back to article With a million unwanted .uk domains expiring this week, Nominet again sends punters pushy emails to pay up

Nominet is at it again: the .uk registry operator has emailed owners of .co.uk domain names to panic them into renewing .uk domains they never wanted in the first place. Despite being caught in June pushing for the renewal of domain names that were foisted on netizens, the company that oversees the UK’s top-level domain has …

  1. sanwin

    Five Nominet emails yesterday - all ignored.

    Looking at them it is easy to see how busy people could make the mistake of paying up after misreading the content.

    1. Anonymous Coward Silver badge
      Stop

      We've had dozens so far, and they've only got as far as the 'e's

      1. IGotOut Silver badge
        Coat

        But E's are good, E's are good.

        1. Symon Silver badge
          Childcatcher

          Plymouth Argyle fans about 20 years ago:-

          "He's a cunt, he's a cunt. The referee's a cunt."

          Abuse of the officials shouldn't be tolerated. Shamen on them.

        2. David 132 Silver badge
          Happy

          Naughty, naughty, verrry naughty...

        3. Martin-73 Silver badge

          You are a Bastard. A capital B Bastard. (this is a compliment). Now i am watching the video on youtube. And it will be in my mind for weeks.

          Well played

    2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      How about forwarding them to report@phishing.gov.uk

  2. nematoad Silver badge
    FAIL

    Competence? We've heard of it.

    Well if Nominet is that incompetent and has to turn to what almost amounts to fraud in order to keep the lights on, then it may well be time for the government to take it out the back of the barn and shoot it.

    I know that Nominet is supposed to be a non-profit but from what I can gather they have been taking that a bit too far. Still, I suppose that could be one metric that the board could use to justify their pay awards. "Look, we really are running as a non-profit organisation. Look at all the losses we have!"

    1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge
      Happy

      Re: Competence? We've heard of it.

      Oooh, good point. So Uber are also a not-for-profit enterprise then...

    2. Warm Braw Silver badge

      Re: Competence? We've heard of it.

      When Nominet was first created it was a paragon of rectitude in an otherwise lawless landscape.

      While its moral decline is regrettable, I can't help be amused that the current "business" regime have a licence to print money and yet can't make that work for them.

      Classic case of their eyes being bigger than their stomach.

      1. katrinab Silver badge
        Flame

        Re: Competence? We've heard of it.

        It was a licence to print money during the dot.com 1.0 bubble, but that popped just over 20 years ago. Normal people don't use domain names, they fire up Edge, use Bing to locate and download Google Chrome, then type the name of what they are looking for as a Google search query.

      2. sitta_europea

        Re: Competence? We've heard of it.

        "When Nominet was first created it was a paragon of rectitude in an otherwise lawless landscape. ..."

        I have some experience of dealing with Nominet.

        At one time we used to say "Nominuts", but that epithet lost popularity as it gradually became clear that what we thought was incompetence was, in fact, just greed and malice in more or less equal measure.

        1. Commswonk Silver badge

          Re: Competence? We've heard of it.

          ... it gradually became clear that what we thought was incompetence was, in fact, just greed and malice in more or less equal measure.

          Interesting, as this illustrates a clear case where Hanlon's Razor does not apply. I will have to spend some time phrasing Commswonk's Exception correctly. Something like If (a) the internet, and (b) money, are involved then skullduggery is more likely than fuckwittery. Might need a little work to make it more widely palatable.

          1. TRT Silver badge

            Re: Competence? We've heard of it.

            Shouldn't that be dotCompetence? In which case can we interest you in dotUKpetence?

          2. veti Silver badge

            Re: Competence? We've heard of it.

            There is a sliding scale of skulduggery, and Nominet is still only on a fairly low setting. They haven't (yet), for instance, tried to hawk ".bbc.uk" to News International for purposes of discrediting the other party.

            Although that is an obvious next step. I wonder if it will happen?

    3. Alan Brown Silver badge

      Re: Competence? We've heard of it.

      "it may well be time for the government to take it out the back of the barn and shoot it."

      Yes - and Nominet seems to have forgotten that it IS the UK government that owns .uk when push comes to shove in a court of law

      Time for the DTI and or Competition and Markets authority to intervene?

      1. Smooth Newt Silver badge
        Coat

        Re: Competence? We've heard of it.

        Time for the DTI and or Competition and Markets authority to intervene?

        It is probably moot, since I don't suppose the Government cares in the slightest about reforming Nominet, but the Department for Trade and Industry no longer exists.

