20i Domains

Message from the Nominet Board

Discussion in 'Nominet General Information' started by Acorn Newsbot, Feb 9, 2021.

  1. Acorn Newsbot

    Acorn Newsbot Junior Member

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    Dear Nominet Member,

    As you may know, a group of members has requested an Extraordinary General Meeting of the Nominet membership with the aim of dismissing half of the Board members, including the entire senior executive team. Our bylaws obligate us to put this resolution to a vote and we are working out the necessary measures to do so.

    I am writing today to voice strong opposition to this effort, but also to explain that we are implementing a suite of measures which directly address concerns raised by the membership.

    Our view


    Whatever the intention, the EGM proposal destabilises the organisation and, as a result, is not in the interest of members, registrars or registrants. If the EGM initiative achieves its aims, it will leave the company leaderless and facing an exodus of the highly-skilled staff we depend on to maintain the highly complex registry service we provide. It will erode trust and confidence in .UK, which is part of critical national infrastructure, and put Nominet’s independence at risk.

    A positive agenda


    However, we do recognise that the issues at the heart of the EGM reflect broader concerns among the membership about governance and members’ influence on the registry business.

    The Board and the leadership team have in fact been working on a programme of initiatives over many months. We believe that taken together they offer solutions to the concerns we have heard ourselves and those spelt out in the EGM proposal.

    Those measures, outlined below, include freezing .UK prices and increasing public benefit spending. They will be implemented in the days and weeks following the EGM, on the basis that the resolution is defeated.

    1. Scaling our commitment to Public Benefit: We have developed an effective public benefit programme which tackles some of the most important digital issues facing young people today. We are scaling up this work and will have committed £4 million by June, double the amount of last year. In future years we will devote 10% of revenues to public benefit initiatives, putting Nominet at the forefront of UK businesses committed to purpose and good causes.
    2. Freezing .UK prices for at least the next two years: Recognising the difficult economic climate for many businesses, we will implement a price freeze until at least the end of 2022.
    3. Addressing Board remuneration: We will likewise freeze board-level pay through the end of 2022.
    4. Investing in .UK infrastructure: running a secure and reliable internet domain space has become an increasingly complex task. We are investing £20 million over the next three years in our next generation registry infrastructure, drawing on our reserves for the funding.
    5. Launching a Registry Advisory Council (RAC): This will be a new body with members elected directly by different sectors of the membership. The RAC Chair will be a member-elected Non-Executive director on the main board, and its remit will include a key role in price setting and policy making.
    6. Improving membership engagement: We are launching a new Member Hub, giving members access to useful statistics and information. We also acknowledge that the decision to close the Nominet Forum, and the way in which this was done, damaged our relationship with some members in a way we had not intended. In conjunction with the RAC, we will therefore launch a well-governed next-generation member forum.
    7. Increasing financial transparency: From our next financial year, we will give greater clarity about the investment in, and performance of, the Cyber Business unit.
    It is important to put these initiatives in context


    I am proud that members and the wider internet community have been able to depend on the service we provide for every second of our 25 year history. That technical track record is matched by our commitment to providing outstanding customer service to registrars and registrants alike.

    At the same time, we were amongst the first registries to explore cyber security as an essential capability for the organisation. We did so to safeguard .UK. Others have since followed suit. As a result of our efforts, we are now at the forefront of using the DNS to secure as well as connect.

    Our work prompted the UK government to ask us to extend those defences across public sector communications networks, including the NHS. I hope that members are proud that Nominet has become a UK champion in this critical area and our technology is in demand. It is to the company’s advantage that we can generate new revenue streams by deploying that technology elsewhere. These revenue streams will help secure Nominet’s future.

    There is not a binary choice between having a cyber security business and staying focussed on the .UK registry. Still, we recognise that doing both has created tensions between our core obligations as a membership organisation and our responsibilities to a growing customer base. This led the Board to develop the programme of initiatives outlined above.

