back to article As battle for future of .UK's Nominet draws closer, non-exec director hits a nerve with for-profit proposal

With an extraordinary vote that will define the future of the UK’s internet registry operator just two weeks away, the battle lines between the company's management and those seeking an overhaul have been drawn. The PublicBenefit.uk campaign that has forced a vote to boot Nominet’s CEO and chairman from the board, along with …

  1. msknight

    From the looks of this...

    Once all this is done and dusted, Thornton will likely find himself “tainted” and “may find getting partnerships and work with people difficult." not through anything other than his own behaviour which seems to be thoroughly unbecoming of someone in his position.

    1. sbt
      Facepalm

      Re: thoroughly unbecoming

      You get the representatives you deserve; can't see why someone would think this fella's personality was a good reason for vote for him.

    2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      Re: From the looks of this...

      He sounds completely the wrong fit for a not-for-profit but I bet there will be a place for him in a for-profit venture somewhere where aggression and a different set of morals will be an asset. You just have to look at some of the worlds successful business leaders to see that.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: From the looks of this...

        @"He sounds completely the wrong fit" yes but even in the corporate world you have to give a damn about something other than just yourself, that and a minimum of competence hence why he is left stalking charity/nonprofit management.

        The fact is with management of this type you could just cut the head off the company and their scams to divert funds to themselves and others who might give them a leg up later and everything else would fall into place.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Time to move away from GoDaddy and 1&1?

    Oh, looks like I already have...

    1. Naich

      Re: Time to move away from GoDaddy and 1&1?

      https://twitter.com/NRoolz/status/1364543617407344641 For lolz at me arguing with 1&1 that their domain renewal system is stupid and them doubling down that the "auto renew" feature should deactivate your domain if it's turned off.

      1. James 139

        Re: Time to move away from GoDaddy and 1&1?

        Oh good grief, thats just stupid.

        Makes me glad I dont use them for domains.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    GoDaddy and 1&1 – are believed to have already voted against the motion

    by the way, can we, SOMEHOW, vote godaddy and 1&1 out of existence, please? Every time I see those two brands mentioned, I get the whiff of that sickly smell...

  4. KittenHuffer Silver badge

    GoDaddy and 1&1 – are believed to have already voted against the motion

    So the voting is already open is it?!? So does that mean the 'Yes' voters can already register their votes?

    Or do they have to wait until the date and time of the EGM ...... when the site will mysteriously go down, meaning that only the votes that were allowed before the meeting will be counted?!?

    1. cipnt

      Re: GoDaddy and 1&1 – are believed to have already voted against the motion

      All members can vote now only via a proxy, but you can instruct the proxy how to vote on your behalf.

      PublicBenefit.uk campaign has been encouraging members to vote Yes and appoint Simon Blackler as proxy. See:

      https://twitter.com/alexbloor/status/1367042833752993795

  5. Chewi
    Flame

    To: support@ionos.co.uk

    Dear IONOS,

    As a very long-standing customer of yours, I was dismayed to learn that you have reportedly voted "no" in the forthcoming vote to oust the current Nominet execute board, despite years of despicable behaviour. If you have, in fact, not voted "no" then please declare your support for the campaign publicly immediately. I will otherwise be taking my business elsewhere at the earliest opportunity.

    Regards,

    James

    P.S. I will be publicly posting this message to the recent article on this matter at The Register. You're lucky I don't use Twitter.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: To: support@ionos.co.uk

      My domain names are with 123 Reg, who are now ultimately owned by ... GoDaddy. So later today I will be seeking out a new domain registrar too, with Mythic Beasts being top of the list.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: To: support@ionos.co.uk

        Could you post some recommendations once you have checked who isn't tainted?

        1. cipnt

          Re: To: support@ionos.co.uk

          Yay.com/domains are very good and cheap (registrar services only, no hosting), but I am extremely disappointed that they haven't publicly supported the PublicBenefit.uk campaign

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: To: support@ionos.co.uk

          https://purely.domains has voted YES and has no shady practices*

          * written by an employee

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: To: support@ionos.co.uk

            And reasonable prices and support (a customer, not an employee).

        3. Dabooka

          Re: To: support@ionos.co.uk

          Mythic Beast here (check them out, on Twitter too).

          To be honest you need to leave them for MB anyway, regardless of the vote.

          You can thank me later.

        4. ADomainRegistrar

          Re: To: support@ionos.co.uk

          https://allthe.domains - Cheap, supported EGM from the beginning and huge selection and great pricing (always happy to find a deal particularly if you have a few domains!)

      2. Recluse

        Re: To: support@ionos.co.uk

        An alternative registrar ?

