Sigh! If they could apply this same purging principal to the management
of national political parties.
The campaign to remove the CEO and non-elected board members of .uk internet registry operator Nominet may be over before the official petition is even filed. The PublicBenefit.uk drive, spearheaded by CEO of hosting company Krystal Simon Blackler, announced its intention to call for an extraordinary general meeting (EGM) on …
Was my thoughts exactly. The facts were considered and debated. A call for a fair vote was organised and hopefully the shameful leaders will be sent packing.
No horns, animal skins or made up bedtime stories were needed. Just the truth of the facts.
I'd rather wait until the fat lady sings though last week Robin Hood investors in GameStop humbled the hedge funds. This week that whistling sound may be Robin Hood's arrows heading unstoppably towards the Sheriff of Abingdon. Good article showing how clearly the close and mostly foreign interests of the big boys colluded with Nominet's directors to exclude the interests of the people for whom Nominet was set up.
If it wasn't for the pandemic dominating political news - one would have expected some embarrassing questions to be put to the relevant minister.
A Nominet Member
"it makes financial sense for anyone with more than, say, 20 .uk domains to become a member."
It's a bit more than that really. 20 .uk domains with no membership is £200 per year. 20 .uk domains plus a membership is £178 per year. So you save £22 per year, but you also have to pay an additional £400 up front, which means it will take 19 years to actually start to pay off. Bearing in mind .uk addresses have only been available for public use for 6 years, a membership for a relatively small number of domains is only worth it if you're looking at it as a very long term investment, along with a gamble that the pricing and membership structure will actually stay the same for at least two decades. Really you need at least 40 or 50 domains before it starts making clear sense in the short term to become a member.
I take your point on the cost/benefit analysis but speaking as private individual, if I had the money, I might think it worth the cost just to stick it to the man.
With luck and a following wind I hope that these parasites are thrown out but given that they have seven weeks to try and drum up support and/or indulge in a few dirty tricks I'll wait to see the result before breaking out the champagne.
We shall see but I truly want to see the back of the current management of Nominet.
publicbenefit.uk has a list of those in support of change, 8 of them have fewer than 20 names which seems an odd choice from a simple cost-benefit viewpoint. Are there additional factors involved?
One is voting rights. Even the guy with no domains gets an entitlement to 1331 votes but is it worth paying £100 a year for some voting rights? (Or paying a £400 joining fee and to join now to get some votes).
Given past evidence of having been to the Trump school of management (e.g. the past statement that "The Register is Fake news") what else can they get from the Trump playbook? Fiddle the figures by spending £40k to create 80 new members and so score 100,000 extra votes? Or keep it simple by fiddling the way votes are counted, claim some votes are not valid, or just disregard the result ("Stop the steal!"). If I was getting £500k a year I'd go to some lengths to keep it coming...
"publicbenefit.uk has a list of those in support of change, 8 of them have fewer than 20 names which seems an odd choice from a simple cost-benefit viewpoint. Are there additional factors involved?"
What it doesn't show is how long they've been members. I'd bet many of those with only a few domains are old members, eg companies who previously did a lot more domain business but have since perhaps wound things down, or changed direction, but maintain membership since it allows them to keep direct control of their domains. Hell, could well be a bunch of old nerds who've partially retired but like to keep a hand in the game for their own use and perhaps that of friends and family, for whom £100 a year to maintain the status quo is a small price to pay. And they're likely also the types who'd be all over a vote like this.
>which means it will take 19 years to actually start to pay off.
It probably be a good few less than that; if there isn't any change. This is because of the business model being pursued by the existing Nominet board.
So look at that £400 up front a payment to avoid having to (repeatedly) pay significant price hikes in the coming years as the board milks the customer-base to further fund their windmill tilting hobby horses.
I assume that's correct as many resellers increase their price whenever Nominet do - and in roughly the same proportion i.e. if nominet were to increase by 40p from £3.90 to £4.30 (~10%) a reseller currently charging £10 would increase to £11 increasing their margin by 60p...
