back to article Nominet faces showdown with British internet industry: Extraordinary vote called to oust CEO, board members

The UK internet industry has called for the ousting of the CEO and most of the board of Nominet – the organization that operates the .uk registry – accusing them of lining their own pockets at the expense of charitable causes and millions of ordinary Brits. In a formal notice that will be served on the not-for-profit member- …

  1. Shadow Systems Silver badge

    Too little, too late.

    Once the peasants have broken out the torches, pitchforks, & buckets of burning pitch, it's far too late to try & appease them by offering a fig leaf. At this point they'll place it atop your neck just before the headman's axe falls.

    1. trindflo Bronze badge
      Coat

      Re: Too little, too late.

      I'm not sure what you meant.

      An olive branch is the usual proverbial peace offering. A fig leaf sounds like what Haworth was offering was a warm G-string.

      OTOH, you might have meant exactly what you said.

    2. Lon24 Silver badge

      Re: Too little, too late.

      Signing the EGM petition made my morning.

      I remember when our Nominet membership was a cause of joy of a responsible agency dedicated to provide the best service at lowest cost. Bit like the old John Lewis partnership model without the bonus. This contrasted with all the ICANN registrars we are forced to do business with. Profit is not always the best incentive as .org domain owners know too well.

      Seeing Nominet slowly move in that direction under the fig leaf of a public service was galling. My pitchfork was already sharpened.

      1. nematoad Silver badge
        FAIL

        Re: Too little, too late.

        "Power without responsibility - the prerogative of the harlot throughout the ages."

        Stanley Baldwin.

        Yes what is it about the people the likes of Nominet and Icann seem to attract?

        Having read some of the voluminous reporting on the antics of those in charge it seems to me as if failed "entrepreneurs" want to play with the big boys and have decided to gamble with other people's money, but that being the failures they are they keep on doubling down hoping that their luck will change. Then when things start getting a little uncomfortable due to the protests of the members they put their fingers in their ears and pretend that everything is fine.

        These people are corrupt, feel themselves unaccountable and deserve to be thrown out of office as soon as possible. They have a responsibility to the members who they are suppose to serve, but do everything in their power to avoid it just to keep lining their pockets.

        1. DJV Silver badge

          @nematoad

          "These people are corrupt, feel themselves unaccountable and deserve to be thrown out of office as soon as possible."

          Upvoted! I fully agree and that statement sounds like it could also be applied to a certain other bunch of complete bastards whose imbecilic ineptitude has resulted in over 100,000 deaths - I'm sure you can probably work out who I might be talking about...

        2. Al fazed Bronze badge
          FAIL

          Re: Too little, too late.

          Unfortunately, the charitable sector itself was some time back, seen as undeveloped territory for these types of second class manageing directors. There's often plenty of room in the bodies Governing Documents which allows these sharkish folks to ramp up senior staff salaries and even pay professional "volunteers" (who have been "seconded from their specialist industry") out of the income to these public benefit societies.

          That's why I used the term "tape worms".

          AND NOW Totally off topic:

          If you ever used a "charity shop" you may have noticed how, once "inexpensive" second hand" items now display price labels that you'd exopect to see at antiques puveyors, like Bonhams or Southeby's. And the unloved stuffs which should have sold for pennies to enrich some poor persons life, now invariabley stays on the shop shelf until it's landfill time.

          I suppose people like CEO Russell Haworth think this is progress..........

          Alf

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Too little, too late.

            I regret giving some relatively expensive art works to my local charity shop over a period of several weeks. Each time I indicated provenance and minimum market price - assuming they would go for auction on their eBay site.

            I later discovered that each one had been sold to a known dealer within an hour of going on display in the shop. They had accepted the dealer's offers considerably below my indicated minimum marked on each piece. Yet they kept ordinary low-priced items occupying space for months.

            One assistant remarked that other customers who had seen an item go on display were disappointed when they came back to buy it the next day.

            1. yetanotheraoc Silver badge

              Re: Too little, too late.

              Ouch. Thanks for so perfectly explaining the business model. Now I know to avoid such places and go to a genuine charity.

              1. M Mouse

                Re: Too little, too late.

                Over the years I've seen comments from volunteers in a multitude of charity shops explaining that the pricing has had to adapt in recent years, because of there being "entrepreneurs" (to be polite) who bought up goods in the shop and listed them at considerable personal profit on the likes of Ebay, etc.

