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Why did Nominet change to giving .co.uk's registrants precedent for most .uk's?

Discussion in '.UK Domain Name Consultations' started by invincible, Nov 24, 2013.

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  1. invincible

    invincible Well-Known Member

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    Although this may have been explored in other threads I would like to specifically discuss this particular issue in a seperate thread in an attempt to really iron out what happened and why.

    Many of us went through two consultations prior to the final decision, released by Nominet this past week, detailing how forthcoming .uk domain names will be allocated. Consultation "v1" aimed to give trademark holders and other unregistered rights holders first refusal. That was forgotten about after so many negative responses. Many of the responses to v1 would possibly have suggested that .co.uk registrants should have been given first refusal. However Nominet responded by publishing consultation "v2" which aimed to give the current oldest registrant of a matching {.co|org|me|ltd|plc|net}.uk and possibly even sch.uk and ac.uk first refusal over the forthcoming .uk. Some considered "oldest registrant first" fairer but eventually, in response to v2, that was forgotten after probably many further negative responses to it. Finally Nominet skipped a third consultation, deciding to release a plan of action and giving all .co.uk registrants that existed at 23:59:59 on 28th October 2013 first refusal over the forthcoming .uk. Up until then I hadn't seen any indication from Nominet that the result could go that way. In many roundtable meetings in response to the v2 plan we had representatives from .ac.uk and gov.uk as well as charities. We all spent copious amounts of time listening to represenatives from some of those indicating that they might be quite interested in getting their hands on the matching .uk for their domain name registration. My assumption, in respect of the responses to v2, was that the overwhelming theme throughout the vast majorityof responses received must have been for .co.uk holders to be given first refusal. Furthermore it wouldn't surprise me if the Government felt that .co.uk registrants should be given first refusal as well.

    What I fail to grasp is why, until the recent "final" decision, which could have been released as a third consultation instead if Nominet had wanted to be absolutely sure of final opinions, the idea of giving .co.uk registrants first refusal hadn't been taken more seriously by Nominet earlier on. Why did their v2 consultation not consider it instead of the oldest possible registrant idea? Were they dead against the idea? Were they dragged kicking and screaming to the final decision that was recently published or was it just the normal way of consulting on such things (i.e. present something nobody wanted on two occasions before changing ones mind and finalising on something that was never presented in a prior draft consultion in the end)? :)

    I've read in their FAQ's an acknowledgement that oldest registrant first would have been difficult to impliment due to timestamps and confusing for end users. Surely they know this, before, when they published the v2 proposal? I certainly did and I told them in my response. However nobody at Nominet seemed to suggest that they knew it would be confusing and there was no prior hint that .co.uk given precident was the way it would end up.

    Did we as respondents really steer Nominet into the final decision because they had absolutely no clue beforehand that it was the best one, or did they know this beforehand and instead felt they needed to pretend they didn't and present two other possible solutions over the past 13 months?
     
    Last edited: Nov 24, 2013
  2. Domain Forum

    Acorn Domains Elite Member

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    articles.co.uk
     
  3. Edwin

    Edwin Well-Known Member Exclusive Member

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    The horse is dead. Can't we stop beating it?
     
  4. invincible

    invincible Well-Known Member

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    :) I feel this question is important. One day there'll be other consultations. I'm waiting the third consultation over the DRS. We had one in 2004 and another in 2008. A third is overdue. Get ready! ;-)
     
    Last edited: Nov 24, 2013
  5. Stephen United Kingdom

    Stephen Well-Known Member

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    Take on .co.uk

    This is my quick overview take on history on the .co.uk v .org.uk issue;

    V1 .uk was introduced as, it is all about UK business with lots of billions of £'s at stake, but Nominet forgot (kindest interpretation) about the existing 10,000,000 .co.uk domain holders

    When Nominet realized that the current stakeholders were not happy with the V1 proposal via the roundtables etc.
    Nominet formed plan "B" (see Telegraph Dec 12 - so before end of consultation) in which they wanted to be seen to be fair to the UK namespace, this meant as far as they could see based on first come first served they would try and rewrite history and give it to the oldest registrant and cite the 500,000 matched strings as a problem they were overcoming. They failed to supply numbers of joint ownership of .co.uk and .org.uk and other requested information that would undermine their plan 'B'.

    V1 feedback critical of whether .uk was needed at all, still overwhelmingly supported 'grandfathering rights' and there was no feedback in either of the the published summaries showing anybody in favour of .uk that wanted 'oldest first'.
    There were calls in the feedback to ask .org.uk if they wanted .uk or would they be happier anyway with .org.uk, those calls were ignored.
    If .org.uk was the case the biggest reason to even consider, if the report was done, the oldest first logic would have gone. This is now accepted in Nominet Q & A, that there is a benefit of 'not for profit' organizations staying with .org.uk.
    Other arguments against the 'oldest first' was feedback in V2, even though it was not specifically sought, was also ignored and never acknowledged in the V2 feedback summary.