Except in 2011 I paid £5.98 to renew a domain at 123reg, if I'd not moved elsewhere it would now be £11.99 (before VAT). In the same time period the wholesale price increased from £2.50 to £3.90 so a near 60% increase at Nominet has translated to a 100% increase at 123reg.
For those with just one or two domains there's little incentive to move reseller, £12 renewal is no big deal and it sounds like it might involve some technical hassle so not worth it just to save a couple of quid but in practise moving is no big-deal. Moving a dozen domains, especially for a bigger saving per name and bearing in mind that the saving is for every year, not just this, is worth the effort especially for a [not politically correct stereotype redacted] like me. Over the 10 years since I moved about two dozen names the aggregate cost saving has been around £1000. But not just that, I now get better facilities and responsive competent support.
I've got over 100 under my management so this attracted my attention - however firstly break even on 20 names would take a while, especially as it seems to be predicated on an assumed retail price of £10 (I'm paying rather less) but also I assume a need for software to manage the names.
Well there's your problem. A Byzantine voting structure and obtuse rules and you convince the small guys to not bother. Then you buddy up to the few who have actual influence and you spend years influencing things to your fancy. All is well.
Until you end up having done a 180° on your madate and somebody wakes up and makes a fuss. And you're so busy burning Rome that you can't even hear the messengers that are clamoring for you attention.
Beheading. It's the only solution.
A new management is best - the existing one has proven its incompetence.
The .UK TLD is a natural monopoly and it is an asset of the UK. It has become the plaything (cash cow) of Nominet with little regard for its smaller members and zero regard for the millions of organisations and individuals who are the end-users of domain names. As a web designer since the mid 1990s I've had plenty of experiences interacting with Nominet, in the early days it was excellent, I once got help direct from Willie Black (who was chairman back then), but in more recent times, several cock-ups (some I've written about on The Register).
As an organisation it has a (recent) history of poor decisions and mismanagement as well documented on The Register and Sir Michael Lyons' report.
From my perspective apart from the price rises there was the farce in respect of the release of .uk as an alternative to .co.uk
The "benefits" of that were increased revenue for Nominet and their member registrars, it did not, as Nominet claim, increase the number of names available. For example Tesco own tesco.co.uk, had they not bought tesco.uk someone else would have. If they used it in manner in any way detrimental to Tesco then Tesco would have either invoked the Nominet domain name resolution process (more £££ for Nominet) or taken it to court (£££££ for lawyers) - so a no-brainer to buy the variant for a few pounds a year. And the name is of no other value to tesco, like many other large organisations, they don't use it, it doesn't even route traffic to tesco.co.uk
Nominet suggest that a shorter name is easier to use - yes but saving 3 keystrokes? - for the small number of people that go to a website by typing the URL rather than following a link, bookmark or browser autocomplete? As it turns out many users are suspicious of the variant anyway: .com and .co.uk are familiar and so (relatively) "trusted" .uk just looks odd.
As an end-user of uk domain names that means I need twice as many. Sure the wholesale cost is under £4 p.a. but for many end users the registrar adds a considerable margin to that and a bit of up-selling so at 123reg for example many are paying around £12 per name plus a further £12 for Domain Ownership Protection (whatever that is). Businesses with two-word names often hold variants with and without hyphens (domain-example.co.uk and domainexample.co.uk) so at 123reg they might end up paying almost £100p.a. And then some businesses have additional names perhaps those of well known products/brands, especially trade marked names, and historic names (for example I expect HSBC still holds on to Midland Bank related names). OK it's no big deal for HSBC or whoever but for struggling SMEs, start-ups and micro-businesses every penny counts.
A major shake-up of Nominet is long overdue. There are two options: that the members succeed with the current initiative or that the true "owner" of this national asset,central government, takes back control on the basis that the original deal was non-profit with some charitable commitments, has been breached.