        They were replaced by the Department for Innovation, Universities and Skills, and the Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform in 2007.

        Don't feel bad - I don't think anyone else noticed either.

        1. Flocke Kroes Silver badge

          Re: Competence? We've heard of it.

          I noticed a part of this a few years ago. Instead of a few politicians with powerful departments there were many politicians with their own department, each with overlapping responsibilities. On the plus side, none of them can do anything without the agreement of at least three others. That might reduce the amount of damage any one of them can do. The down side is that each can try really hard to out-stupid the rest and when the train wreck hits the news there will be at least three others they can blame.

          1. Smooth Newt Silver badge
            Happy

            Re: Competence? We've heard of it.

            I noticed a part of this a few years ago. Instead of a few politicians with powerful departments there were many politicians with their own department, each with overlapping responsibilities.

            Generally speaking, the Government likes having lots of ministerial departments. This is particularly true if they have a small parliamentary majority like the last few governments had. This is because each ministry needs some ministers. And each of those ministers gets a very respectable salary for the part-time job and other perks like civil servants to fawn over them, a nice office, a Government car with a driver etc.

            What they do with all that is mostly irrelevant to the proceedings, because the great benefit is that someone in a ministerial billet is unlikely to rock the boat in any way, since they risk being sacked and losing all these things.

        2. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge

          Re: Competence? We've heard of it.

          "Department for Trade and Industry no longer exists."

          Which used to be known as the "Department of Timidity and Inaction" in Private Eye

          https://publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm200506/cmhansrd/vo050519/debtext/50519-10.htm

      2. Dave559 Bronze badge

        Time for the DTI and/or Competition and Markets authority to intervene?

        Yes, all of us reading here are, shall we say, somewhat miffed that what used to be a reasonable and efficient domain authority has gradually turned into a rather murky quagmire that seems more interested in lining its own pockets, but we are only us, and not the wider population. Presumably hardly anyone else is really aware of this, which is why it can far too easily continue?

        If The Register really wants to make a name for itself in campaigning journalism, why don't you prepare a dossier of the dodginess and present it to appropriate MPs who could be persuaded to take an interest?

        (I realise that also requires finding non-dodgy MPs, but there are at least a few, thankfully.)

  3. Andy Non Silver badge
    Unhappy

    I feel left out

    I won't be getting any emails from Nominet despite letting my .UK domain lapse. I recently updated several of my email addresses and went through my list of people/organisations to update. Discovered that the email address Nominet have for me is 15 years out of date! Apparently I can't update it either as my domains are held by 123-reg and it is up to them to update Nominet - a process that apparently is supposed to be automatic. Seems like someone has dropped the ball. Can't help wondering (.UK domain issue aside) if Nominet ever has any legitimate reason to try to contact me directly?

    1. Roland6 Silver badge

      Re: I feel left out

      >Apparently I can't update it either as my domains are held by 123-reg and it is up to them to update Nominet - a process that apparently is supposed to be automatic.

      No, the process isn't totally automatic, 123-reg as a result of GDPR don't automatically pass what could be PII data to Nominet. You need to call 123-Reg and ask them explicitly to remove the privacy flag from your 123-reg registration records to enable the automatic data exchange with Nominet, then wait a few hours.

      Don't remember seeing it documented on 123-Reg website, but Nominet UK support told me what the problem was when I encountered it last year.

      1. Andy Non Silver badge

        Re: I feel left out

        Thanks for the info. Do you know if removing the privacy flag is global though, i.e. so anyone can have access to my contact info or just Nominet?

      2. Mike 137 Silver badge

        Re: I feel left out

        "123-reg as a result of GDPR don't automatically pass what could be PII data to Nominet."

        As a result of yet another cock-eyed misinterpretation of the GDPR. Relying once again (erroneously) on consent as the lawful basis where legitimate interest (or quite possibly contractual necessity) would be entirely appropriate.

        One day someone will actually read the GDPR before attempting to "comply" with it.

        1. DavCrav Silver badge

          Re: I feel left out

          "One day someone will actually read the GDPR before attempting to "comply" with it."

          It turns out that, since the sky didn't fall in when Nominet didn't get the updated e-mail address, perhaps it isn't necessary and they don't actually have a legitimate interest?

          1. Andy Non Silver badge

            Re: I feel left out

            Fair point

        2. Roland6 Silver badge

          Re: I feel left out

          >As a result of yet another cock-eyed misinterpretation of the GDPR

          Remember all the fuss about WhoIs determining what registrations were and weren't personal and the policies put out by Nominet about their hoovering up of PII that wasn't compliant with GDPR, so many ISPs simply withheld PII from Nominet...