    V2 Nominet ignored the V1 feedback as regards how should get rights to the .uk and went ahead with their own plan 'B' to be fair as they saw it, on the UK namespace.
    Nominet dropped the need for .uk for UK business completely.
    Nominet did not adequately consider the costs and time required for business to rebranding, that many pointed out in V1 feedback.
    Nominet did not fully consider the cost of informing everybody fully under an 'opt in' system and those that would loose out for a variety of reasons in such a system.

    V3 again a lot of 'no .uk' feedback, this was counted by several reports commissioned after the close of the consultation which helped support the case for .uk. The overwhelming 'yes to .uk' support was for .co.uk grandfathering rights.

    Nominet did finally look seriously at the V2 feedback, worked hard on it and came up with a plan that would be acceptable to the government and the vast majority of UK domain holders and very importantly provided 'automatic rights' not just the opt in system proposed.

    Nominet knew from there figures and maybe some logic / feedback, that there may be some .org.uk owners that would want to switch to .uk as 30% of .org.uk also held the .co.uk by adding the 28 10 13 .org.uk cut off rights, Nominet further protected the interests of .org.uk (for FTR .co.uk), so nearly 40% of .org.uk would be able to have .uk if they wanted it.
    I would guess although it is a thorny subject for some, that those .org.uk losing out who would want the .uk, would be mainly 'for profit' organizations, who trade on .org.uk as they could not obtain the .co.uk.

    Everyone has there own version of history, that is mine. It is not meant to cover all aspects of the process.

    Not a lot can be learned from history and I'm putting my effort in to trying to have the current implementation of .uk modified slightly to be even more acceptable and better for the UK namespace.
     
    Last edited: Nov 24, 2013
  6. anthony United Kingdom

    anthony Well-Known Member

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    Totally agree with you, it is very important. One has to remember that the vast majority of responses to V1 or V2 would have came from those with vested interests as registrars and domainers, with little or no feedback from bona fide end users. Certainly the majority here are still on the champagne because they can't believe their luck how, as .co.uk holders, things have turned out superb for them, they couldn't have wished for better, and are keen to ensure a last minute change of heart by Nominet isn't prompted by meaningful discussion of this 'bolt out of the blue' decision.

    Somewhere at the back of the minds of those at Nominet, they will know that the timestamp line is a very shitty excuse indeed, and frankly it doesn't stack up anyway, Nominet have all the data to support any investigations if they arise, even pre-nom data. I've seen this with my experiences of them, going back 2 years or so prior to Nominet's existence.

    A fair chunk of the highly valued .co.uk domains that would lose out to .org.uk based on age are those caught by domainers, the very group who have been a thorn in Nominet's side since the whole .uk idea was tabled, do Nominet think everyone is blind to that fact?

    Nominet seriously need to re-think this aspect of their decision instead of adopting a lazy and flawed approach on this point.
     
  7. websaway United Kingdom

    websaway Well-Known Member

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    Is this what you mean by meaningful discussion.

    http://www.acorndomains.co.uk/uk-do...ners-making-themselves-look-unreasonable.html

    How could you win people over to your points of view when you write in these terms.
     
  8. invincible

    invincible Well-Known Member

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    I believe the best decision has been reached, other than perhaps not doing it at all. However I never believed that not doing it was likely to be an option because in my opinion it is better to do something and potentially see the benefits, or argue about the flaws of having done it, than not do it at all and argue about "what if we had" when it is too late to do it now.

    What I was surprised about on Wednesday morning when I skimmed the Nominet press release for details of how they planned to allocate was reading that they were giving .co.uk registrants presidence. While I argued that they should, for many reasons, I was very surprised and I imagine many others reading this forum were when it was announced that it would be this way. I am sure others pinched themselves too. Let me repeat, I believe this is the right decision for the vast majority (not just large scale domain name investors), in particular end users who are the ones that have to understand the change. I am just surprised how it came about in the end.
     
  9. anthony United Kingdom

    anthony Well-Known Member

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  10. websaway United Kingdom

    websaway Well-Known Member

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    Do you maybe think the final decision was the only one that would be accepted as a way forward by an overwhelming proportion of stakeholders and that the only alternative therefore being a further consultation which would have loaded further damage upon the already ravaged uk namespace.
    Further consultation would have been a worse case scenario even for the disappointed few who thought we were in for a windfall via some org.uk's and me.uk's.
    .uk is intended to be the flagship of the uk namespace and only commercial business can elevate it to that level, therefore it had to be a transitional programme for co.uk registrants, which is of course the commercial extension.
     
  11. Edwin

    Edwin Well-Known Member Exclusive Member

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    V1 gave precedence to nobody (well, trademark holders) and was roundly rejected.
    V2 gave precedence to oldest first, and was roundly rejected.
    So for V3, Nominet chose the only remaining logical release path, i.e. that of .co.uk first.
     
  12. websaway United Kingdom

    websaway Well-Known Member

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    I don't think protecting what you already own is a definition of greed.
    Trying to obtain something that you have no demonstrable right to might be.
     
  13. anthony United Kingdom

    anthony Well-Known Member

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    I'm not a believer in the "if you say it often enough it becomes the truth" approach, no such restriction will be placed on .uk by Nominet, you're simply lending your desires to suit your arguement.
     
