back to article Nominet refuses to consider complaint about its own behaviour, claims CEO didn’t mean what he said on camera

The operator of the .uk registry has descended into a farce after refusing to accept a complaint from one of its members – and claiming its CEO didn’t mean what he is recorded on camera saying. At its annual general meeting last week, Nominet sparked outrage when it killed off its only means of independent communication – a …

  1. Shadow Systems

    At what point do you pull the plug?

    At what point does the government freeze the personal assetts of all the C-level execs, issue warrants for their arrests, & haul them in on charges of criminal acts?

    Arrest all those execs, redistribute the money back into the corporate coffers, & issue a command that any further asshattery by the corporation will result in it being nationalized to ensure it actually does what it's supposed to do.

    You took tax payer money to run the corp. You've run it into the ground while paying yourselves millions. Enough is enough. Say hello to your cellmate. I hope the other prisoners were personally harmed by your actions & decide to exact a bit of righteous retribution on your sorry arses.

    Now if you'll pardon me I'm off to go refill my dried frog pills so I can stop frothing like a rabbid Leprechaun...

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: freeze the personal assetts of all the C-level execs, issue warrants for their arrests

      more like: meet for lunch, confirm full support from the very top, mention that vacant post and a jolly good candidate, carry on and nothing to see here.

    2. Paul Crawford Silver badge

      Re: At what point do you pull the plug?

      Or, given they are a monopoly on UK domains, decide what is needed is real competition and allow others to operate independently and see how that goes?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: At what point do you pull the plug?

        That's the thing - to allow competition, and to break monopolies, the domain registering systems generally were changed, separating the people who sell domains from the people that technically run it, it a neutral non-profit manner.

        The whole system as it exists is meant to stop monopolies.

        If nominets role itself becomes demonopolised, then it and the new competition will need to feed into a single parent.... And when that parent goes rogue?... Turtles all the way down!

        Simply, nominets (or better still, their replacement) need to be made to do the job they were originally tasked with. A non-profit, neutral company, that runs the infrastructure, and nothing else.

        Its just the same as PIR trying to sell off .org but at least that was blocked. .uk is effectively being run like .org would have been if the sale had gone through.

        1. Yes Me Silver badge
          Flame

          Re: At what point do you pull the plug?

          "Its just the same as PIR trying to sell off .org but at least that was blocked."

          No, it isn't. It may be hard for Kieren's fans to believe, but .org was always going to be operated under constraints placed by Kieren's arch-fiend known as ICANN. The .org registrants wouldn't have noticed much difference.

          The .uk situation is completely different because the ultimate authority is the UK government. We'd be much better off with the registry run by civil servants than the corporate animal that is Nominet. It's being going downhill for years and now it seems to have reached rock bottom: not fit for purpose.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: At what point do you pull the plug?

        There can only be one registry for .uk or any other domain name for that matter. Please explain how independently operating registries would work. For bonus points, explain how they'd compete with each other. Maybe you imagine one registry could run things on Monday, another does so on Tuesday, etc.

        1. Gordon 10 Silver badge
          FAIL

          Re: At what point do you pull the plug?

          OMG its almost as if domain registration details could be stored in some kind of shared repository (lets call it a database) with multiple user access typre (lets call them roles) and each user (lets call them a registrar) can only update the records they own. Add in a process that allows transfer of the domain names via consent of the domain owner, and a mechanism for publication to the DNS's on a regular basis, and bobs your fathers brother.

          Pure fiction obviously. We'll have to wait around for years until the necessary technology is invented.

          WAIT A MINUTE......

          Bag of fail commentard. Get off your horse and drink your milk.

    3. Cuddles Silver badge

      Re: At what point do you pull the plug?

      "At what point does the government freeze the personal assetts of all the C-level execs, issue warrants for their arrests, & haul them in on charges of criminal acts?"

      When the brown envelopes stop arriving.

    4. This post has been deleted by its author

      1. DishonestQuill

        Re: At what point do you pull the plug?

        So long as he hallucinates he's sane does it matter?

        1. Shadow Systems

          Re: At what point do you pull the plug?

          At DishonestQuill, have a pint & enjoy!

          I've been perfecting my "Temporary Insanity" defense since 1Million BC! =-D

          *Wanders off naked, painted neon plaid, squeazing a set of bagpipes between my knees, twerking merrily, & playing an excrutiatingly bad version of "The monkey chased the weasel" for all I'm worth*

    5. ForthIsNotDead

      Re: At what point do you pull the plug?

