back to article Momentum builds behind campaign to fire Nominet CEO, board – though success still far from certain

An effort to oust the CEO and most of the board of .uk registry operator Nominet is building momentum within Britain’s internet industry, although success remains far from clear. Since the proposal to remove all non-elected board members and replace them with two high-profile caretakers was launched at the weekend, those …

  1. Howard Sway

    would destabilise Nominet and, for instance, the cybersecurity work it is doing for the NHS

    The absolute nerve of saying this : implying that he needs to keep having the cash shovelled in his own personal direction otherwise the NHS staff who have worked so hard and with such dedication during the pandemic might suffer.

    Cynically trying to hitch a ride on the back of their efforts in order to help his own cause is an utter disgrace.

  2. Lon24

    Panic at Haworth Towers

    Just received another email from Nominet. They must have had a busy weekend trying to put some flesh on the bones of Friday night's missive. More sunny uplands promised for all members including

    * Segmental representation to reflect views of the various business models within our broad membership

    * Positions on the Council will be filled through an open member election process on a one member, one vote basis

    The reason why many of the membership lost faith was precisely because Haworth et al did the opposite. Remind me why I should trust him now. Could this be a desperate ploy to retain control so that Ivan Pope's fear that these are the first steps of taking Nominet out of public service into the hands of greedy profiteers able to exploit the .uk monopoly - a la .org fiasco?

    A Nominet Member

    1. cipnt

      Re: Panic at Haworth Towers

      ★ A newsletter at 10pm on Friday;

      ★ A blog post at 8pm on Sunday;

      ★ An email update on 10am on Monday;

      ★ CEO liking and retweeting his own tweet (the only like and retweet);

      All signs of desperation

  3. My-Handle Silver badge

    The whole thing does bear an uncanny resemblance to events in Terry Pratchett's Going Postal.

    - Bunch of profiteers taking over a company or institution previously founded to provide a service to the public... check

    - Company begins hiking prices, engaging in shady business practices and ceases caring about the day-to-day workings of the company... check

    - Company execs get paid bafflingly well, despite increased dissatisfaction with the company and it's services... check

    Just rename Haworth to Reacher Gilt and be done with it. The only thing missing is him conning his own board members.

    1. A.P. Veening Silver badge

      The only thing missing is him being caught conning his own board members.

      FTFY

    2. Kane Silver badge
      Thumb Up

      "Just rename Haworth to Reacher Gilt and be done with it. The only thing missing is him conning his own board members."

      12-and-a-half percent! 12-and-a-half percent!!

      SQUAWK!!! SQUAWK!!!! SQUAWK!!!!!

  4. nematoad Silver badge
    WTF?

    Alternatively.

    “ousting the CEO and the MD of registry operations could wreak havoc on the operations of the company and staff morale.”

    What it really means is that the gravy train would be brought to a shuddering halt and the views of the members would be heard instead of the vested interests that currently run the organisation.

    Why would that be a bad thing?

    1. A.P. Veening Silver badge

      Re: Alternatively.

      Why would that be a bad thing?

      Because it is ... for the vested interests (but not for the rest of the world).

    2. heyrick Silver badge

      Re: Alternatively.

      Take that quote, and compare it with this:

      to fund unrelated and unsuccessful business ventures while at the same time paying large executive bonuses and slashing the amount of money provided to good causes

      Forget staff morale (what, no more gravy train? diddums) and realise that something is very rotten and change needs to happen.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    No much faith in his staff...

    He clearly doesn't have much faith in his staff if removing 3 people can destabilise a whole company and stop them from doing their jobs. If that's the case then they need sacking for incompetence and not building a resilient business let alone the other issues raised.

    1. Lon24

      Re: No much faith in his staff...

      What makes it worse is my experience over a decade or more with Nominet's staff are really client responsive, able and mostly really nice people willing to go the extra mile. When pressed obviously embarrassed by their senior management. They are the strength of Nominet - not the hare-brained money grabbing schemes that has diverted them from their primary task.

      Be nice to hear from any here (obviously anonymously and when you get home!)

      A Nominet Member

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: No much faith in his staff...

        I should really have added that in my original comment, but yes we've always found Nominet staff on the whole to be a good bunch and helpful where they aren't constrained. Although it isn't often we need to contact them because they actually do a bloody good job of running the technical side of domains.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: No much faith in his staff...

      I found that comment rather astounding too.

      I also find Nominet staff incredibly competent and would expect them to be perfectly able to keep the ship a float while a new board familiarises itself. Pure fear mongering!

  6. Pascal Monett Silver badge

    "could wreak havoc on the operations of the company"

    Havoc has already been wreaked. Nominet is no longer fulfilling its office, it is only filling some people's coffers.

    Beheading is fitting.

    It must be quite galling for the person who created Nominet, Ivan Pope (hell of a name), to see what a prostitute his creation has become.

    I wholeheartedly support this move, and I'm not even concerned.

    A not-for-profit should never be hell bent on making profits.

    1. TimMaher Silver badge
      Coat

      “Beheading is fitting.”