          @Andy Non

          Do you know if removing the privacy flag is global though, i.e. so anyone can have access to my contact info or just Nominet?

          No this flag only affects what gets sent to Nominet.

          Obviously, once the new email address in 123-Reg has been around for a few hours, you'll then be able to create a new Nominet account using this email address and set up a few contact fields that aren't available via the 123-reg console.

          1. Andy Non Silver badge

            Re: I feel left out

            Thanks. :-)

          2. herman Silver badge

            Re: I feel left out

            "Obviously, once the new email address in 123-Reg has been around for a few milliseconds, you'll then get a flood of spam, which will alert you that the Nominet data was updated" - TFIFY.

  4. Mike Pellatt

    Nominet used to be a shining light above the cesspit of the domain registry business.

    Not any more. It's a tragedy.

  5. Julz Silver badge

    But

    The person targeted with increasing the number of registrations held by Nominet a few years ago got their bonus, so what's the problem?

    1. Pascal Monett Silver badge

      Re: But

      The problem is that the person wants another bonus.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        The problem is that the person wants another bonus

        No problem - if it can be negative.

  6. Pascal Monett Silver badge
    Facepalm

    "Nominet has been run by former acquisitions and ventures specialist"

    Now I get it. Somehow this bottom-feeder with large amounts of cash saw fit to weasel his way into the Board and is now calling the shots as if he was running a capitalist enterprise.

    How did his nomination get approved ? And by who ?

    They have some explaining to do.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @"They have some explaining to do."

    such as what proof said person had that anyone wanted anything other than ".co.uk", perhaps this person will be repaying all the money spent on the inept force feeding of ".*.uk" along with the cost of repairing the damage to the reputation of the registrar that their stupidity has done.

    IMHO the board members that supported this have lost any credibility they might once have had and need to step down along with giving up any benefits such as pensions to repay the damage they have done

    1. AndrueC Silver badge
      Meh

      Re: @"They have some explaining to do."

      such as what proof said person had that anyone wanted anything other than ".co.uk

      Actually I like my .me.uk. Just sayin'

      ;)

      1. TRT Silver badge

        Re: @"They have some explaining to do."

        And fc.uk seems to have promise.

        For football clubs of course.

      2. A.P. Veening Silver badge

        Re: @"They have some explaining to do."

        Actually I like my .me.uk. Just sayin'

        Nice one, there even is a language with the word "meuk", with a meaning of valueless stuff but not quite trash.

    2. General Purpose

      Re: @"They have some explaining to do."

      We don't only want .co.uk. For example, there are loads of .org.uk domains, because of a general impression that .co implies not just a company, but a commercial operation. Likewise, .ac.uk clearly and usefully identifies a very specific sector. Also, even if you'd like to see the government abolished at some point, for the time being .gov.uk mainly hosts legitimate scams.

      1. 759b954e-617b-408b-a2b1-f5a42c3688d4
        Thumb Up

        Legitimate scams

        I see what you did there.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    There's something gone wrong with your system

    there's nothing new about that, they must have taken a leaf from godaddy. I got such a ridiculous email several years ago, and I panicked for a moment. Next moment I was very, very angry, and this was my lightbulb moment (they're not a cuddly domain provider as they made me believe, lol). But I was still stupid enough and got involved in a pointless e-mail exchange with their support about this (it was those prehistoric times when you could email and get a response, even though it was already pointless). From then on, I treat them as they deserve, ignore their junk mails about "urgent action required! Domain about to expire!" and renew a day before expiry or so.

  9. Valeyard

    racketeering

    "hey we invented a new way of someone to impersonate your company, it'd be a real shame if that domain was up for sale..."

  10. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

    Just another of those "It seemed like a good idea at the time" marketing initiatives.

    1. Vometia Munro

      ...which unfortunately coincided with senior management likewise thinking that marketing's good idea at the time sounded like a good idea at the time.

      Yeah I'm bitter: I used to work at DEC.

  11. Oliver Humpage

    Amusement

    Yes, but without the .uk domains, you couldn't have amusing domains like http://icouldntgiveaf.uk/

  12. To Mars in Man Bras!
    WTF?

    Speaking of UK Domains...

    When did El Reg drop the .co.uk and redirect to .com?

    1. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge

      Re: Speaking of UK Domains...

      Beginning of June?

  13. Version 1.0 Silver badge
    Unhappy

    .uk websites are rarely updated

    I guess they have very few visitors - go look at https://brexit.uk - it says that "UK set for general election on 12th December" ... this basically tells you that nobody really cares about .uk domains now.