      Pull the plug? Pull the other one! They'll be asking for a space at the trough!

    6. jason_derp Bronze badge

      Re: At what point do you pull the plug?

      "At what point does the government freeze the personal assetts of all the C-level execs, issue warrants for their arrests, & haul them in on charges of criminal acts?"

      I thought I was the only guy who posted while high. People have been asking that for decades now. If past performance is an indicator of future results, never.

    7. Pascal Monett Silver badge
      Unhappy

      Re: At what point do you pull the plug?

      If you compare with ICANN, you don't pull the plug and you don't arrest anyone.

      Very disheartening.

    8. Justin Clements

      Re: At what point do you pull the plug?

      Nominet is and always has been afraid of the Department of Trade and Industry.

      If you want to screw Nominet, and I highly recommend this course of action, then contact your MP and ask him why a critical piece of the UK online infrastructure is under the control of a private company, and not by HMG. Ask him why the CEO of this company is being paid £600k per annum.

  2. don't you hate it when you lose your account Silver badge

    Banana Republic

    Has all the hallmarks, time to close it down methinks

    1. TimMaher Silver badge
      Facepalm

      Re: Banana Republic

      I misread that to start with.

      I thought you were referring to the Banana Republic Exit.

      Anyway, as I have boringly said before, this should be run by a small and very bored, slightly underpaid, nine to five, civil service department. Or the ICO or somebody.

  3. Whitter
    Boffin

    Clearly out of control

    But what mechanism exists to fix it?

    1. Gordon 10 Silver badge

      Re: Clearly out of control

      This is the key question. The Asshats appear to be in control - how do you throw them out?

      1. Natalie Gritpants Jr Silver badge

        Re: Clearly out of control

        Maybe if the members stop paying?

        1. This post has been deleted by its author

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Clearly out of control

        Who owns ".uk"? It's not like some vanity new top-level domain.

        Isn't it owned by the country, and therefore the government is responsible?

        Can't any non-corrupt government simply take it away, hand it to JANET, or similar?

        Nominet can then continue to exist for as long as they can, just serving .wales until Wales jumps ship too!

        1. Jonathon Green

          Re: Clearly out of control

          But why would they do that? Nominees actions seem entirely within the norms for companies conducting business with, for, on behalf of the current government, c.f ferry companies with no ships....

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Clearly out of control

          A non-corrupt government? Let me know when you find one. The UK's government is certainly not one in my opinion. Here's a couple of examples of dodgy dealings:

          Giving a contract for face masks to a company that doesn't have any healthcare experience

          and the best one, giving a contract for a shipping contract to a company that doesn't even have any ships!

        3. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Clearly out of control

          Domain names are not property. Even though people think they are because they can be bought and sold. That means nobody owns .uk. It's not owned by the country either.

          Any UK government (corrupt or not) can take .uk away from Nominet and give it to somebody else to run. It can do that and more for any UK-based domain registry. Study clauses 19-21 of the 2010 Digital Economy Act.

          It's a whole lot easier to say this than actually do it. How is the new registry chosen? How is it governed and funded? How is the migration done? What goes in the new registry's contract for running .uk? Who oversees its contracts with registrars and registrants? How is registry policy made and changed? How is the board selected?

    2. Peter Prof Fox

      Re: Clearly out of control

      Company Law. Here I would expect that disgruntled members could ask a court to rule that the directors are not running the company properly. eg. In their personal interests to the disadvantage of the complaining members. ISTR A limited company has to make the register of shareholders an openly accessible document.

      In short, change from within unless there is financial maladministration bordering on fraud. There should be significant auditing requirements but many people question the willingness of auditors to blow the whistle, and there's many cases where auditors have connived at burying bodies.

      1. Jonathan Richards 1 Silver badge
        Go

        Re: Clearly out of control

        > ISTR A limited company has to make the register of shareholders an openly accessible document.

        I don't know about shareholder transparency, but the publicly filed documents are available here at Companies House for the five companies that have 'Nominet' in their names, and the two that used to, including the charitable trust, which is now the Social Tech Trust, and is still marked as Active. Note that this service, find-and-update.company-information.service.gov.uk is the successor to beta.companieshouse.gov.uk. URL inflation is real!

