Discussion in 'Nominet General Information' started by bb99, Mar 16, 2006.
Nominet needs to start listening instead of wasting money - that EGM vote must have cost a fortune.
S00501 Pipex Communications Hosting Ltd - 1043
S00929 Fasthosts Internet Ltd - 919
You do the math 'cos I'm too tired.
And if you are really up for research we have ....
S00069 Pipex Communications UK Ltd - 5
S00089 Pipex Communications UK Ltd - 12
S00653 Pipex UK Business Solutions Ltd - 5
Hazel - first of all my heartfelt congratulations for the campaign that you ran. No doubt you needed a good night's sleep!
If my understanding of the maths is right - and I'm no mathematician - if Pipex and Fasthosts had voted yes then all three motions would have achieved their required majorities. While about 10% of Nominet members voted - with the Big 3 voting nearly half of the total votes were cast.
I don't know why they seemingly changed their minds - if you had anything to do with Hazel then even bigger congratulations - but it does not alter the fact that the EGM confirmed that Nominet is essentially owned and controlled by 3 corporate members.
I'm curious as to how this rather odd arrangement of weighted voting came to pass - it is not normal in my experience in companies limited by guarantee. In fact one reason for a limit by guarantee and to individual membership (e.g. on a bigger scale the governing bodies of the rugby unions) is to prevent a situation with shares where one or more members can buy up control. Has Nominet always had this arrangement or was it introduced at some point during the past 10 years?
Either way, what we now have is a profitable (and potentially more profitable if bloated salaries are removed) cash cow with no competition controlled by three corporates. Since any change to the weighted voting is going to be rejected by them - turkeys and Christmas comes to mind - then I think a more radical solution needs to be considered.
I propose that Nominet is bolted onto the Patent Office down in Newport. Its an independent government agency, ten times the size of Nominet on headcount, which is well used to running a more complex set of databases and rules than are required to maintain the .uk registry.
Not just me. Several people put a lot of time and energy into this campaign.
On a simple majority basis yes. But this ballot required a 90% vote in favour and even had the big 3 all voted yes Resolution 1 may still have fallen due to the votes cast against by other members.
A pyrrhic victory.
History shows that the empire always strikes back.
I would be interested to know if Pipex, Tucows etc paid more for their membership than everyone else ??. If they didnt then on what proper grounds did they get better voting rights ?. Might be some breach there .
You're right I think - but only by a whisker below the 90% - and only this time. Next time, even with your campaigning, they might all agree with the board on something more favourable to the Big 3 and railroad it through.
Let's be honest, the vehicle devised in 1996 is simply no longer tenable - and the .uk domains are a national asset and not something that should ever be within the grasp of a few companies with vested interests. It's either going to be commercial interests in control or a government agency - and I know which I would prefer!
They don't pay more for their membership. However they do pay more into Nominet's coffers - since the weighting is done on the basis of revenue (from registrations) generated. So in effect, they benefit twice from normal business activity - once by making a profit from the registrations; and a second time from having a huge amount more influence over Nominet.
Again I ask for someone with more knowledge of Nominet to please tell us how and why this very unusual weighted voting method was adodopted.
It was before my time but I believe it was adopted to prevent the company being taken over. Once upon a time some people noticed that all they needed to do was get enough memberships to be able to swing a vote any which way they wanted. They decided that the overall price of getting all those memberships was a worthwhile investment if overall control of Nominet would be the outcome. So Nominet foiled that plan by introducing weighted voting as an anti-capture measure. So then just having a membership wasn't enough - you also needed some domains registered and linked with that membership number.
It was a good idea and it suceeded in it's aim at the time.
I thought they made a huge loss on domain registrations. It could be argued that they subsidise everyone else.
I'm not someone who registers a lot of domains - but from the figures that I can see:
It costs a Nominet member £5 plus vat to register a domain for two years;
123 Reg charges £2.59 plus vat PA - so £5.18 plus vat (with some bulk discounting)
1and1 charges £3.98 inc VAT for two years - so does make a loss on a domain registration.
UKReg charges £2.95 plus VAT - so £5.90 plus VAT for 2 years.
Without factoring in costs and overheads - two of them seem to make a profit and one a loss. I guess all of them try to make most of their revenue from add on sales - I don't know how useful these bare domains are to a consumer. In any event all three companies are in it to make a profit and I doubt that they have set their prices to subsidise the other Nominet members.
I don't think they give two hoots about other members, but I read somewhere that 123 Reg/ Pipex/ Host Europe are losing millions every year on domains.
Thanks for the explaination Hazel. However any decent company lawyer should have realised that then all one needed for control was control/agreement from a few big players.
Perhaps when the numbers of members and registered domains were small it made sense - now that there are many members, getting control by acquiring 90% of 3,000 odd members is virtually impossible - while getting control by setting the agenda from a handful of big players is not only possible but also highly likely.
The ultimate and unavoidable problem is that Nominet is a private company.
If so - and the numbers don't seem to say that - then at the very least they are using them as a "loss leader" to make money in other ways. They aren't doing it for fun. So it is a commercial decision to offer bulk registration - which brings with it control of Nominet and the .uk register as a side bonus. Is that appropriate?
This issue was discussed at length on (I think) the Nom-Steer mailing list a while back.
The problem is that, in order to change to "one member, one vote" rather than the current weighted system, you've got to ballot the members. And this ballot is of course under the current weighted system.
That's not to say the larger members wouldn't agree to it - it's never been tested.
They are about as likely to vote for it as turkeys are for Christmas!
So Government needs to step in and require Nominet to be wound up - and control and its assets given to the Patent Office or some start up government agency - before the Big 3 seize the it for themselves.
Yes, sorry, I forgot to put a at the end of my sentence!
Interesting article by the Times Online:
"What does Pipex have in the pipeline?"
Looking at the figures I'd guess that one of the big 3 did vote yes.
Separate names with a comma.