Now playing
03:40
He invented the web. Now he wants to fix it.
WASHINGTON, DC - JUNE 22: Facebook
WASHINGTON, DC - JUNE 22: Facebook's Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg speaks with AEI president Arthur C. Brooks during a public conversation on Facebook's work on 'breakthrough innovations that seek to open up the world' at The American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research on June 22, 2016 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Allison Shelley/Getty Images)
PHOTO: Allison Shelley/Getty Images North America/Getty Images
Now playing
01:23
Hear Sandberg downplay Facebook's role in the Capitol riots
screengrab US social media
screengrab US social media
PHOTO: Getty Images
Now playing
04:35
Tech companies ban Trump, but not other problematic leaders
PHOTO: Samsung
Now playing
01:53
See Samsung's new Galaxy S21 lineup
PHOTO: CNN
Now playing
02:47
Extremists and conspiracy theorists search for new platforms online
This illustration picture shows the social media website from Parler displayed on a computer screen in Arlington, Virginia on July 2, 2020. - Amid rising turmoil in social media, recently formed social network Parler is gaining with prominent political conservatives who claim their voices are being silenced by Silicon Valley giants. Parler, founded in Nevada in 2018, bills itself as an alternative to "ideological suppression" at other social networks. (Photo by Olivier Douliery/AFP/Getty Images)
This illustration picture shows the social media website from Parler displayed on a computer screen in Arlington, Virginia on July 2, 2020. - Amid rising turmoil in social media, recently formed social network Parler is gaining with prominent political conservatives who claim their voices are being silenced by Silicon Valley giants. Parler, founded in Nevada in 2018, bills itself as an alternative to "ideological suppression" at other social networks. (Photo by Olivier Douliery/AFP/Getty Images)
PHOTO: Olivier Douliery/AFP/Getty Images
Now playing
03:49
Parler sues Amazon in response to being deplatformed
PHOTO: Twitter
Now playing
02:39
Twitter permanently suspends Donald Trump from platform
Panasonic
Panasonic's Augmented Reality Heads-up Display
PHOTO: Panasonic USA
Now playing
01:06
This tech gives drivers directions on the road in front of them
PHOTO: LG Display
Now playing
01:10
See LG's transparent TV
PHOTO: Twitter/@gregdoesthings
Now playing
02:06
Internet gets creative with empty iPhone boxes
NEW YORK, NY - JUNE 3: The Google logo adorns the outside of their NYC office Google Building 8510 at 85 10th Ave on June 3, 2019 in New York City. Shares of Google parent company Alphabet were down over six percent on Monday, following news reports that the U.S. Department of Justice is preparing to launch an anti-trust investigation aimed at Google. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - JUNE 3: The Google logo adorns the outside of their NYC office Google Building 8510 at 85 10th Ave on June 3, 2019 in New York City. Shares of Google parent company Alphabet were down over six percent on Monday, following news reports that the U.S. Department of Justice is preparing to launch an anti-trust investigation aimed at Google. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
PHOTO: Drew Angerer/Getty Images North America/Getty Images
Now playing
03:25
Google employee on unionizing: Google can't fire us all
Now playing
02:01
Watch 'deepfake' Queen deliver alternative Christmas speech
Now playing
01:42
Watch father leave daughter dozens of surprise Ring messages
PHOTO: Photo Illustration: Kena Betancur/Getty Images
Now playing
04:50
Zoom's founder says he 'let down' customers. Here's why
Now playing
00:48
See Walmart's self-driving delivery trucks in action
Now playing
01:25
This robotaxi from Amazon's Zoox has no reverse function
(CNN Business) —  

In a move that could shake up the internet, private equity firm Ethos Capital is buying the company that owns every .org domain on the web.

Ethos, which was founded in May 2019, is expected to close its deal to acquire the Public Interest Registry (PIR) during the first quarter of 2020. The sale price has not been released.

Now, nonprofits, which make up the majority of the .org domains, are panicking about the purchase, scampering to sign a petition spearheaded by the National Council of Nonprofits that calls for blocking the deal.

There are currently some 10 million .org domains on the internet. The petition against the sale has 8,900 signatures and counting, including organizations such as the Girl Scouts of America and YMCA.

The petition signers are worried that this purchase could come with increases in domain prices and censorship, according to SaveDotOrg, a website run by NTEN, a community of nonprofit tech professionals.

“The concern is not just about this purchase,” Rick Cohen, Chief Operating Officer at the National Council of Nonprofits, said in an interview with CNN Business. “It is about this purchase, coupled with the removal of pricing caps that have protected nonprofits from exorbitant price increases on the .org domains they rely upon.”

PIR was created in 2002 by the Internet Society, a nonprofit that provides leadership in internet-related standards, education, access and policy. The idea was to assign one specific organization to manage the top-level .org domain.

The firm’s founder and CEO Erik Brooks said nonprofits shouldn’t be concerned about big changes.

“Our motivation and intention is to grow and build this business for all stakeholders’ benefits,” Brooks told CNN Business, emphasizing that nonprofits have “nothing to worry about” regarding domain price increases.

“I totally empathize and understand the fear that the valid voices are expressing,” he added. “The narrative has been hijacked a little bit.”

This would not be the first time the .org domain was owned by a for-profit company. Verisign owned the Public Interest Registry from 1995 to 2003.

But this latest move brings concern for good reason: Ethos has only been in business for six months, and PIR is one of the firm’s first investments.

Brooks previously worked at Abry Partners, where he invested in a domain registry called Donuts.

Nevett said Ethos wasn’t its only suitor but was the best fit. He said, “I think it’s a win for the Internet Society, and it’s a win for PIR and its customers because we’ll have more flexibility to invest in growth.”

The current price of a .org domain is approximately $10 per year. A statement from the Internet Society states that Ethos plans on keeping the .org domain accessible and reasonably priced, but the price could increase it up to about 10% annually.

“If you have one domain, and the domain cost goes up by $1, it’s not a big deal, obviously,” said Nevett.

But he added it’s a bigger hit for “domainers,” or people who own website domains as an investment. “If you have 50,000 domains and you’re sitting on them, then that is a bigger hit to your annual costs,” Nevett said.

Although it’s not a done deal, the sale will likely go through – that is, unless, ICANN (Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers) steps in. It’s not looking likely since The Internet Society already approved the deal with Ethos Capital. The sale is expected to finalize in January.

Correction: A previous version of this story misstated Ethos Capital's assets and for how long the CEOs of Ethos and PIR had been discussing the sale.