        1. Jonathan Richards 1 Silver badge

          Re: Clearly out of control

          Self-reply just to say that the active personal-corporate relationships within and between the companies are captured in a graph here, (PDF, link). The Graphviz source code is alongside it, here (plain text).

          There may be interesting details in the resigned appointments, but I've run out of time!

        2. cipnt

          Re: Clearly out of control

          That's a looooooong url

    3. Halfmad

      Re: Clearly out of control

      They have reset the communications with everyone so that's OK then?

      That communication will now be one way and F you if you don't like it.

      Don't bother complaining as we have an excellent 100% track records of handling complaints we accept.

  4. A Non e-mouse Silver badge

    Power corrupts.

  5. jake Silver badge

    Has anyone who makes a habit of claiming "fake news" ...

    ... ever been proven to be anything but a congenital liar?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Has anyone who makes a habit of claiming "fake news" ...

      Spot on!

      It's such a dumb phrase too. It's like one of those "safe phrases" that cult members are taught to help stop them being deprogrammed.

      Anyone using it without irony is basically saying "I'm shutting down because I can't think critically"

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Don't let me be misunderstood

    Let me be perfectly clear. You seem to have taken the meaning of the sounds that came out of my mouth as words that I uttered with the intent of communicating in a sense that is contrary to who I am and the thoughts that I want you to think I was thinking at the time when in fact it was actually quite the opposite. I apologise for any lack of misunderstanding this may have caused.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Heres to our next incompetent head of govt dept coming soon, lets put him in charge of NHS IT, when dildo roars off to lead HMRC's IT salvation from her "success" with track and trace

    Lets all look forward to the great post brexit technoconomy bringing the world the next fucking geocites or myspace, then get shafted to last place due to innovative tech being nabbed/copied/implemented into a platform which monetises better...

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Failure to fail

      What with Grayling, Gove, Harding and Williamson (what's the opposite of a supergroup?), this government can't even create a single standard metric for failure. We are well and truly Borised.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Failure to fail

        We're DomBo'ed!

      2. nematoad Silver badge

        Re: Failure to fail

        "(what's the opposite of a supergroup?)"

        The Cabinet?

      3. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: Failure to fail

        "We are well and truly Borised."

        That's what Cummings wants you to think.

      4. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Failure to fail

        Thumb down? Is Dominic Cummings lurking, perhaps for some hints on correcting the tendency of his data science clique to be a few rows short of a spreadsheet?

      5. chuBb. Silver badge

        Re: Failure to fail

        Opposite of a supergroup? a subdisperse?

      6. jake Silver badge

        Re: Failure to fail

        "what's the opposite of a supergroup?"

        A one-hit wonder?

  8. davenewman

    Complain to charity commission

    As Nominet is set up as a charity, complain to the Charity Commission.

    1. Jonathan Richards 1 Silver badge

      Re: Complain to charity commission

      None of the Nominet companies (see my earlier post with link to Companies House) is a charity. They're all Private Limited Companies of one sort or another.

      1. Roland6 Silver badge

        Re: Complain to charity commission

        However, to throw off the charitable trust status would seem to indicate that they once were a charity, which raises the question whether this process was correctly conducted, if not it can be rendered null and void...

  9. Tom 38 Silver badge

    All these bodies have been corrupted by corporate filth. They should go back to being run by a cabal¹ of well meaning computer science academics. They can get a 20k annual stipend for 10% of their time (and delegate any admin/investigative work to staff), and serve for a maximum of 8 years.Regulators being run by the industry that they regulate is just ridiculous.

    ¹. Collective nouns for comp sci lecturers? Discuss: horde, posse, gaggle, stack, FIFO

    1. TimMaher Silver badge
      Pint

      Better than my version @Tom

      I worked on the “just use civil service admins.” approach but I think your solution is better.

      Collective noun? How about a “buggery”?

    2. jake Silver badge

      First of all ...

      ... TINC, as any fule no.

      Secondly, the actual collective noun you were looking for is faculty, but I think cluster would work better.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Yeah. Put some critical national infrastructure in the hands of a bunch of part-time tofu slurping tree-hugging sandal-wearing Guardian readers who barely have the skills to run a bath. What could possibly go wrong?

      There are lots of reasons why most domain name registries moved out from academia 30+ years ago. They could no longer be in the hands of well meaning amateurs (in the best sense of that word).

