.UK under threat?

FM

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There's been a revolt coming against the current Nominet board and voting for Nominet members is closing in 3 days. In an attempt to sway the vote, the board now has made some concessions.

The main complaints of the campaign that the current board has (from 2016-2020):

* Reduced public benefit donations 65% (from £5.4M to £1.9M)
* Reduced operating profit 38% (from £8M to £5M)
* Increased Top 3 Director pay 70% (from £1M to £1.7M)
* Ignored members' concerns and input
* Tried to silence critics, the press and members


A summary of what happened so far:
https://www.theregister.com/2021/02/11/nominet_board_offer/
The Register said:
Nominet vows to freeze wages and prices, boost donations, and be more open. For many members, it’s too little, too late

The board of .uk registry operator Nominet has offered a series of concessions to its members in an effort to win back their support in advance of an extraordinary meeting that could see most of them fired.

The campaign website collecting signatures: https://publicbenefit.uk/

The response from the board:
The CEO of Nominet said:
Business Continuity Under Threat

The advocates of the EGM resolution argue that both firing the leadership and reducing the price of domains will not have any serious impact on the organisation. But cutting prices will ultimately lead to sustained under-investment in the registry. Coupled with another demand of the campaigners to disband our DNS cyber capabilities it would wind the clock back 10 years and completely ignore how complex and challenging the internet has become in the intervening decade. Figure 1 below shows the rising complexity of managing the .UK domain namespace given the number of DNS queries and security risks.
https://www.nominet.uk/the-manifest-threat-to-nominets-reputation-stability/
 
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FM

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FM

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In 2010 the UK government passed a bill that would allow them to take over governance of the .UK TLD should Nominet prove to be incapable of running it properly. There was a perceived threat of a board takeover by domainers at the time.

The cases when this law will take effect are:
UK Digital Economy Act said:
(a)the registry, or any of its registrars or end-users, engages in prescribed practices that are unfair or involve the misuse of internet domain names, or

(b)the arrangements made by the registry for dealing with complaints in connection with internet domain names do not comply with prescribed requirements.

The biggest problem with the challenge is highlighted here by The Register (link above):
The Register said:
Meanwhile, PublicBenefit.uk is urging its supporters to go through with the vote to dump the CEO, chair and three other board members. It argues that the remaining six board members could then immediately convene a meeting and appoint to the two proposed caretaker directors – ex-BBC chairman Sir Michael Lyons and internet infrastructure veteran Axel Pawlik – “in accordance with the members' wishes.”

That approach is also fraught with uncertainty. For one, a number of the remaining six board members are thought to be loyal to the current leadership team and so may refuse to appoint the caretaker directors, even if they are unlikely to attempt to reappoint the existing board given the result of a member vote. The remaining board members could also argue that without a member vote, there is insufficient proof that members want to appoint Lyons and Pawlik and that they should run their own process to find a new chair and CEO.
 

jaydub

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Yikes! What a mess.
(Increased Top 3 Director pay 70% (from £1M to £1.7M)...and that is quite a raise :eek: )
 
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FM

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Esdiel said:
Click on the video. It’s pretty hilarious.

It's the same one as you linked to above, no? I thought it was pretty funny too.
 

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FM said:
It's the same one as you linked to above, no? I thought it was pretty funny too.

Nope. It shares some of the same clips but it's different.
 

FM

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Esdiel said:
Nope. It shares some of the same clips but it's different.

Yep, I realized that later too. Wonder if he'll create more.
 

FM

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So the vote results are expected Monday, but the current board didn't put the second vote item with the replacement directors on the ballot... What a story to follow. Wonder if we will see something similar with another ccTLD at one point.
 

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The (partial) motion passed.

https://domainnamewire.com/2021/03/22/vote-to-shakeup-nominet-passes/

DomainNameWire said:
Four of Nominet’s board members have been removed as a result of voting at an Extraordinary General Meeting today. The initiative was to remove five board members, but one of those members, now-former Nominet CEO Russel Haworth, resigned ahead of the vote.

52.74% of the vote was cast in favor of the resolution and there was 53.5% turnout for the vote.

Organizers also requested that two named board members be added to the slate, but Nominet did not put that to a vote.
 
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rlm

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Thanks for keeping us updated - very interesting indeed.

From the story:

The grassroots initiative was started by people who felt that Nominet had strayed too far from its original mission of administering the .UK namespace. The non-profit expanded its business lines into security, spectrum, and other unrelated fields. Those in favor wanted to see the company go back to operating .UK and keeping operations lean, donating profits to charity.


I've complained that CIRA has done the same - strayed too far from the core. One thing in particular is the fact that CIRA actively promotes other TLDs. How on earth can they justify that? Use .CA profits to promote competing TLDs, really??? I've asked them to show me the original charter for creating CIRA and never got a response. CIRA definitely has this exact same issue that Nominet has - they don't see themselves as a non-profit with the sole purpose of running .CA, they see themselves as whatever they seem to want to be. And they are willing to use .CA profits to fund development of new products that compete with .CA domains as well as Canadian businesses. That just doesn't seem right to me...
 

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rlm said:
And they are willing to use .CA profits to fund development of new products that compete with .CA domains as well as Canadian businesses.  That just doesn't seem right to me...

Wow, I had not thought of that... come to think of it they are even into cyber security now, I remember getting an email from them about that.
 

rlm

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And when I say they are promoting other TLDs - they were/are actively trying to convince Canadian cities to create their TLD, like .TORONTO or whatever - just so that they could charge them to help them through the TLD application process and then sell them their Fury Registry software to maintain it. Directly competing against the .CA they were mandated to operate and protect. Seems messed up, no?? Conflict of interest maybe??
 

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MapleDots said:
Wow, I had not thought of that... come to think of it they are even into cyber security now, I remember getting an email from them about that.