        Mythic Beasts - see here https://www.mythic-beasts.com/domains

        (and as an added bonus in the forthcoming vote, they have already declared to oust the current Nominet squatters)

        1. Chewi

          Re: To: support@ionos.co.uk

          Thanks, I'll check them out. I meant to ask about this too as I really don't know who the good ones are. I use Zoneedit for DNS, who seem very good, but they don't sell .uk domains.

        2. Arthur the cat Silver badge

          Re: To: support@ionos.co.uk

          I'll second that support for Mythic Beasts. I've used them for several years now and wish I'd discovered them earlier. Nice people, short response times (unlike the lot I moved away from, who were next working day going on next working week), very helpful.

          Oh, and they tend to have a cat picture in most of their blog posts. :-)

          1. Ben Tasker Silver badge

            Re: To: support@ionos.co.uk

            I'll add a third vote, really can't fault them.

      3. Vometia Munro Bronze badge

        Re: To: support@ionos.co.uk

        I've been using Mythic Beasts for my registration and hosting stuff for a couple of years now and they've been awesome. It's so nice to deal with helpful, competent people.

    2. Roland6 Silver badge

      Re: To: support@ionos.co.uk

      >You're lucky I don't use Twitter.

      Probably worth creating a Twitter account just for this...

    3. iron Silver badge

      Re: To: support@ionos.co.uk

      I will be sending a very similar email to 1&1 / IONOS. Unfortunately I don't think my renewals are due till next year. :(

      Thanks to everyone recommending alternatives.

      1. doublelayer Silver badge

        Re: To: support@ionos.co.uk

        It's never too early to transfer a domain. As long as it's before your renewal period, you can transfer to someone else. I just did it, though more because the registrar in question was annoying me than their yet unannounced stance on this motion. I moved it to a supporter of the campaign. By the way, you can see a list of the supporters on the publicbenefit.uk site. There are 413 of them, but at least that's a starting point for choosing a new provider.

    4. Dominic Thomas

      Re: To: support@ionos.co.uk

      Just got this from Fasthosts, after a similar enquiry to your own:

      "Fasthosts as a member of Nominet are currently carefully considering the points highlighted by publicbenefit.uk. We are conscious that the proposed resolutions risk creating a de-stabilising effect and therefore the continuity of critical infrastructure which is important to our customers, our business and the wider community. We agree that changes for its members and of the focus are definitely required and given the importance of the vote we will be participating, once we have considered all of the key factors. "

      While that's actually rather more than I was expecting from them, I think they've already had plenty of time to "consider the key factors", and as they are using the same "de-stabilising" rhetoric as the current board I suspect they will indeed be voting No.

  6. Flocke Kroes Silver badge

    "the vote is destabilizing"

    Probably not the current manglement's most convincing slogan when many people have been unhappy with the status quo for years.

    1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

      Re: "the vote is destabilizing"

      Ah, but who's the campaign really aimed at? The danger here is that they persuade enough of the big registrars to join them, and then accept the hatred of the now powerless smaller members and run Nominet purely in the interests of the big boys - and themselves of course.

      I doubt it’ll happen. They probably don’t have enough to offer, and they may not want to be that unpopular. Plus they’re not ICANN, the government can step in, much more easily than the US can with ICANN.

      1. nematoad Silver badge
        Unhappy

        Re: "the vote is destabilizing"

        "...and run Nominet purely in the interests of the big boys..."

        So no change there then?

  7. Lon24 Silver badge

    Management incompetence

    Oh, this is getting nasty, the blood is beginning to flow. If Nominet squeeze through on March 22nd - it will not be the end but only get even more bitter.

    Who is responsible for these shambles? It's a basic tenet of good management to reconcile differences between stakeholders. This can be challenging when you have customers, shareholders and unions in a cut throat competitors like many of us do. Nominet has few of these. Reconciliation should be relatively easy with a competent management. Or was division being deliberately stoked by the current board? History proves they ignore and exploited us for their (and not Nominet's) interest. Targetting Simon is part of this. Even if he is all they say and more - it misses the point that he tapped and released the existing huge underlying dissatisfaction we have with Nominet's direction.

    Most (91%) had passively accepted the price hikes and were unaware of where the money had gone. Pressure of work didn't give time for many of us to understand what was happening. And I don't think I'm the only one who changed from passive to active not by what Simon said. No, it was the response which only proved what he claimed. Russell & friends appear to be creating more division which is the real threat to Nomiinet's future.

    The best and most immediate solution to end the Nominet board's self-imposed dysfunctionallity has a pearl handle.

    A Nominet Member

  8. lglethal Silver badge

    If you're a member..

    Please, for the love of all that is holy, VOTE. Don't look at the numbers here on El Reg and think, it's already won and you don't need to spend your time voting. VOTE. Make it clear that you care and that you're willing to spend the time to prove it. Otherwise, when all the shenanigans have passed, you may find yourself having missed your opportunity to remove these blood suckers.