                No explanation for selling artwork to a dealer, unless they considered that at a higher price they'd likely end up staying on display, for months, and then be purchased at an even lower price, so getting a dealer involved would get them a faster conversion of goods into cash. They're "just" staff, often volunteers, and thus the final income involved is of limited concern to them - not the same as a business owner who may take care to charge a higher price, given the profit would be hers/his.

                1. Anonymous Coward
                  Anonymous Coward

                  Re: Too little, too late.

                  "{...] and thus the final income involved is of limited concern to them

                  An uncharitable thought was that the paid shop manager may have chosen to keep them in the shop - rather than sending them to the charity's ebay operation centre. The sale would then count towards their shop's takings. The amount of admiring interest they attracted from customers within seconds of them going on display suggested they would have no problem selling them.

                  That the known dealer from another town was on hand so quickly each time - suggests collusion to some degree.

        3. Grikath

          Re: Too little, too late.

          "Yes what is it about the people the likes of Nominet and Icann seem to attract?"

          The New Court Nobility.

          Manages vast stretches of Real Estate™, gets there through Connections, can rebuff any criticism or responsibility through the Network, makes sure to line pockets before the next protegé is up for his/her Due's.

      2. LondonTech

        Re: Too little, too late.

        My feelings too. It didn’t take a millisecond to decide to sign the EGM.

    3. HildyJ Silver badge
      Angel

      Re: Too little, too late.

      From all I've read at ElReg, the headman's axe falling on Nominet's head man seems appropriate and overdue.

    4. Pascal Monett Silver badge

      Re: Too little, too late.

      And that axe is far overdue.

      He "welcoms dialogue" ? Hypocrite. If you welcom dialogue, you don't shut down the forum that actually permits dialogue, even if said dialogue is telling you that people are not happy with your decisions.

      I am very gald to see that there is, finally, a way to curb the over-enthusiastic reign of assholes who think they can use any structure to make themselves more money, without any regard to what the structure is supposed to do in the first place.

      Somebody oust the board at ICANN, please.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Too little, too late.

        Somebody oust the board at ICANN, please.

        That may well be a good thing. But it will make fuck all difference to what's happening at Nominet.

      2. EnviableOne Silver badge

        Re: Too little, too late.

        Unfortunatley ICANN's board changed the rules so that this couldnt happen to them.

        Something about the first priority being persistance....

  2. Franco Silver badge

    Not before time. Seeing as we're still waiting for the results of the Autonomy trial I need an excuse to eat popcorn, so looking forward to this one.

    1. Cederic Silver badge

      It's a good year for popcorn if you follow current affairs, but I do agree, not before time.

      I've been disappointed and frustrated that a stable successful registry has become increasingly shit when continuing to provide a simple and straightforward service was so incredibly easy.

      So happy to see this demand for change, even though I have no preference regarding who takes over - as long as they understand the role of a registry and stick to it.

      1. Franco Silver badge

        I meant purely in IT terms, especially as the comments sections of such threads on here are invariably entertaining

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    >When it came to his remuneration, Haworth noted that the board's renumeration committee sets his pay based on a set of skills they believe are needed for the role.

    When that remuneration committee is made up of members selected at the whim of the board on which you control an absolute majority this really isn't the defence you think it is sunshine.

    1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      Not only that but "skills they believe are needed for the role".

      How about the kills he HAS? Do they match up with the role?

      1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Kills? I suppose "skills" was intended but nice Freudian slip.

        1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

          Yeah, just looked back saw, that and thought "bugger, well over the 10 mins edit window" :-)

          Still not used to the new laptop keyboard.

      2. Ben Tasker

        The comittee, set up by the board he rig^H^H^H selected presumably found the skills he has are a perfect match with the requirements of the role that he's helped to "shape"

    2. Lon24 Silver badge

      "When it came to his remuneration, Haworth noted that the board's renumeration committee sets his pay based on a set of skills they believe are needed for the role."

      I guess it's not hard to have over three times the skillset of our PM. But if you do - you would have thought he could have foreseen the rage of the proletariat and not attempted so blatantly to screw them.

      A Nominet member.

