporting on the ban being lifted include WMF News "Access to Wikipedia restored in Turkey after more than two and a half years".

New Wikipedia visual design

Snøhetta Selected to Design the New Visual Identity for the Open-Source Platform Wikipedia: Snøhetta is a successful Norwegian architecture/design firm. Eight companies competed for the contract, according to Aftenposten (in Norwegian). A joint WMF-Snøhetta webpage has been set up. Community consultations will be held.

In brief

Political impropriety roundup

There were four main instances real-world politics and allegations coming up on Wikipedia this month in the form of vandalism or sharp content alterations, accompanied by an unusual enthusiasm for criminal investigations. The Signpost would like to advise political actors that Wikipedia is not a court of public opinion.



  1. ^ Gaiter, Jatrice Martel (9 September 2013). "Confusion: .ORG Isn't Just for Nonprofits". The NonProfit Times. Retrieved 20 January 2020.
  2. ^ "The top 500 sites on the web". Alexa. Retrieved 20 January 2020. Wikipedia is also the only website registered with the .org domain in the top 50 of Alexa's ranked sites.
  3. ^ "The Story Behind Wikipedia". Innovation Hub. WGBH (FM) and PRX. January 10, 2020. Retrieved January 10, 2020.

For a detailed compilation of news about Wikipedia, see Wikipedia:Press coverage 2020
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The leadership of the Wikimedia Foundation appears to have concluded that "Wikimedia" has very low brand recognition, while "Wikipedia" is the opposite. The solution, one gets the sense, is to add "Wikipedia" (somehow) to all the brands of the foundation, including the foundation itself. So, for example, "Wikipedia Foundation", "Wikipedia Wikisource", and "Wikipedia Commons". [And no, none of this has been openly declared; I'm reading between the lines.] -- John Broughton (♫♫) 04:06, 27 January 2020 (UTC)[reply]
@John Broughton, my understanding is "Wikipedia Foundation" yes but "Wikipedia Wikisource" no, per meta:Communications/Wikimedia brands/2030 movement brand project/FAQ#What is in scope for this project? What will not be changed? czar 04:24, 27 January 2020 (UTC)[reply]


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