    Our message to members


    I’d like to close by reinforcing a point that I made at the start of this letter: the stakes in this debate are extremely high for Nominet. Plunging our organisation into uncharted waters is not in the best interests of the members, registrars or registrants. Nominet is a highly complex business that requires experienced and high-calibre management.

    For now, my message is quite simple: I believe that we have set the right course for Nominet, and shown a willingness to address concerns that members have. We will continue to do so while offering members the stability and service that they have come to expect from us.

    In the comings days, we will explore our initiatives in greater depth on the blog and in email updates.

    I welcome a good, robust debate on all these points, conducted in the right way.

    And I hope that we can all keep in mind that we have a shared goal: to do what’s best for Nominet, our members, and those who rely on us.

    The post Message from the Nominet Board appeared first on Nominet.

    Continue reading...
     
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  2. Domain Forum

    Acorn Domains Elite Member

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    articles.co.uk
     
  3. Nigel United Kingdom

    Nigel Well-Known Member

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    So they freeze .uk prices and board pay for less than 2 years - then what!!
    Seems like this message from Nominet has had the desired effect. There has been a flurry of support on the publicbenefit.uk site in the last hour with 13.5% of all votes now supporting the EGM :)
     
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  4. webber

    webber Active Member

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    ... pack up and go home. Simple!
     
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  5. CreativeMix United Kingdom

    CreativeMix Active Member

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    This is pure FUD.

    The only remit of Nominet is to maintain the .uk registry and the job of the employees is to carry out that remit. Discounting the introduction of .uk, the registry has shrunk under Mr Howarth's tenure as CEO meaning he and the other executives have failed at their basic duty.

    All that members and the public should care about is that the focus of the company is the registry but Mr Howarth and his team - aided by a overly compliant board - are gambling that by embarking on a series of self serving ego projects. It must be stopped!

    Let's not forget that we've been here before when the same type of scare mongering was employed in order to get smaller members to vote away many of our rights, I hope people don't swallow this garbage and allow history to repeat itself. This isn't a large registrars vs the rest of us argument, all the membership should recognise the arrogance and contempt that has been displayed by the executives and the board.

    We need a board whose sole focus is the registry and a board that holds executives to account.
     
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  6. sigh Malta

    sigh Active Member

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    Do we need to debate? I don't think so. Bye Mark. Maybe we'll converse with your replacement through channels you haven't shut down or chosen to ignore...oh...
     
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  7. anthony United Kingdom

    anthony Well-Known Member

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    Way too little, way too late. Nominet needs its powerful levels of self determination stripped away, and have external accountability at a much higher level.
     
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  8. Siusaidh

    Siusaidh Active Member

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    The letter from Mark is a teeny-weeny 'cave in'. However, quite obviously, the driving motivation is self-preservation, otherwise all the behaviours of previous years wouldn't have happened. Past record leads many people to think that these promises are basically window dressing, aimed to stave off a new regime and a reform of Nominet.

    Freezing domain prices and executive pay can be promised as a temporary holding position, faced with the EGM, but who knows (based on previous behaviour) what will happen after the 2 years? The point is that Board and Executive pay has already increased disproportionately, and should be reduced, not frozen temporarily.

    The RAC council is in my opinion a trap. Nobody asked members in advance in what form they wanted to be represented or given actual power in Nominet's decision-making. The RAC idea looks to me like a top-down strategy for controlling member influence through a filtered 'in-house' group, which member for member gives hugely disproportionate influence to Nominet's friends in the largest registrar companies. It's an initiative that increases Nominet control, run on Nominet's terms, and was announced without members asking them to do so. I've seen how ICANN did a similar thing with the At Large, introducing the far more toothless ALAC, contained within ICANN. This is very similar. But seriously, do they take us for fools?

    Under pressure, there has been an admission (but note - not an apology) that the way the member forum was closed down 'damaged our relationship with some members.' It was more than that: it was unbelievably crass and rude, and a very unpleasant show of power, right in the middle of the AGM, and frankly epitomised the 'we can get away with it' culture of an executive no longer trusted. An executive that seems to many to be US-corporate, macho in its methods and behaviour.