      1. nematoad Silver badge

        Ah! it looks, from the downvote that a member of the Nominet board is following this thread. If not, why dislike the plain truth?

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Or perhaps the downvote is because of the irrelevant introduction of national politics into the discussion.

          1. Ben Tasker

            Is the question of whether Boris has any useful skills actually a political question?

            I'd suggest the question of whether he's ill-suited to the challenges of the Prime Minister's role is actually an empirical question.

      2. A.P. Veening Silver badge

        I guess it's not hard to have over three times the skillset of our PM.

        I'd say that is rather hard, given that skillset has a negative value.

    3. hoola Silver badge

      But this appears to be the defacto modus operandi for any large scale organisation that is supposed to be -not-for-profit.

      It is very easy to make something unprofitable if you pay the board a huge wodge and diversify into areas that are completely unrelated to what you are supposed to be doing. I wonder how much of this diversification would stand up to a full audit.

      When I was the treasurer for a small charity the hoops we had to go through to ensure that everything complied and was squeaky clean were horrendous. But, as ever, the larger the organisation the less scrutiny there appears to be.

      Nearly £600k, WTF, just how can you justify that?

      1. ADomainRegistrar

        It's even crazier when you compare it to other UK orgs...

        They work on the US Tech model for salaries, which is how running a monopoly like Nominet turning over 20 Million or so, some how justifies earning about the same as the CEO of the BBC... which I'd argue is responsible for a a hell of a lot more!

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      the board's renumeration committee sets his pay based on a set of skills they believe are needed for the role.

      Exactly. Those skills are trousering large wads of cash and having no shame about doing that.

  4. don't you hate it when you lose your account

    Non profit?

    I'm racking my brain to think of any other NPO that has the power to increase donations at will. You put a pound in the old lady's red cross tin last year and this year she demands an increase. Add a typical self adoring business management structure and you end up with this abomination. Time to burn down the castle.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Non profit?

      "You put a pound in the old lady's red cross tin last year and this year she demands an increase."

      Charities are now encouraged to be a business operation. Consultants tell them how to acquire new potential donors and how to get repeat donations from them. Employing chuggers is often a loss-leader to get donor details for future use.

      So yes - many charities do try to ratchet up their demands from regular donors. Listen to the BBC Radio 4 charity appeals. They often specify a significant minimum donation they expect - and each year it seems to increase substantially.

      A neighbour's kids' school still sells their raffle tickets at £1 a throw - but the prizes are now an even tinier fraction of the value of their sales. Often they consist of vouchers for introductory offers to local take-aways and beauty salons etc.The kids are getting embarrassed about asking for my guaranteed support to relieve them of their mandatory quota.

  5. Will Godfrey Silver badge
    Meh

    One lives in hope

    But I'm not holding my breath. There's been a worldwide spate in recent years of people and companies totally ignoring the majority and forcing their way through (by definitely foul means).

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: One lives in hope

      ...and political unions...

  6. john.jones.name
    Mushroom

    security... won't someone think of the webservers...

    when someone reefers to security I always want to scream that's your job... The Base not an extra that you should be praised for...

    For example the nominet web server does not even enforce its own cipher preference so maybe just maybe you should fix that BASIC thing.

    This is a public facing supposedly security conscious root of trust type organisation and it cant even get its website security right... who knows whats going on behind the scenes.

    I have no pity

  7. Warm Braw Silver badge

    This is what happens when you don't believe in "red tape"

    When responsibility for the .uk domain was transferred from JANET to Nominet I suppose you could just about argue about the extent to which it could be foreseen that the creation of artificial scarcity might lead to rapacious rent-seeking. However, in its early years, Nominet actually did a pretty good job of holding the line. Unfortunately, it was never given the protection it needed to defend the public interest against its own members which is how we ended up where we are and even if this particular rebellion is successful, there's nothing to prevent the pendulum swinging back again in the future.

    1. Yes Me Silver badge

      Re: This is what happens when you don't believe in "red tape"

      Sad to see the decline of Nominet into an alleged ripoffery. Get rid of the Board, by all means, but also rewrite the founding documents to prevent this ever happening again. The whole thing should become a registered charity. (There is an offshoot charity called SOCIAL TECH TRUST but it seems to have been deprived of most of its income since 2017.)