We are uneasy about government being too hands-on, there is a risk that they might just hand the reins to their chums but also they aren't characterised by speedy action, by the time committees, enquiries, consultations and tendering processes were complete the present incumbents would have retired to spend their millions.
Can the members succeed though? It's not just a matter of getting sufficient for an EGM but also gaining enough attendance and votes at that EGM. Do we really suppose Nominet won't be doing whatever is necessary to encourage some of those members to vote against? One can imagine all kinds of potential "inducements" to members so the end-users remain the only losers.
What can be done to encourage members to vote for change when some are beneficiaries of this gravy-train?
"What can be done to encourage members to vote for change"
Registrants could "vote with their wallets" and move domains away from member organisations who are not in support of change to those who are (partial lists of both can be found here https://publicbenefit.uk/). That's a load of hassle, not much can be done in the short time available before the vote and many registrants won't know there is a dispute or if they do won't care/understand.
Better is to try to understand the reasons why some are not supporting change and see if anything can be done to identify flaws in their reasoning. Presumably it's fear that changes under new leadership will be detrimental to their interests. In what way? Can those fears be allayed?
I wonder what the articles say about abstentions counting toward the total. I could picture some large names abstaining to bring the total up and therefore the 3% cap to a higher number. Not exactly a vote of approval but serves the purpose of providing a few more which are. Either way I'll be here with my popcorn.
You were lucky. They claimed my domain (premium name, worth £thousands) had never been registered, I had no rights and they were going to reclaim it (yes probably in around 2004, that's when Willie Black resigned - coincidence? The decline started when he left and accelerated as time passed and CEOs changed).
I had to jump through loads of hoops to prove the domain I'd been using for 9 years was mine. It was first registered on the day Nominet replaced the original naming committee. If I recall correctly the naming committee would have charged nothing and I think Nominet originally charged a lot but it was for outright purchase (£100? £200?) but that was a quarter century ago so I could be wrong.
I had a feeling it was the other way round, I seem to remember paying £200-£300 to the naming comittee for life, only to then get the letter in 2004 forcing me to start paying but I may be wrong too, as you say it was a long time ago, fortunately sold my 3 letter .co.uk for a tidy sum just before the release of .anything to a set of solicitors which made the price I charged all the sweeter.
Nominet, the dot-UK domain registry, has announced that it will suspend services for Russian web domain registrars – and the British government says it "welcomes" the action.
Suspension will prevent the registrars from managing or renewing dot-UK domains they own or control.
"We are not accepting registrations from registrars in Russia – we are suspending the relevant tags. To avoid compromising outlets for expression outside the control of the regime, the very small number of domains with Russian address details will continue to operate as normal," said the organisation in a statement on its website.
Nominet members have voted for further reform of the troubled dot-UK registry by electing to the board the man who effectively ousted its CEO and chairman.
Simon Blackler led the successful PublicBenefit.uk campaign earlier this year that resulted in chief exec Russell Haworth and board chairman Mark Wood exiting the registry operator.
Two non-executive board seats were put to a member vote this month, and on Tuesday it was revealed Blackler received just over 50 per cent of votes in the first-preference stage, winning immediate election to Nominet's board of directors.
Updated Troubled .uk registry operator Nominet has named a new CEO to replace the one fired by members earlier this year.
At its annual general meeting (AGM) this week, the current CEO of the IT industry's chartered institute BCS, Paul Fletcher, was named as the permanent replacement for Russell Haworth, starting in February.
Fletcher will be joined on the board by two new non-executive directors elected by members this week, both of whom have vowed to maintain reform efforts at the not-for-profit company.
The founder of a campaign to return dot-UK registry Nominet to its public benefit roots has raised the threat of a second EGM if Nominet doesn't “heed the will of [its] members."
Simon Blackler, founder of the Public Benefit (PB) campaign to overhaul Nominet, was scathing about what he saw as the registry's inaction in the wake of a extraordinary general meeting in March which saw five directors dumped from the 11-strong board. The move was described as "a clear rejection of their efforts to push the company in a more commercial direction."
