Stack of newspapers
PHOTO: Shutterstock

The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) Board has rejected the proposed change of control and entity from the Internet Society (ISOC) to Ethos Capital, a victory for those who want the non-profit, public entity to maintain management and operation of the .ORG domain.

The ICANN Board shot down the agreed-upon $1.1 billion acquisition that originally came Nov. 13 of last year. The Public Interest Registry (PIR) announced that ISOC, its parent organization, had reached an agreement to be acquired by Ethos Capital. PIR would be converted in the deal from a Pennsylvania not-for-profit corporation to a for-profit Pennsylvania limited liability company.

PIR, which includes 35 employees, operates the .ORG generic top-level domain (gTLD) as a not-for-profit organization and manages its 10.5 million registered domains. ICANN's role is to "ensure the stable and secure operation of the Internet's unique identifier systems" and consider "the global public interest," it wrote in the April 30 press release announcing the news.

ICANN had to give approval or withhold consent of any proposed change of control. PIR serves the public’s interest as "trusted stewards of the .ORG domain," operating the .ORG domain where millions of groups and individuals have established and grown their online identities, according to its website. "Today’s decision by ICANN sets a dangerous precedent with broad industry implications," Ethos Capital officials said in a statement April 30. "ICANN has overstepped its purview, which is limited to ensuring routine transfers of indirect control (such as the sale of PIR) do not impact the registry’s security, stability and reliability. Today’s action opens the door for ICANN to unilaterally reject future transfer requests based on agenda-driven pressure by outside parties."  

ICANN Board officials said it was presented with a "unique and complex situation, impacting one of the largest registries with more than 10.5 million domain names registered." It concluded the public interest is better served by its decision because the acquisition would "create unacceptable uncertainty over the future of the third largest gTLD registry."

Specifically, concerns included:

  • Ethos was bound to serve the interests of its corporate stakeholders and has no meaningful plan to protect or serve the .ORG community.
  • ICANN was being asked to agree to contract with a wholly different form of entity; instead of maintaining its contract with the mission-based, not-for-profit that has responsibly operated the .ORG registry for nearly 20 years.
  • PIR would be left with a $360 million debt instrument that forces it to service that debt and provide returns to its shareholders, which raises further question about how the .ORG registrants will be protected or will benefit from this conversion.

The acquisition drew a wide range of opposition, including that of four US Democratic Senators, one of which was former presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren, D-Massachusetts. Hundreds of open internet activists applauded the move.

In other customer experience software news ...

Contentful Partners with BVA

Contentful, a headless content management provider, has partnered with BVA, a Shopify Plus agency. BVA will leverage Contentful’s newly released App Framework to help BVA customers deliver omnichannel digital experiences. BVA uses Contentful on its own website.

Contentful officials said its global partner network is designed to give customers access resources agencies like BVA to help drive their digital initiatives. BVA is a commerce agency that helps grow direct-to-consumer (DTC) brands. Shopify Plus is an ecommerce platform. 

Widen Introduces New Product Information Management Capabilities

Widen has launched Entries, a new Widen Collective app to manage product content. Entries helps organize product information, marketing copy and digital assets in one interface.

With Entries, users can:

  • Import product data.
  • Import product data from an ERP and PLM systems into Entries to provide role-based access.
  • Add copy, related digital assets and pricing information.
  • Organize what customers will read, see and hear about products in one view.
  • Automate workflows to launch products.
  • Use automation with custom triggers and variables to notify users during product content lifecycle.
  • Deliver product content from one source.
  • Syndicate product data to ecommerce, print publishers, websites and other channels.

Talkdesk Announces CX Cloud

Talkdesk, a cloud contact center provider, has announced a customer experience solution, Talkdesk CX Cloud. It offers integration capabilities with more than 60 business tools, including Salesforce integration.

Talkdesk officials tout the new product's omnichannel support through customer engagement applications, built-in workforce engagement tools, featuring integrated agent desktop, mobile agent, workforce management, quality management and call recording and data analytics. It also features enterprise collaboration solutions that extend customer support beyond the contact center.

Talkdesk CX Cloud offers companies more than 60 out-of-the-box integrations to CRMs and other business applications from Salesforce, Zendesk, ServiceNow, Slack and Microsoft.

ActiveCampaign Launches Recipes

ActiveCampaign, which provides Customer Experience Automation (CXA) software, has announced the launch of the ActiveCampaign Marketplace. The new marketplace builds on its automation recipe program, which has been leveraged to create over 300,000 customer experiences since its inception in 2016. Recipes are strategic recommendations about how businesses can engage with their customers, according to ActiveCampaign officials.

Features of the new marketplace include:

  • A library of over 250 recipes created by ActiveCampaign, ActiveCampaign customers and ActiveCampaign's partner network.
  • Filters for experience level, industry, features and business needs.
  • Import and customization of recipes.
  • Ability for people to share recipes or get suggestions from the ActiveCampaign community.

Salesforce Expands Low-Code App Development

Salesforce has expanded its low-code app development capabilities with two new features for Lightning App Builder, Dynamic Forms and Dynamic Actions. Lighting helps users build customized apps on Salesforce.

These capabilities allow organizations to build apps faster, according to Salesforce officials. Users can now turn static data entry forms into dynamic page experiences through the new capabilities. Dynamic Forms and Actions expand the capabilities of the Salesforce Platform by combining with other platform services, including Einstein, Mobile, and Collaboration, as well as Flow to automate processes for users.

PowerInbox Acquires Jeeng

PowerInbox, an email engagement and monetization partner for publishers, has announced its acquisition of Jeeng, an artificial intelligence-powered personalized notification platform. The move is designed to allow publishers to own their audience and drive traffic to their own online properties. To lead the new integrated program, PowerInbox hired Jonathan Stefansky as general manager, Jeeng, a subscriber messaging platform for sending personalized, curated content to subscribers across multiple channels.