    VOTE!!!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: If you're a member..

      Interesting parallels here with what happened with the IchemE, majority of members not interested in who manages so long as they do not have to do anything. Small group of ethically driven people fighting to restore the ideals behind notforprofit, end result is that small group loose vote as majority are shills/disinterested/bribe takers support management, over ethical group.

      What is happening here has happened before, I have seen the same withing with charities and siical support systems in the UK and seen that the majority end up carrying a lot of expensive management that always get bonuses, pensions etc even when the charity is crumbling. The laws in the UK seemingly protect these managements against any attempt to restore ethical behaviour almost as though abusing good deeds was actively supported by the state.

      Having seen this repeated over and again then it is clear to me at least that ethical behaviour in the UK carries a tax in the form of unethical management.

      Look at the ethical systems in the UK over the last 40 years and you see they have all usurped and any money redirected towards the leeches.

      I hope this time things are different but I do not believe they will.

      1. Chris Fox

        Re: If you're a member..

        ... and echos of BCS, circa 2010, as previously covered on El Reg.

    2. SImon Hobson Silver badge

      Re: If you're a member..

      If I had the cash, it would be tempting to have become a member just to be able to vote to oust these ****s. Regardless of the initial discussion points, their (current manglement) behaviour since the challenge has proven beyond any doubt that the challenge had to be made and will hopefully pass.

  9. Lucien Taylor

    This NED is testing the water

    No board would tolerate such a scary rant proposing to turn the monopoly benefits of the .uk domain into a cash cow for a big investor.

    The corporate vehicles have been established. The big players (Godaddy et al.) kept close. This NED has been let off the leash.

    We’ve now heard Nominet’s plan for the company should this EGM fail. We’ve yet to hear publicbenefit’s plan, but they won’t settle for that!

    1. Peter2 Silver badge

      Re: This NED is testing the water

      We’ve yet to hear publicbenefit’s plan, but they won’t settle for that!

      It's posted on their website.

      1. Lucien Taylor

        Re: This NED is testing the water

        No not their Plan (I totally get that) - their Plan B IF the EGM is defeated by the board. Hopefully it won't come to it, and the EGM will succeed ..

  10. Wellyboot Silver badge

    Threat / Not a threat

    >>>Thornton disagreed that he had made a threat. He said his words had been "mischaracterized," <<<

    Possibly a judge & jury will ge to decide that in the future, making personal attacks (threats?) is a far riskier game than saying someone is merely running an organisation badly (opinion).

  11. s. pam
    Mushroom

    no, No and HELL NO

    This insanity is about to come to a head and the only acceptable conclusion is immediate dismissal.

  12. Pascal Monett Silver badge
    FAIL

    Nope, not enough

    "freezing management's wages and domain renewal prices, increasing the amount of money paid to good causes, and creating new ways to communicate with members "

    Not enough. Management wages should not be frozen, they should be brought back to level they were before the unjustified augmentations. Do not increase the amount of money paid to good causes, set it to the amount it was before you slashed it so unjustly.

    And you need no "new" ways to communicate with members, you only need to reactivate the forum you already had before you decided that you didn't like the comments.

    I sincerely hope you crash and burn.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: I sincerely hope you crash and burn

      they may crash and burn, but I'm sure they'll find their valuable services welcome elsewhere. Mrs D. Harding is hiring.

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Unfortunately...

    With the way these things go, nothing is a certainty right now. I suspect this lot will be harder to dig out than an Alabama tick.

  14. Arthur the cat Silver badge
    Happy

    For the greater good

    So pleased you used that clip.

  15. Electronics'R'Us Silver badge
    FAIL

    The Greater Good

    This phrase has been used throughout history to try and justify bad practices from merely shady to outright murderous.

    For me, the greater good in this situation is that Nominet be the non-profit it is supposed to be and not a piggy bank for some executives.

    I hope the existing executive management become suddenly unemployed in a couple of weeks.

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I think that Nominet's response was about what you'd expect; it suggests that they have come up with a method of paying the largest members to vote for the existing board in exchange for their votes.

    ie; vote for us and we will seek to make Nominet a for profit company, and of course we'll pay dividends. This is if course far from being a released plan, but a cynic would suspect that it is probably based on something like xx% of profit to be distrubuted in accordance with the total domains under management.

  17. yetanotheraoc Silver badge

    Destabilizing

    PublicBenefit.uk should counter that voting for the status quo is only voting for stability in the short run. In the not-so-long run the current board will take out so much in excessive salaries that the organization will be bankrupt. At which point the current board will voluntarily exit en masse and a reorganization will be necessary anyway.

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    An alternative registrar ?

    I'd been checking out OVH - oops!

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