    2. tech4000

      Re: This is what happens when you don't believe in "red tape"

      I guess the new board could put more things in membership control. Members vote every year at the AGM anyway, so resolutions could include (for example) approving board remuneration changes, price changes to domains over a certain percentage or changes in direction.

      A lot of members would just like Nominet to look after the .uk name space to a high standard and not interfere with anything else.

      1. LondonTech

        Re: This is what happens when you don't believe in "red tape"

        Here, here.

        99% of what Nominet does is manage an online database.

        So long as management don’t abuse Nominet’s monopoly to enrich themselves, or rip off registrants, members will leave management to get in with the job.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: This is what happens when you don't believe in "red tape"

        This is all well and good in theory. In practice, not so much. It takes time and money to take part in a Nominet AGM. So is keeping an eye on what the board and management are doing. Those sorts of commitments are difficult for people with demanding day jobs who run their own businesses and first need to take care of their own customers.

        Membership apathy sets in too. Not just at Nominet. How many shareholders or members bother to turn up for a company AGM or to elect the committee that runs the village hall?

    3. Pete B

      Re: This is what happens when you don't believe in "red tape"

      Don't think JANET ever had anything to do with this - The Naming Comittee were Nominet's predecessor.

  8. Tim Worstal

    Well, that pay

    From what I can see Nominet has fewer than 200 employees. £600 k to run that?

    That's a, umm, very interesting sum there.

    1. cipnt

      Re: Well, that pay

      £3k for from each employee

  9. Al fazed Bronze badge
    Unhappy

    Where do

    these shameless greedy fu**ers get their business management training ?

    Talk about unethical.

    Unfortunately, the whole of modern British Infrastructure seems to be over run with these psychopathic tape worm types gorging themselves into extinction and bleeding the place dry and in the process creating a foul stink that tarnishes their speck in history.

    What amount of money is enough ? More more more ?

    Mores Law...........

    I will get my coat.............

    Alf

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    nom nom nominet

    That was tasty. Now we're footloose and fancy-free, who shall we eat next?

  11. Timbo Bronze badge

    Nominet has been doing things wrong....

    ...for some time now, and especially since 2016.

    As a non-profit organisation, that was created to ensure fairness as well as charity giving, it was a shining light on how the UK internet industry would be run, compared to some other naming registrars I've had to deal with.

    But it changed course, shut down various bona fide operations and then set about following a different doctrine, that seems to be a way for the board to award themselves pay rises, and have shut down mechanisms where due criticism could be aired and ensured that they can control whoever sits on the board, thereby preventing anyone "questioning" with their management.

    Sounds like a case of "Trumpism"?...and we all know how that ended as it collapsed like a deck of cards....

    Sadly, I'm not a member of Nominet, but given the case made on the publicbenefit website (and having been involved in website hosting and domain name registration for over 20 years), I am shocked to see that a significant number of the Top 20 webhosting compaies are NOT backing this campaign....and especially NONE of the Top 10 are backing it (at least publicly) !!

    Posn Member - #Domains #Votes

    #1 GoDaddy.com (123-reg, Heart, TSOHost, Daily, Domain Monster) - 3,642,290 210,298

    #2 1&1 Ionos (Ionos, Fasthosts) - 1,696,701 210,298

    #3 Namesco (LCN) - 612,238 210,298

    #4 TUCOWS (OpenSRS, Enom) - 381,468 210,298

    #5 Register.com (Web.com, NetworkSolutions) - 269,750 210,298

    #6 Corporation Service Company (UK) - 243,202 210,298

    #7 Namecheap - 201,355 202,686

    #8 Iomart Hosting (Easyspace) - 145,213 146,544

    #9 Key-Systems (CentralNic, InternetBS) - 134,040 135,371

    #10 UK2 - 132,495 133,826

    1. Jellied Eel Silver badge

      Re: Nominet has been doing things wrong....

      I am shocked to see that a significant number of the Top 20 webhosting compaies are NOT backing this campaign....and especially NONE of the Top 10 are backing it (at least publicly) !!

      Nothing really shocking there, that was one of the problems. So Nominet started as a LINX WG, then as the Internet exploded, got rather too busy to run as an ad-hoc group of 5 people. So Nominet was created by the ISPs, and for a time, all was well. But then alongside the ISPs, a new breed of businesses sprang up, which saw exciting opportunities to make money from domain names, cybersquatting, front-running registrations etc.

