20i Domains

Proposal to remove Nominet members from the governance of the company

Discussion in 'Nominet General Information' started by Siusaidh, Mar 6, 2021.

  1. Siusaidh

    Siusaidh Active Member

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    Our old friend David Thornton, beloved Board member of Nominet, has been active on a media platform overnight.

    He proposes (and is this an approach being more widely considered by the Board) that in the future members should be excluded from the governance of the company. Instead he wants to turn Nominet into a public 'for profit' company, controlled by shareholders.

    Of course, this could mean Nominet shares being bought up by one or a few very large companies, which would mean that they get effective control of decisions like domain price and executive pay, and the whole direction of Nominet.

    The regular pattern in the tech industry is that, once this happens, large 'predator' companies tend to 'consolidate' their power by consuming smaller companies.

    This proposal of David's would seem to be an extension of the expand into the corporate world tendencies of Russell, with people who used to be members to whom the company was accountable, being removed from governance.

    This 'vision' of David's is on another planet from the EGM objectives. He doesn't seem to want to be accountable to members a day longer than necessary. In his view, members' role is to have access to domains at wholesale price, but power over future prices would pass to dominant shareholders. It's the opposite direction to where the supporters of the EGM want Nominet to go.

    He wants to take members' power away, whereas over 400 members have supported the EGM and want to protect Nominet from corporate predators, keep Nominet not-for-profit, and see it return to what it was originally tasked to do.

    His proposal, I suggest, would abandon all semblance of the company being accountable to 'members', in favour of 'the big boys' who will move in, and determine pay and prices.

    If his proposal reflects wider Nominet thinking about the future, then far from 'wanting to listen to members', the outcome would be the removal of members altogether, as an inconvenient check on company ambition - David likening us to 'members of a Golf Club'. Shares would get bought up and the market and the corporates would take over.

    This is my assessment of his views, but of course David could come here and speak for himself providing he didn't come under a pseudonym as some believe he has before, or unless the site owner regarded him as 'persona non grata'.

    As things stand, 'what David thinks' is far less important than 'what the members think' at the EGM. His proposal seems to be exactly what Simon Blackler and the 400+ supporters of the EGM are opposed to.
     
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  2. Domain Forum

    Acorn Domains Elite Member

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    articles.co.uk
     
  3. JMI

    JMI Active Member Acorn Supporter

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    We need to kick these appalling people out once and for good and stop this tyranny.
     
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  4. Siusaidh

    Siusaidh Active Member

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    For those of you signed up to Hostmasters.uk (any Nominet member can) David's comments and responses to it start here.

    You can sign up for access: here. Although it refers to a mailing list, that is optional, and you can opt just to view comments via the website if you wish.

    Meanwhile 408 members have now signed up, calling for the removal of the Nominet leadership.
     
  5. webber

    webber Active Member

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    What Mr Thornton is talking about is outrageous. I hope he is just trolling us as he frequently does.
    But let's deal with one issue at a time. Let's get the necessary votes to pass the EGM resolution, give the remaining board the chance to prove that they are indeed capable of listening to members, and hopefully get things back on track with minimum disruption.
    If that's not possible then we can talk about EGM v2
     
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  6. Johnp United Kingdom

    Johnp Active Member

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    I think David T. is on mission to stir up reactions from members which can then be used as evidence to HMG to say that the members can't be trusted. I think there may be a Plan B for the current board to go running to HMG to say that the company needs to be protected from these 'dangerous' members that HMG must act expeditiously to 'keep the lights on'. It is a script and a scare tactic that has played out before.

    Nominet as a registry is a monopoly and a license to print money and therefore if run purely as a commercial venture would in my opinion have to be regulated like a water company, with price controls and limits on what the regulated side of the business could do. If that is direction Nominet goes then I could live with that, what I fear is that in haste HMG will be asked to intervene to change the legal structure and ditch the membership without a proper argument being made to HMG about how Nominet as a company should be regulated, to protect the interests of the consumers.

    The current checks and balances are pretty weak which is why we have reached this extraordinary position of the current EGM, which appears to have more member support than any other decision enacted by the board in the last 10+ years. The problem is that in the scheme of things running the UK registry and Nominet as a company is 'small beer' hence why it was never sold off or previously put into some regulatory regime, whilst things were seen to be running fine. I believe the current board want all the benefits of running a private monopoly(they will say that it is not), but without any controls and we will see a masterclass in spin as to why HMG must act to save the company to keep DNS working for the Police, NHS etc.

    I think we should focus on the current EGM and not allow David T. to wind us all up, wherever he chooses to post next. I personally have decided not to engage with comments addressed to me by David T. on that other forum.


    JohnP
     
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    Last edited: Mar 6, 2021
  7. stitchbob

    stitchbob Active Member

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    This is pretty clearly an "oh shit, this is bad, let's try and make sure it can't happen again" move by the remaining board. I feel like an immediate EGM in response, to remove any board members who are clearly trying to act against the best interests of the membership, is the appropriate response here.
     
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  8. Ben Thomas

    Ben Thomas Well-Known Member

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    Can anybody really believe this guy is a member elected director of Nominet? lol. This is before my time as a domainer, looks like he was elected in 2015. Did you all instantly regret that decision or... ? :D
     
  9. stitchbob

    stitchbob Active Member

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    The thing is, member engagement is not particularly high by design. As long as things are generally satisfactory, the average member doesn't care enough about the administrative side of Nominet to vote, so it doesnt really take much to swing a vote.

    The fact that the current EGM has gathered so much support is hugely indicative of precisely how messed up the current situation actually is.
     
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  10. martin-s United Kingdom

    martin-s Well-Known Member

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    Yes, pretty much instantly.
     
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