Today CIRA had an interesting meetup where they talked about their plans of building a registry of IoT devices. They also had a good panel, moderated by Amber Mac, about IoT security. There was the ability to ask the panel questions, which was great. And just like at the last event, CIRA did not answer any questions addressed to them.

Here are the questions that were posed during the meeting:
https://socialqa.cira.ca/sessions/129170/#!/dashboard

They usually say they use the other research as a security blanket to ensure that they can continue funding the domain registry. They also provide a "DNS firewall" (a misnomer in my eyes, and an infrastructure with the potential to be used for censorship) by the name of "Canadian Shield".

rlm said:
And when I say they are promoting other TLDs - they were/are actively trying to convince Canadian cities to create their TLD, like .TORONTO or whatever - just so that they could charge them to help them through the TLD application process and then sell them their Fury Registry software to maintain it. Directly competing against the .CA they were mandated to operate and protect. Seems messed up, no?? Conflict of interest maybe??

They currently run .KIWI, .MLS and There's a quote from Normand Fortier, CEO of the .SX registry (Sint Marten) on the page about the registry services.

I believe [notify]rlm[/notify] may be referring to this pitch from 2015:

itbusiness.ca said:
To date, Canadians best know the Canadian Internet Registration Authority (CIRA) as the operator of the dot-ca domain. But now the non-profit organization is hoping to operate many other top level domains (TLDs) on behalf of Canadian municipalities – perhaps domains like .Toronto, .Montreal, and .Vancouver.

It's an interesting question if you see this as competition (to the .CA TLD) or as part of their core business (as a registry operator), as if they were competing with themselves.

The next new gTLD round is expected for 2022/23 or so.
 

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FM said:
It's an interesting question if you see this as competition

If an extension like .toronto takes even one customer away from purchasing a .ca then it is absolutely competition and not what CIRA was created for. Nobody gave them a mandate to offer competition to .ca

CIRA needs to look at the core value, what purpose they were created for.

If I had any input at all I would say it needs to be a small, lean organization that is there for the sole purpose of running and promoting .ca and nothing else. The only reason they are expanding outwards is to make more profit to justify increases in base salaries.
 

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FM said:
It's an interesting question if you see this as competition (to the .CA TLD) or as part of their core business (as a registry operator), as if they were competing with themselves.

This it the way I see it. CIRA was granted a monopoly to manage .CA for the benefit of Canadians. There is plenty of money from just running the .CA registry to accomplish that and do it well. They shouldn't be allowed to take that monopoly of .CA, leverage those profits to create new products that then compete against other Canadian businesses, nor should they be promoting anything competing with .CA as that would be a conflict of interest, no? I'm actually OK with them licensing the FURY registry software to other TLDs. That isn't much of a leap, and it makes some sense. If they built a new registry platform from the ground-up, then licensing it makes sense. But the part that really seems absurd is to have CIRA actively promoting competing TLDs, especially within Canada. If some _other_ company wants to do that, no problem, that's just business. Will someone else do it anyway? Sure. But should CIRA be promoting .toronto? Hell no. CONFLICT OF INTEREST. I also don't believe they should be creating other products with CIRA profits and selling them. If they use CIRA profits to create new products, those products should be FREE to all registrants of .CA domains and not available to any others. THAT my friends would help promote .CA and bring extra value to owning/using .CA. I don't even understand how anyone could argue against this line of thinking??? This isn't about whats good for me, this is about principle. Sure, if someone else is promoting .toronto, I have no problem with that. I'm not afraid of that. It is just pure and simple conflict of interest for CIRA to be doing it. If the people of CIRA think its such a great idea, fine, quit and start your own damn business doing it. I have ZERO problem with that. But don't be using the profits of the .CA monopoly to compete unfairly against other Canadian businesses.

I am very interested to hear what others have to say though. Please try and convince me I'm wrong - I'd really like to understand any opposing perspective on this. So please, everyone chime in here, I'd really like to know, is my line of thinking in the minority or majority on this?
 

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rlm said:
This it the way I see it. CIRA was granted a monopoly to manage .CA for the benefit of Canadians. There is plenty of money from just running the .CA registry to accomplish that and do it well. They shouldn't be allowed to take that monopoly of .CA, leverage those profits to create new products that then compete against other Canadian businesses, nor should they be promoting anything competing with .CA as that would be a conflict of interest, no? I'm actually OK with them licensing the FURY registry software to other TLDs. That isn't much of a leap, and it makes some sense. If they built a new registry platform from the ground-up, then licensing it makes sense. But the part that really seems absurd is to have CIRA actively promoting competing TLDs, especially within Canada. If some _other_ company wants to do that, no problem, that's just business. Will someone else do it anyway? Sure. But should CIRA be promoting .toronto? Hell no. CONFLICT OF INTEREST. I also don't believe they should be creating other products with CIRA profits and selling them. If they use CIRA profits to create new products, those products should be FREE to all registrants of .CA domains and not available to any others. THAT my friends would help promote .CA and bring extra value to owning/using .CA. I don't even understand how anyone could argue against this line of thinking??? This isn't about whats good for me, this is about principle. Sure, if someone else is promoting .toronto, I have no problem with that. I'm not afraid of that. It is just pure and simple conflict of interest for CIRA to be doing it. If the people of CIRA think its such a great idea, fine, quit and start your own damn business doing it. I have ZERO problem with that. But don't be using the profits of the .CA monopoly to compete unfairly against other Canadian businesses.

I am very interested to hear what others have to say though. Please try and convince me I'm wrong - I'd really like to understand any opposing perspective on this. So please, everyone chime in here, I'd really like to know, is my line of thinking in the minority or majority on this?


Like rlm's post above this one if you agree with his statement, then we can see what everyone thinks


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