      And lo, it came to pass that as more registrars joined Nominet, so did the capture. So voting rights based on number of domains rather than 1 member, one vote. And then for some reason, policies changed that served member interests, not the wider UK community. Which will be the challenge for any reform, ie those registrars are quite happy with their cash machine.

  12. Lee D

    Because what we need right now is an argument over the UK's Internet presence.

  13. N2
    Flame

    Excellent news

    I shall dust off the guillotine and gather some baskets

    Alternatively, see icon>

    1. Psmo
      Trollface

      Re: Excellent news

      Think there are some export restrictions...

  14. yetanotheraoc Silver badge

    The frog is jumping

    The Nominet board needs to go back to school and repeat Frog Cooking 101. They didn't follow the clear instructions. You are supposed to turn up the heat *slowly*, so the frog doesn't get uncomfortable and jump out of the pan.

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Rights to operate

    Under what authority do Nominet have the right to administer .uk? Is there a license (or similar) that they operate under that can be revoked? Or at least some regulator?

    1. rg287 Silver badge

      Re: Rights to operate

      Under what authority do Nominet have the right to administer .uk? Is there a license (or similar) that they operate under that can be revoked? Or at least some regulator?

      ICANN ultimately. The community could appeal to ICANN and ask for the root zones to be pointed at the DNS servers of a new-founded .uk registry.

      Good luck with that - turning a supertanker with a rowing boat would be quicker.

      That said, they might also point out that pulling Nominet's right to administer .uk is unnecessary as internal remedies exist - as evidenced by the membership being able to call an EGM and remove board members. They would keep their hands "clean" on the basis of letting internal processes run their course.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Rights to operate

        Are you sure about that?

        Technically, Icann, yes, but I'm pretty sure the governments of each country "own" their domain, so it's down to Boris...

        1. Jellied Eel Silver badge

          Re: Rights to operate

          Technically, Icann, yes, but I'm pretty sure the governments of each country "own" their domain, so it's down to Boris...

          Luckily, I don't think that's the case. As in luckily we won't get to find out what happens when Boris edits the root zone. As for ownership, that's one of those sleeping dogs. Governments may think they do, but TLD's are really 'owned' by IANA. Or whoever holds the sacred signing key that can sign any new root zone file, and push that to the coven of root servers.

          But it's one of those touchy subjects, ie Brazil objecting to the contract award for management of 'their' TLD(s). I guess the UK could intervene via either a statement (Sort this out!) or veiled threats to investigate.. But that would require some form of legal grounds, eg competition law etc. And then any fun that may come from taking ownership of UK given the DNS hierachy. I guess the UK ambassador to the US (or minion) could get invited to the root signing ceremony.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Rights to operate

            No. The country domains are run by whoever is responsible for running the country.

            We're not talking about who has access to the keys, or literal access to the DNS root, or alt-roots, simply the fact that administratively, the UK government could make a request for .UK to be pointed elsewhere. The people running root would be happy to oblige - it's not in their remit not to.

            Rules are strict on this. CCtld's are sovereign.

            So, yes, Boris is in charge! Nominet are there because the government deligates to them (whether they realise it or not)

            Do you really think that at a whim, some guy in America could push a CCtld elsewhere? (Again, I mean administrively, not technically... Technically, someone could assign .eu to Farage - doesn't mean it would last long, nor would their job)

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Rights to operate

        Nope.

        ICANN has no authority over ccTLDs. There are strict checks and procedures around changes to the DNS root. IANA/PTI (which is part of ICANN) will not change anything for a delegation unless the admin and tech contacts for the TLD authorise them. Nominet is the admin and tech contact for .uk.

        1. rg287 Silver badge

          Re: Rights to operate

          Nominet is the admin and tech contact for .uk.

          But that could change. In theory. If there was sufficient governmental and/or industry pressure on ICANN/IANA to recognise a new contact because Nominet had gone completely off-piste. They weren't always the contact (pre-98) and there's no technical or legal reason why - in extremis - a new contact could not be reassigned in future.

          In the same way that ICANN/IANA could - in theory - have yanked the IP allocations for AFRINIC when there was talk of board members selling IP blocks for personal profit and reassigned them to a new RIR.