      Absolutely agree @Pascal and, judging by your monicker I’d suggest a guillotine.

      Then we could all sit in the front row knitting our encrypted database of board members.

      Mine’s the one with balls of wool in the pockets and the floppy hat with a tricolour rosette on the front.

      Seriously though, an honest grownup needs to step into this and sort out the corruption and incompetence.

  7. Adair Silver badge

    Fork it!

    I'm already assuming this isn't actually possible, but in principle who the hell are Nominet anyway? If sufficient people of sufficient weight are sufficiently 'disappointed' with Nominet why don't they take their business elsewhere, even to the extent of simply starting up a new domain registrar, or does Nominent hold some immutable legal right to be the only body allowed to do what it does?

    1. R Soul

      Re: Fork it!

      You don't seem to understand how the DNS works. There can only be one registry for a top-level domain. Nominet is the .uk registry. People simply can't take their business elsewhere if they want .uk domain names.

      In principle some other organisation could be appointed to run .uk. But the mechanism for doing that is unclear. Who decides? How? And once that new organisation was appointed, you're back where you started because something needs to be put in place about governance, oversight, policy making, membership arrangements, contracts, etc, etc.

      1. Adair Silver badge

        Re: Fork it!

        The second part of your response is more helpful.

        'Registrar', 'registry', whatever - my question still stands: who the hell are 'Nominet' anyway?

        So, they are a monopoly - there are laws about that kind of thing; in theory Nominet should be treading very carefully over its behaviour, but clearly doesn't feel any need to be in the least careful.

        Our problem - putting the money grubbing so-and-sos at Nominet to one side - would appear to be a supine regulator and Governmental indifference. Presumably on the basis that a bunch of greedy sharks making out like bandits because the legislation isn't up to snuff is not their problem, in fact that's what the game is all about - more power to their arm if they can get a way with it.

    2. ADomainRegistrar

      Re: Fork it!

      It's a monopoly. The only way to replace Nominet is to have the Government come in and do it for us. Much better members reassert themselves and set the board back on the right path.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Fork it!

        If it doesn't work, we the people should petition our MP's (not that petitions do any good, but still...)

        1. doublelayer Silver badge

          Re: Fork it!

          You can do that if you think the UK government will do a better job than a group of people replacing current leadership. I'm guessing the people trying to change the people but keep the structure either believe the government won't help resolve these problems in a timely fashion or would make things worse.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Fork it!

            No, I said if that *doesn't* work, the next recourse would be to get the government to get someone else to do it (admitedly boris would chose some clueless Eton chum though :-( )

    3. cipnt

      Re: Fork it!

      Nominet is a registry not a registrar.

      A ccTLD domain registry is a natural monopoly.

      As an end user you register domains through a registrar (think GoDaddy or Fasthosts) which acts as a reseller of sorts. You can pick your registrar (and there are plenty of them to choose from, which means the registrars are in a healthy free market competition), but you can't pick your registry.

      1. DJV Silver badge

        Re: think GoDaddy or Fasthosts

        I did - and I shat my pants, especially at the thought of FastHosts!

        Please give ample advanced warning before using such terms in the future!

        I'm now off for a much needed lie down...

        1. heyrick Silver badge

          Re: think GoDaddy or Fasthosts

          I suggest taking a shower first...

          1. DJV Silver badge
            Happy

            Re: think GoDaddy or Fasthosts

            You're no fun!

  8. Lucien Taylor

    Registry Advisory Council and NDAs

    Nominet continue in their push-strategy to tell and not listen. Pushing ‘solutions’ on members, failing to listen to members, and shutting down the means for members to communicate with each other. Our elected NEDs are gagged by NDAs and the new Registry Advisory Council will be subjected to the same - silence for cash.

    Shutting the forum was a disaster - and they did this by rounding on the last few members who could be bothered to engage with them.

    Those members represented many of us.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Registry Advisory Council and NDAs

      NDAs have a place, it's unfortunate they're so often used to gag NEDs from telling the people who elected them what's really going on...

  9. Blane Bramble

    Nominet used to be a shining star on how to be a well run, responsive, responsible registry that served all of it's members and was technically excellent.

    That ceased to be years ago, and it has become apparent the current management have no interest but their big corporate customers and expanding their business reach into as many pies as possible while giving nothing back.

  10. Rol Silver badge

    Should the CEO of a not for profit get paid the same as Elon Musk? They think they should!

    How many not-for-profit businesses have been started on the back of public/charitable money, and gone south because the directors have just sucked the well dry?

    Here in Bristol the council put millions into a not-for-profit energy business, that basically bought energy at wholesale prices and resold to businesses and the general public. It didn't have power stations to build, pipelines to install or anything of that nature, and could have been run out of a rent-a-desk facility, with little in the way of bricks and mortar capex required, just a couple of million spent on IT, like web design, DB, etc.

    Despite it being easier to run and plan than a corner shop selling fruit and veg, it lost millions.

    I'm waiting to get a glimpse of their accounts, to confirm the whole shebang was set up to smokescreen some serious backhanders via ludicrously inflated salaries for the big boys - something that is all too common in the charitable sector.

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