    1. General Purpose
      Facepalm

      Re: .uk websites are rarely updated

      "UK set for general election on 12th December"

      Not another one?

  14. Giles C Bronze badge

    Had one for every domain I hold in the last couple of weeks.

    All ignored, admittedly it is only 5 I am glad I am not on the list where I used to work, they had 20000+ and that was 3 years ago....

  15. AndrueC Silver badge
    Stop

    I have a .me.uk registered. Does this mean I should expect a begging/warning/threatening email from Nominet when they eventually realise that businesses don't care?

    Back when I registered my domain .me.uk was actually more expensive than .co.uk and I could never decide if that was funny or stupid.

  16. Loud Speaker

    They were replaced by the Department for Innovation, Universities and Skills, and the Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform in 2007.

    Are they also responsible for silly walks?

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Where's the .fu when you need it

    That might have had a more significant uptake, or .shakedown

  18. LeahroyNake Silver badge

    Gotta laugh

    I am the admin of my company.co.uk address amongst a few others. I tried over the course of a month to get the .UK version with no success.

    Contacting Nominet is an exercise in futility unless you want to pay for arbitration or God forbib appeal a decision. My pockets are not deep enough.

  19. Infi 1

    Received the email,

    Read the first line that said .uk.

    Deleted the email.

  20. irg

    Dear Nominet...

    The whole TLD exercise has proven fruitless. Please just end new top-level .uk registrations, and only permit renewals.

    Failing that, merge all the co,me&org .uk domain registries with the TLD, so that a single purchase buys&renews access to the four UK domains.

    Either way, stop trying to sell us the same shit twice. There is practically no-one buying or using the TLD, and everyone was happy with the subdomain setup already

    1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: Dear Nominet...

      "Failing that, merge all the co,me&org .uk domain registries with the TLD, so that a single purchase buys&renews access to the four UK domains."

      Sounds like a good move for the cybersquatting business. I have a geographically-based .org.uk address registered with no fuss. I have no interest at all in any of the others. The .co.uk is being squatted by someone who probably registered as many of the unclaimed contents as possible from a gazetteer and has been for some time. Anyone who wants that is going to have to come up with whatever he wants to charge.

    2. SImon Hobson Silver badge
      FAIL

      Re: Dear Nominet...

      merge all the co,me&org .uk domain registries with the TLD, so that a single purchase buys&renews access to the four UK domains

      And what about all those where there are DIFFERENT organisations/people with the same name part ? I know someone with a .org.uk who could not get the .uk because it was reserved for the "owner" of the .co.uk domain - who never registered it. When the 5 year period expired, it got snapped up by a squatter.

      So much for "holders of existing domains will get preferential access" promise made all those years ago. If I wrote what I thought, the post would be deleted for breaking the house rules on profanity. A pox on all their houses.

  21. Richard Boyce

    When you have to avoid a profit...

    ... it's perhaps time for a bit of Hollywood accounting. Any enterprise can divert money away from the bottom line to other places, if required.

  22. 759b954e-617b-408b-a2b1-f5a42c3688d4
    Thumb Down

    This kind of pathetic drama

    is why I ditched my UK domains over a year ago.

  23. Neil Barnes Silver badge

    I am pleased to note

    that the reason I have received no begging emails from nominet is that my registrar had the good sense not to register .uk domains for me in the first place.

    1. Fonant
      Thumb Up

      Re: I am pleased to note

      Ditto. Mythic Beasts, thank you, again!

  24. A K Stiles Silver badge

    *.uk domains

    I personally own 6 domains - 2. .co.uk, 2 .org.uk and 2 .uk, but they were all registered for different purposes and they are spread variously across 4 different 'names'. I was also given the 2 .uk ones for the 2 .co.uk domains and had the subsequent shakedown emails in 2019, after which they have merrily expired, so, to my knowledge there won't be any more emails this time, though I wait to see.

  25. robzlondon

    I like .uk ;)

    Bucking the trend here but I prefer .UK over co.uk because 1) my sites are not commercial, and 2) its shorter/snappier.

    I'm actually letting my .co.uk domains expire LOL (currently my co.uk's redirect to .uk), I wonder if I might regret that once the porn/cbd domain squatters take them over...

  26. FlippingGerman

    Moneymaking

    As others have mentioned it's baffling (or not) that they've taken the route of trying makes loads of profit, and yet are doing a spectacularly bad job of it, much worse than when they were slightly less evil.

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