          Ultimately the hierarchical nature of DNS means the .uk registrar is whoever the crypto keyholders for the root zone say it is. Everyone else is at liberty to run their own alt-root

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Rights to operate

            Again, you're talking about who has technical control.

            It's all about who has control over the domain effectively, and country-domain rules are not run by ICANN.

            They are deligated to whoever the people ruling said country.

            In other words, in our case, the UK government determines who gets the .UK contract.

            If the government requested the changes, the changes will be made, no alt-roots needed.

            1. R Soul
              Stop

              Re: Rights to operate

              They are deligated to whoever the people ruling said country.

              Few ccTLDs have been delegated to governments. Most were set up before governments were aware of the interwebs.

              In other words, in our case, the UK government determines who gets the .UK contract.

              What contract? AFAIK there is no contract between ICANN and the UK government about .uk or between the UK government and Nominet.

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: Rights to operate

                It's implicit. However, there's nothing stopping the government setting up a formal contract in future with nominet, or anyone else. It's up to them.

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Rights to operate

            there's no technical or legal reason why - in extremis - a new contact could not be reassigned in future.

            That's like saying - in extremis - world hunger could be solved by giving everyone enough food. In reality it's not that simple.

            Changing the sponsoring organisation for a ccTLD needs the agreement of the relevant government and the local Internet community. Good luck with that. There doesn't seem to be unanimous agreement amongst the Nominet membership for regime change.

            BTW if - in extremis - there was a forced registry change, do you really think the loser that's about to go out of business and fire everyone will cooperate with their replacement?

            In the same way that ICANN/IANA could - in theory - have yanked the IP allocations for AFRINIC ... and reassigned them to a new RIR

            That's delusional. IANA has no contractual or legal basis for yanking IP address allocations it made to an RIR. Try thinking about how that action could go wrong. For example, IANA wouldn't be able to yank the whole block it allocated to the RIR if some of those addresses were being used legitimately. Creating a new RIR is non-trivial too.

      3. ADomainRegistrar

        Re: Rights to operate

        Not quite. IANA will defer to local government usually on these matters - so the UK Gov would likely need to request IANA re-delegate to a new organisation to run the .UK zone.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Rights to operate

      Nominet run .uk with the implied consent or grudging acceptance of the government and the UK Internet community.

      It has no contract or licence for .uk. License is a verb in the civilised world.

      Nominet is subject to UK law and a raft of regulations: GDPR, NIS, etc. Clauses 19-21 of the 2010 Digital Economy Act apply to the oversight of all UK based TLD registries. The powers that are available are remarkable.

  16. cipnt

    Nominet has lost its way...

    Time to turn it off then on again

  17. cipnt

    Nominet has lost its way...

    I am a Nominet member and I can't tell you how thrilled I am that Simon has organised PublicBenefit.uk

    Nominet's management is completely out of touch with reality and, most importantly, with its members. The CEO and board seem to think they are running some FTSE500 company and should aim for profits at all costs. Even if that hurts its own members.

    This is not why Nominet was set up!

    We the members demand change!

    Time to press the reset button

  18. tech4000

    Nominet members please vote

    The Nominet CEO always treats his members like rubbish. Just now he says that this EGM is led "by a small amount of minority members". No actually 3 of your top 20 largest members have already supported this publicly and more will follow in the next few days. He has destroyed Nominet as it was, taken as much money as he can for himself, shut down the members forum, bought worthless businesses and if you have to deal with them as a business you will now find that their customer support is awful, this is a shambles of an organisation. A shadow of what it was before he joined. Money to good causes down and his salary up whilst the general public have to pay more for domains. Awful. On top of that the chairmen of the board does nothing, seems in awe of the CEO and just let's him do what he likes with no accountability, he is a corporate governance nightmare. If they had any dignity they would resign now and make way for better people. Please if you are a Nominet member vote these board members out.

    1. A.P. Veening Silver badge

      Re: Nominet members please vote

      If they had any dignity they would resign now and make way for better people.

      Where is the money in that?

      While I completely agree with you, that will be their reaction as they neither have nor believe in dignity, only in money.