    Lastly, Mark goes 'full Project fear' alleging that the EGM when it succeeds "will leave the company leaderless and facing an exodus of the highly-skilled staff we depend on". This is balderdash.

    Of course it won't. There will be a new team at the head, but there is no reason to believe that this so-called 'Exodus' will take place. If anything, some employees may be pleased to have a new regime. I think the whole tone of Mark's letter is aimed at fobbing off members with promises, and a future where they 'say' they will do things better.

    However, there is one thing just not recognised. That is: a loss of trust.

    The Board and CEO have lost the confidence of the members. No amount of last-minute promises will change that. This loss of confidence has grown and grown over many years. This is why a change of leadership now seems unavoidable.
     
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  9. webber

    webber Active Member

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    Soon after Mark's blog post was published, 17 new members pledged their support for the EGM and got the total number to 200, a massive spike compared to the last 48h trend. Goes to show how reassuring his message was...
     
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    Last edited: Feb 9, 2021
  10. Ben Thomas

    Ben Thomas Well-Known Member

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    The ramblings of a desperate man.

    I mean ... "Recognising the difficult economic climate for many businesses, we will implement a price freeze until at least the end of 2022." Behave yourself will you :D

    Too little too late comes to mind.

    Poppycock!
     
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  11. aZooZa

    aZooZa Well-Known Member Exclusive Member

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    Pure condescension. I feel sorry for the most excellent front line service employees at Nominet. I've never dealt with a better CS team.
     
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  12. anthony United Kingdom

    anthony Well-Known Member

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    Lions led by donkeys!
     
  13. Siusaidh

    Siusaidh Active Member

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    Over a million votes now pledged in favour of Nominet reform and a new Board, and 351 registrars have signed up so far.

    Nominet have posted all members the message from the present Chair, Mark Wood, in A4 envelopes (more expensive postage).

    If anyone else wants a fresh start for the UK namespace, and hasn't signed up yet, the link is here, and at the top of this page.
     
    Last edited: Feb 25, 2021
  14. super-whois United Kingdom

    super-whois Active Member

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    Not long had mine. Completely disgraceful, someone at Nominet should resign over sending what could be sent in a C5 envelope, or simply sent by email as done yesterday in accordance with my communication preferences.
     
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  15. Pedigree United Kingdom

    Pedigree Active Member Acorn Supporter

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    Thought exactly the same when I opened my A4 Premium Envelope this morning. Was disgusted by the flippant waste of money as well as adding to an already overstretched royal mail service during the pandemic.

    CLOWNS!
     
  16. super-whois United Kingdom

    super-whois Active Member

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    That's being rather impolite to circus clowns, who have been unable to perform and earn over the last year.

    I can think of some appropriate strong words, but I won't say them here!
     
  17. TinkyWinky United Kingdom

    TinkyWinky Well-Known Member Acorn Supporter

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    A letter, discussed internally and prepared by the exec team, representing a last throw of the dice to hold on to their exhorbitant salaries and cushy positions.

    Nothing more nothing less.

    Will the last member of the executive team remember to turn out the lights when you go - may as well try to offset the waste of envelope and paper.
     
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  18. getmein United Kingdom

    getmein Active Member Exclusive Member

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    Excellent news for the board, having had to labour under the yoke of profit for a purpose, they can now set themselves free and earn what they rightly deserve in the private sector. We shall miss them.
     
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  19. keys United Kingdom

    keys Well-Known Member

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    The previous Nominet CEO, deservedly removed from office, had little to offer private sector looking at subsequent meagre salary.
     
  20. dee

    dee Well-Known Member Acorn Supporter

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    From what to what, do you mind saying?
     
  21. TinkyWinky United Kingdom

    TinkyWinky Well-Known Member Acorn Supporter

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    On the "Undecided" interesting the only two prominent UK companies are :

    UK2

    IOMART

    I will certainly be ensuring they get no more of my business, nor any of my clients business in the future.

    Wish some of these companies would get a backbone and put their profits to one side for once.