20i Domains

Nominet CEO/Chair - May 6th

Discussion in 'Nominet General Information' started by Siusaidh, Apr 30, 2021.

  1. Siusaidh

    Siusaidh Well-Known Member

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    As we approach the Web Meeting between Company Members and the Chair/CEO of Nominet on May 6th, what do we expect from this meeting?

    Will more members be invited to appear visually on screen and comment freely, rather than having selected questions filtered through a Nominet host who reads out the questions?

    Will the Nominet leadership “allow” free and open speech from members, or will they use process to filter and control input, and prevent any response, reaction, dialogue?

    What else do we know at this point?

    We know that both CEO and Chair have avoided answering questions about how much money was lost on Automated Cars and White Space Spectrum, including additional costs like staffing, legal advice, development. They clearly know how much the business cost them but they have declined to disclose that so far.

    We also know that both of them have declined to reveal the overall cost of CyGlass (including set up, running costs, staffing, etc), and what return the Company has had so far for this expenditure.

    We also know that Nominet is likely to have ‘bid low’ on what they will accept as return for running TLD back-end services (because to secure these contracts throughout the industry, it tends to be a race to the bottom to get the business). What we don’t know is the total outlay (including all staffing, legal work, extras, overheads, ongoing payments) and what return the Company has had so far. All this info is hidden from sight. In this area, some generalised financial overview may be necessary, but as competent leaders they must know roughly what’s gone out and what has come in so far. Collectively, for these back-end contracts, they have declined to give Company Members any idea of the current status and how much the Company is ‘down’ at this moment.

    In response to my enquiries, I gave Ellie and Rob ample time and opportunity to answer any or all of 17 questions on these topics. They failed to answer a single one. I had hoped we could discuss the losses on May 6th, but because of their evasion of the details, we just don’t know how much was lost on each of these four areas of venture. The facts are hidden.

    That is frankly shocking.

    Even overall sums spent/returned in each area would be a start. Any competent company tracks figures like these. Will they engage and disclose them? Will they also accept responsibility for these losses where they have occurred?

    On 28th April, Rob Binns (Acting Chair) wrote (scroll to foot of page): “We also intend to share some further information around the non .UK business in the next upcoming members call on May 6th.”

    What does “some” mean? Does it include information on what has actually been lost to date on each of these four investment areas?

    Finally: I’ve detailed one subject area for discussion, where I’ve got Rob to commit to “further information”. Others will have other topics of concern.

    What other questions and topics do members want raised at this meeting?
     
  2. Domain Forum

    Acorn Domains Elite Member

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    articles.co.uk
     
  3. sigh

    sigh Active Member

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    All questions will be 'filtered'. More of the same. But hey it's ok - they've hired a company to 'listen'. Rob will be gone soon along with the remaining trough feeders with any luck and hopefully 2nd time lucky on Eleanor (although I'm thinking a stake through the heart may be the only way to truly keep her down).
    Edited to add: Of course I'm not advocating hammering wood through vital organs of any person - I'm joking. Some of my best friends are undead.
     
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    Last edited: Apr 30, 2021
  4. Siusaidh

    Siusaidh Well-Known Member

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    Just a 'bump' and heads up that the Chair and CEO are available for questioning at the Web Meeting this Thursday May 6th between 4 and 5.

    Sign up here.
     
  5. willbon United Kingdom

    willbon Active Member

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    Do you have to register just to listen in?.. or is there a feed somewhere?
     
  6. Siusaidh

    Siusaidh Well-Known Member

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    I believe live access is individual, so I think you have to register, yes. The previous meeting on April 16th was posted on the Nominet Members' platform a few days afterwards, so I expect this one to be the same.

    On April 16th, over 40 members made time to attend, but the meeting was only 60 minutes long, and they ran out of time to take everybody's questions, which was frustrating for those who took the trouble to attend. In the meeting they seemed to imply that they'd make more time next time: Rob and Ellie themselves admitted that they needed to improve that, with the suggestion of allowing more time in future. Nick Wenban Smith said with reference to May 6th, "We can look at having a longer session," and again 10 minutes later he re-iterated, "We will look at having a longer session for the May call."

    However, the timescale for the meeting on May 6th is exactly the same: one hour, and a chunk of that will be taken up with their introductory presentation.

    I'd also add that it would be more genuine engagement if more people were able to ask their own questions via webcam, so they could voice them in their own style, expression and body language. It is better than most questions being 'filtered' through a staff member reading them out.

    It's also frustrating that questions get filtered through a Nominet staff member, instead of letting members ask the questions themselves via their webcams. I like to know tone and expression, including facial expression and body language, but the Nominet Board do like to 'control' these meetings as much as they can.

    It would be great if lots of people chose to attend - to put their questions to the Acting Chair and Interim CEO (who was sacked from the Board a few weeks ago).

    I want to know how many millions of pounds have been lost through the ventures this Board sanctioned - including CyGlass, Oxbotica/Automated cars, White Space Spectrum use of radio waves for mobiles, and newTLD back-end service contracts. Any of you free to ask questions on these would be great - 'how much money has gone out from Nominet because of venture 'a', and how much has been recouped to date?'

    The Board must track this info or they are totally incompetent, but they seem reluctant to divulge the extent of the losses from these ventures. CyGlass, for example, cost over £5million pounds to acquire, has cost further money on staff and overheads, but on one report made £150,000 from a single contract last year, and is just not a going concern. I am happy to be corrected by the Nominet Board but they just don't seem to want to be forthcoming. At least half a million pounds went into the aborted investment in the automated cars project and possibly more when you factor in staffing and overheads. As far as I know, no figure has been released for the overall loss from the White Space Spectrum venture, and what worries me most is the cost and viability of the newTLD back-end contracts, which I fear may have been 'low bid' for, with narrow returns, to secure the contracts. These may have shouldered considerable outlay, and could involve further ongoing loss for the Company. Again, we cannot know with certainty, but my concern is that the overall loss to Nominet from all these ventures may run into millions and millions of pounds.

    Many of the remaining directors on the 'remnant' Board share responsibility for mandating these ventures, acquisitions, contracts and aborted investments, and I feel they should make themselves accountable to Company Members, who have governance responsibilities - that's many of YOU - for ensuring the Company's leadership is financially competent, and viable for the future.
     
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  7. Siusaidh

    Siusaidh Well-Known Member

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    I have sent a further Open Letter to the Chair and CEO, which can be read here. To view the latest letter, scroll to the foot, but there is a whole running exchange.