“We have been incredibly reasonable,” Blackler, who runs Krystal Hosting, told us. "We've been incredibly patient, we've given them the benefit of the doubt. And we have been saying, look, this isn't acceptable, you need to change. And they've been trying to do the same old shit.”
Analysis The board of .uk registry operator Nominet has offered a series of concessions to its members in an effort to win back their support in advance of an extraordinary meeting that could see most of them fired.
In a message on Nominet’s website, the board on Tuesday said it would freeze director pay as well as .uk domain prices for two years, double the amount of money it gives to public benefit causes, invest more in the .uk registry, launch a new effort to communicate with members, and provide more information about its offshoot commercial enterprises.
The concessions are designed both to stop more members from signing up in support of an extraordinary general meeting (EGM) whose goal is to sack the CEO and non-elected members and replace them with two caretaker directors, and persuade members that have already expressed their support to change their minds and back the board.
Analysis By being uncooperative and opaque, Nominet is opening itself to allegations that it manipulated the outcome of next week's vote to fire its CEO and board chairman.
In a call on Wednesday, just two working days before Monday’s crunch vote by members on the fate of the board, Nominet’s company secretary Rory Kelly told Krystal CEO Simon Blackler, who has led the PublicBenefit.uk campaign against the current management, that Nominet will not provide members a list of their voting rights – the number of votes they will each cast.
For those who don't know, Nominet members are each assigned a number of votes calculated [PDF] from the number of paid-for domain names they each have on the books and the total number of domains registered. So, if you're a Nominet member and you're assigned 6,502 votes, that's how many you'll cast when voting on the upcoming EGM resolution to cull the board.
Special report The CEO and chairman of Nominet have been ousted by the .uk internet registry operator's membership.
Three other members were also removed from the not-for-profit’s board in a clear rejection of their efforts to push the company in a more commercial direction.
At an extraordinary general meeting (EGM) on Monday, a single resolution to remove five of the 11-strong board passed narrowly [PDF] with 52.7 per cent of the vote on a turnout of 53 per cent of members.
Analysis On Monday, 740 members of .uk internet registry operator Nominet made the drastic decision to ditch five of its 11-strong board of directors, including the CEO and chairman, in a fierce rebuke of the company’s efforts to move from a non-profit organisation to a commercial one.
Today, Nominet has an interim chair – one of the remaining non-executive directors – and no CEO. Two of its senior management – Eleanor Bradley and Ben Hill – were also removed from the board, and remain in their jobs at Nominet for the moment. The fifth board member to get the boot is non-executive director Jane Tozer MBE, OBE.
And while the remainder of the board have said they “will be working on a strategic change in direction,” the reality is that they have all supported the CEO and chair’s action over the past five years, all unanimously opposed the vote, and in some cases were highly critical of the reasoning behind it.
Interview On Monday, an extraordinary vote will take place at an extraordinary general meeting (EGM) of the .uk internet registry operator, Nominet.
If the single resolution receives more than 50 per cent of the votes cast, the company’s CEO and chairman will be ousted, a third board member removed, and two staff members will be removed from the organisation’s decision-making body, leaving six board members behind.
The vote itself has been driven by a campaign called PublicBenefit.uk, which argued that over the past five years Nominet has reduced public benefit donations 65 per cent and seen its operating profit plunge by 38 per cent while increasing the pay of its top three directors by 70 per cent. It also argued that Nominet has “ignored members’ concerns and input,” and “tried to silence critics, the press and members.”
Nominet has rejected calls for serious change at the .uk registry operator despite losing its CEO, chairman, and three board members to a membership vote earlier this month.
Members were expecting the board to announce the appointment of two caretaker directors to take over as chair and vice-chair after the stunning upset, especially after acting chair Rob Binns made reconciliatory remarks and promised to take their concerns seriously.
On Wednesday, however, the remaining six board members went the opposite direction [PDF]: they refused to appoint the proposed directors and instead put themselves in charge of a six-month process to replace the fired board members.
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