  10. DJV Silver badge
    Thumb Up

    Go, El Reg!

    I'd just like to say a big thank you to Kieren McCarthy and all the other El Reg staff who are not letting up on this. Keep screwing down on these Nominet idiots who are far too big for their boots and need a severe cutting down to size.

    1. cipnt

      Re: Go, El Reg!

      Hear hear! This isn't the sexiest of news headlines but thanks to El Reg for keep on pursuing this

  11. heyrick Silver badge

    a more constructive and positive experience for both Nominet members and staff

    Easy solution.

    Resign.

    You, Haworth, Wood, and Wenban-Smith are the problem.

  12. RM Myers Silver badge
    FAIL

    Haworth receiving a 30 per cent pay rise last year to £593,000

    Where do we sign up? Running a nonprofit seems to be very profitable, although you might need a nose clip to keep the stench out.

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Let’s not forget the Lyons Report....

    ... which the board commissioned and then chose to ignore most of it...

    https://media.nominet.uk/wp-content/uploads/2016/02/Sir-Michael-Lyons-Report-2016.pdf

  14. Booh

    I can almost hear the Panorama theme music...

  15. Big_Boomer Silver badge

    Not Fit For Purpose

    It seems that corruption and self-serving has become the new norm in our "modern society". I was brought up to treat others as I would expect to be treated, but it seems to me that a great many people have been brought up to believe that they can do whatever they want with impunity. I probably shouldn't be surprised that these sociopaths end up in top management/government positions as the whole mind-set of modern management seems to be one of climbing over the bodies of those you have cut down to get to the top. Yes, some get ahead by being good at what they do and are to be admired (but NEVER worshiped!), but you just have to look at governments and companies around the world to see eye watering levels of incompetence and greed at the top of many of them. The whole idea of serving their electorate/customers has given way to simply milking every last penny of personal/corporate profit out of their increasingly hostile electorate/customers.

  16. Tristan Da Cunha

    Years ago, a Nominet letter got attention; Today all you think is "What are they hawking now?"

    The slur on academics is misplaced. Many many years ago I registered my employer's network with the InterNIC, sending papers off to SRI and then waiting for weeks for a response. Back then, you did have questions to answer. The sole criterion wasn't simply the cash to pay the registration fee. Later, when I started a company, I contacted others that might be unhappy with me registering a domain too close to their name or domain. Only then did I register our pre-Nominet domain name. Months previously, I registered a company (using an agent that sent me a list of similar names so I could avoid a clash). Beyond the duty to file, I don't have much to do with Companies House and, in particular, a company name of decades standing.

    Naively, I thought that was that. The cyber equivalent of quantitative easing -- the creation of yet more namespaces -- is simply a headache. Commercially and technically it's just more cost and work respectively. But to brand and identity, it's a migraine as you're effectively "forced" to register it to protect yourself from trading passers-off and IP asset speculators. There *is* regulation over names that are so egregiously chosen as likely to cause confusion. The way in which Nominet has operated has created conflicts of interest and has compromised perhaps the key public good that it was established to deliver; that of stability and integrity of an electronic directory or businesses and other organisations. (D7. of the Report articulates similar purposes).

    Of course scale meant that the system had to made less manually-intensive. That's not the same as saying it had to be taken out of the hands of well-meaning academics. And of course domain names were always going to be hot property. Collectively we've been there before with the likes of desirable and designer registration plates and gold phone numbers. But the froth of those "markets" on top of rules-based work-a-day plate and number administration is small.

    One of the lessons that the 2008 financial crash taught us was that much of banking really ought to have been boring; less creative and innovative -- or at least less designed to make waves. Then we'd have had no need for quantitative easing.

    Nominet's costs ought to have fallen. Providing it can generate sufficient revenue from renewals and from new registrations to be self-sustaining, isn't it a sufficient return, that it does it's core job well? The whipping-up of a market yes, that would have inevitably developed, into a veritable domain *industry* seems only to have benefited the participants in that industry -- not the wider public nor Joe Blogs Ltd. The focus of Nominet is too insular, and the relationship with its members to incestuous for public good to result.

    1. heyrick Silver badge
      Pint

      Re: Years ago, a Nominet letter got attention; Today all you think is "What are they hawking now?"

      Wish I could upvote this more than once.

      In lieu of multiple ups, have a cold one.

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