  19. ivanpope

    About time too

    As the person who caused Nominet to be born in the first place and who was elected to the board for the first few years of its life (and as the person who really invented the entire Registry business, believe it or not), I totally agree with this attempt to restructure the organisation. It was clear back in the day that Nominet was going to be at risk from carpetbaggers - now it seems that they found a way in from the inside, hollowing the organisation out in order to line their own pockets and to accrue power.

    Closing down the charitable arm with no valid reasoning whatsoever was really the canary in the coal mine. If this attempt fails I guess that Nominet will be stripped bare and privatised over the next few years.

    Good luck to the organisers of this campaign - I wholeheartedly support them.

    1. yetanotheraoc Silver badge

      Re: About time too

      I had to use wikipedia to understand your use of carpetbagger. It means something different over here.

  20. TimMaher Silver badge
    Facepalm

    DNS

    It’s always DNS.

    Maybe the BOFH could set up the meeting room for the Nominet board?

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Pride before a fall?

    carrions are circling, I smell blodd... Go for it, vultures, go for it!

  22. Androgynous Cupboard Silver badge

    Charity costs

    Out of curiosity I did some digging into the charity accounts (here)

    It looks like in 2016 some very expensive staff were laid off, reducing operational costs to £790k, with charitable expenditure of £3.63 from income from Nominet of £4m. By 2017, costs had risen to £1m - more people were hired. But income from nominet had also risen, to £5.6m, with charitable expenditure of £3.3m - a slight drop.

    I realise that the ratio of operational costs vs income, or vs charitable expenditure, is a flawed way to assess a charity. But I don't see that this charity was particularly inefficient or expensive to run when compared to other similar sized organisations, although I'm not an expert in this area. I can see it was sucking a reasonable amount of cash away from Nominet, that's quite clear.

    Fun fact: the combined salary bill for the charity was £513k when it was shut down by a man currently drawing £593k, because it was too expensive.

    1. Charlie Clark Silver badge

      Re: Charity costs

      Nice research. I think the charity stuff is a bit of a red herring. The main focus should be on tightening up the scope of the charter and making clear what a public service is. Fees should be set to cover costs solely though, as this is difficult to predict, you need to allow for over and under fall of revenue with a floater designed to cover underfalls: 10% of profit isn't unusual. The rest can should either be handed over to the exchequer or donated to suitable nominated charities (educational, IT literacy, etc.).

      Remuneration for QUANGOs is always tricky. On the one hand you want people with the right skills to be able to do the job, on the other hand it's a public service so some kind ethical investment can also be expected. The way around this is usually to remunerate the board for expenses only, though this can be at market rates, and pay staff market rates. Aside from pay, you need to make sure that board members are not beholden to invididuals or entities (such as member companies), are accountable and not in a position for empire building. Fixed term appointments can be useful here.

      The current board has clearly failed on all fronts.

  23. rg287 Silver badge

    Not having (directly) a horse in this race (not being a member or registrar) and not having followed such matters closely I always take such complaints with a pinch of salt. I have been around various membership organisations and there are usually two sides to every story - one being the side told by a disgruntled member willing to spread discord to whoever will keep them company at the bar but who ultimately knows nothing about everything or isn't aware of some legitimate internal pressure.

    In this case however, I'm willing to make an exception based on one single action:

    Nuking a membership forum mid-AGM is the sort of bizarro power-move I would expect from British Leyland management in the 1970s. I believe the kids these days would regard it as "a weird flex" - made all the more bizarre by the fact that they're a ccTLD registry. Their members are uber-nerds. These are the people who hold the internet together with wet string and duct tape. You think you can stop sysadmins and network engineers from talking to one another by turning off a forum? What precisely did Haworth expect to happen?

    To paraphrase Turkish: "It had previously occurred to me that the nerds had taken the demise of their organisation rather lightly. For every action, there is a reaction. And a nerd reaction is quite a f***ing thing."

    Someone with such astonishingly poor judgement has no place running an organisation like Nominet.

    To see that the likes of Mythic Beasts are also listed as supporters of the motion on publicbenefit.uk also speaks volumes.

    1. yetanotheraoc Silver badge

      no salt

      My blood pressure started to rise when I read "pinch of salt" and "two sides to every story". But you redeemed yourself with the subsequent words. Have an upvote.

POST COMMENT House rules

Not a member of The Register? Create a new account here.

  • Enter your comment

  • Add an icon

Anonymous cowards cannot choose their icon

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2022