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The Appearance of Bias

Discussion in 'Nominet General Information' started by Siusaidh, Jul 25, 2020.

  1. Siusaidh United Kingdom

    Siusaidh Active Member

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    Not only does Nominet apportion more votes and consequent influence to the largest Registrars, to the equivalent disadvantage of smaller registrars and members, but - perhaps as a result of that - we find Large Registrars represented on the Nominet Board... registrars whose companies 'benefit from understandings' with Nominet... for example over the .uk mass-registrations.

    Now let me be clear: I am not personally attacking James and Kelly, the Board members who work for GoDaddy and Namesco. Nor am I saying that anything illegal has taken place. It is even possible, though scarcely provable, that James and Kelly distance themselves from all decision-making and policy development that involves their companies. But even so, there is the real danger of a perceived Conflict of Interest, and this issue:

    The Appearance of Bias.

    That really matters. In a statement this week, on a different matter involving a Church legal case, Lord Carlile made this very pertinent point:

    There cannot be "equal opportunity if there are conflicts of interest involved. Anyone with a conflict of interest must leave the deliberations and take no further part. This is what lawyers understand as the law of apparent bias. It’s not to say that such people are biased: that’s often misunderstood. It is the appearance of bias that matters.

    Having people on a core group with a conflict of interest is simply not sustainable."

    Now, even if Large Registrar board members technically absent themselves from certain votes, there is all the unminuted collaboration and influence that may be brought to bear on a company behind the scenes, when vested interests are not kept at sufficient arms length outside the company. In my opinion, whatever expertise they may offer, they should not be right at the core of the company and members of the Board.

    Conflict of interest is an obvious concern for other members. The appearance of bias is itself unacceptable, and should be avoided in the interests of transparency and trust.
     
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  2. Domain Forum

    Acorn Domains Elite Member

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  3. lazarus

    lazarus Well-Known Member Exclusive Member

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    Lord Carlile is absolutely correct. These wise words apply to Nominet's board structure to a tee.

    Having board members from the market leading companies is a bad idea. Full stop

    Also these companies having such large voting rights, It's practically turned into a monopoly. It should be capped.
     
  4. mcrick United Kingdom

    mcrick Member

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    1. Nominet apportions votes to registrars based on the number of domain names they have under management ("DUM"). Are you suggesting this is somehow unfair? If so, why? What do you suggest might be better and why?

    2. You don't mention that no registrar may exceed 3% of the total vote cast in any election. Are you unaware of this?

    3. Employees who also work for registrars with larger DUM do fill some of the elected NED seats. 50% at the moment. These registrars contribute larger amounts of revenue to Nominet that some others. What would you suggested instead where Nominet can benefit from the advice these NED's can contribute? Would you suggest an all appointed Board?

    4. Why do you think there are votes at Board level?
     
  5. LCHappy United Kingdom

    LCHappy Active Member

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    It's already a breach of the companies act - "unfair prejudice"

    https://www.clarionsolicitors.com/blog/unfair-prejudice-a-quick-guide

    "you first need to be able to show that the conduct in question relates to the running of the business and affects you in your capacity as a shareholder"

    "If that box can be ticked, then the next hurdle for you to overcome is to demonstrate that the conduct of which you are complaining is both unfair and prejudicial – establishing just one element alone is not sufficient."

    Large registrars don't pay the same price for domains as the rest of us, it hampers our ability to compete, and it hampers new entrants ability to enter the marker on a level playing field and compete.

    Dig out 50k between you and see if the High Court agrees.
     
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