  14. Sound United Kingdom

    Sound Well-Known Member

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    I think the above is probably why you started this thread are you looking for a pat on the back?

    Many members don't seem to understand how a consultation works and are surprised when at the end the result is in the best interests of the majority
     
  15. invincible

    invincible Well-Known Member

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    I wonder what might have been substantially different if you'd suggested that .co.uk registrants were given presedence in your response to v1. Would v2's consultation have suggested it and would we have had all those representatives at those roundtable meetings.

    (Note 3)
     
  16. websaway United Kingdom

    websaway Well-Known Member

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    Yes I see what you are saying but it's my educated belief that Nominet see the .uk as the long term Flagship of the uk namespace for Business.
    The transition from co.uk to .uk is the challenge which it seems they have, to some degree anyway, overcome at least the first couple of hurdles.
     
  17. invincible

    invincible Well-Known Member

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    No. I honestly couldn't actually care 2p about recognition or lack of it. :) The first two posts in this thread detail why I'm asking. That post you quoted was very tongue in cheek.


    (from iPhone)
     
    Last edited: Nov 24, 2013
  18. ANY-Web Germany

    ANY-Web Member Exclusive Member

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    V3 - Nominet pushing ahead regardless

    Invincible - since you ask, here is my take on things.
    As you know I am vehemently opposed to direct.UK and will remain so.

    I broadly agree with Stephen's interpretation of how things unfolded.
    My take on events is that it is all about money (surprise, surprise) and how things would look in a courtroom situation for Nominet.

    When V3 came out I could not believe what was happening.
    It was a masterstroke by Nominet. Avoid a 3rd consultation, go straight to an announcement, release 2nd level .UK names as soon as possible and start printing money.
    Chapeau.

    By awarding grandfathering rights to the .co.uk Nominet automatically solved the 1&2 letter auction problem, which would have brought litigation and a lot of bad publicity for Nominet (particularly as a certain former board member of Nominet and auction participant would have handsomely benefited from V2).

    When you looked at the V2 "oldest registrant first" proposal and saw the list of potential corporate .co.uk victims (Hotmail, Windows, Wimbledon, Gap, Dreams, etc) it was pretty clear that there was a strong likelihood of legal action against Nominet by the business community.
    It would have mired Nominet (and its friends in DCMS) in controversy for a number of years, and would not have been good for the prospects of the .UK namespace.

    With priority given to .co.uk owners in V3, the possibility of legal action has receded and most likely evaporated. I can't see universities and charities suing Nominet - Nominet would simply argue that .ac.uk and .org.uk were created for such organisations and they should remain there.

    The 5 years rights option in V3 is again a masterstroke.
    In my view market forces will push towards adoption of second level .UK names much earlier. But by giving an option period of 5 years, Nominet will be able to claim in any potential court case that it has done its utmost to protect registrants from harm.

    The other thing I want to give Nominet credit for in V3 is the protection of charities by having the October 2013 cut-off date for the .UK rights. There are many charities who did not register the .co.uk variant of their charity name and who now do not need to worry.

    (While I am on the subject of credit I have been very remiss in not thanking some people publicly who have been particularly instrumental in making Nominet aware of issues:
    - Paul Keating from www.law.es, who worked tirelessly behind the scenes for the rights of the 1&2 letter domain auction participants and provided excellent legal advice throughout the consultation meetings.
    - Stephen Wilde, whose persistence on this forum shamed many of us into action on several occasions. Stephen - you deserve a medal for all your hard work.
    - Edwin Hayward, whose grasp of data and detail never fails to surprise me. Edwin - thank you for not throwing in the towel after a lot of personal attacks on the forum when V2 came out.
    - and of course Invincible...!)

    Many people have got in touch and asked me if I was now happy with the outcome of V3.
    Sadly, I am not. I really, truly, wish I were.
    The best outcome would have been for the .UK proposal to be scrapped.

    V3 is the most pragmatic solution to a problem that cannot be solved.
    .UK should not go ahead.

    The domaining community has fought a hard battle with Nominet over issues that should have been taken up by business associations like the FSB, the CBI and the TaxPayers' Alliance.

    Now all I can hope for is that someone/something somewhere will stop .UK completely.
    Dear Santa - that is my wish for Christmas.
     
  19. anthony United Kingdom

    anthony Well-Known Member

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    I don't buy into the legal action bit. Like any other new release, there never has been any legal right to a domain name, and certainly not because you own the .co.uk (any more than if you owned the .org.uk). Such a right has never been intimated in the history of domain releases in the UK, and frankly it would never get past first base in a Court. Remember, usage & the DRS has ample precident in this area.

    In spite of this though, it has suited the arguements of the domainer community to punt this fear!
     
  20. Edwin

    Edwin Well-Known Member Exclusive Member

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    You don't have to wait until you have a "winning argument" to take legal action - you just have to have the bare makings of "an argument" (it doesn't even have to be logical if you're creative at putting together a case). If you've got a roomful of corporate lawyers on the payroll, you might as well "have a go" even if you ultimately end up losing. Big companies take legal actions every day that ultimately go nowhere.

    Defending the other end of that process can be exceedingly expensive, regardless of the ultimate finding.
     
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