Restoring Nominet’s Purpose

Despite repeated calls for reform from its own members and self-commissioned independent experts; Professor Bob Garratt in 2008 (report), and Sir Michael Lyons in 2015 (report), Nominet’s executive board could be operating in such a way as to threaten Nominet's independence.

From 2016 - 2020 they have;

As members we have the responsibility and power to ensure that Nominet is run according to its Articles.

EGM Monday 22nd March @15:00

Look for an email in your inbox to take part;
From: "takepart@cesvotes.com"
Subject: "Notice of EGM — we need your help to secure a stable future for Nominet"

You may choose "the person named below" and enter "Simon Blackler" if you don't trust the Chair to vote YES on your behalf. (Should look like this)

We secured the 5% needed to call the EGM and are now aiming for 20% to show the Nominet board we're serious about meaningful change.

19.3% of Votes Secured

Pledge your support

Goals for Nominet

Increase Public Benefit Donations

1. Increase Public Benefit Donations

Reduce .uk wholesale prices

2. Reduce.uk prices

(Achieved via reducing Director remuneration and expensive future diversifications)

Improve communications with members

3. Improve communications with members and listen to their feedback on key topics.

Adopt the UK Corporate Governance Code

4. Adopt the “UK Corporate Governance Code”.

Ensure Nominet’s independence

5. Ensure Nominet remains independent and has a strong financial future.

"The original founders may not have anticipated such a commercial success when Nominet was created in 1996 but, by common account, they were clear that in the ccTLD they were dealing with a public asset and were at pains to ensure that it should be developed and exploited for wider public benefit and not for the narrow financial interests of a few.”

- Sir Michael Lyons
From his report to the board, 27th October 2015

Nominet at a glance, 2011 onwards

2016 to 2020: Revenue +50%, Public Donations -38%, Top 3 Director pay +70%

Top 3 Director Pay Public Benefit Donations Revenue

Scroll sideways to view more


Note 1:
There's no 2017 data as Nominet changed its accounting period. As a result 2018 covers 18 months.
Note 2:
In the 5 years pre-Haworth (2011-2015) Public Benefit donations totalled £26m. In the 5 years since his first full year of office (2016-2020) Public Benefit donations totalled £9.8m. (That's down 65%)

"Bad corporate governance can cast doubt on a company's reliability, integrity, or obligation to shareholders - all of which can have implications on the firm's financial health.”

- Investopedia

Timeline Highlights

2013
  • Closes .uk “consultation”, having entirely ignored member input creating future .uk fiasco.
2017/18
  • Diversifies into Autonomous Vehicles.
  • Nominet separates from own Charitable Trust.
  • Nominet discounts unwanted .uk domains names to encourage adoption.
2020
  • Nominet shuts down members forum mid-AGM!
  • Shutters spectrum management and autonomous vehicle diversifications with 1-liner in Annual Report.
  • Nominet acquires CyGlass inc for £5.3 million (on turnover of £85k with annual losses of £2.2M)
2008
  • Diversification into ENUM narrowly passes membership vote.
2015
  • Russell Haworth appointed as CEO.
  • Prices to rise by 50% from £2.50 to £3.75 “to deal with additional costs”
  • Nominet Trust senior management walk out en-masse.
  • Sir Michael Lyons' report calls for increased member engagement.
2019
  • Haworth calls The Register “Fake News”.
  • Prices to increase from £3.75 to £3.90

“As a UK company limited by guarantee Nominet has no shareholders (and no dividend or share of profits is possible, recognising that Nominet was never intended to be a profit maximising company) but the company is ultimately accountable to its members.”

- Sir Michael Lyons
From his report to the board, 27th October 2015

The 2 step CREDIBLE PLAN

Having successfully called an EGM on 02/02/2021 with 11.9% of the voting rights (we needed 5%) we have a clear and strong path to recovery and continued self-governance.

This new team will have a strong member-backed mandate to implement the Goals listed above, therefore ensuring Nominet flourishes, independent, for another 25 years.

25 years of Independence

The .UK namespace is critical infrastructure; vital to the national interest, commerce and the wider Internet community. Nominet is an incredible organisation that can proudly boast superb technical capabilities, a deep and passionate community and an altruistic spirit.

For the last 25 years Nominet has managed itself and we members must demonstrate to industry and government that we have the means to continue to do so. If we do not, Nominet could be the target of Government intervention.

Step 1 - Problem Removal
(Ordinary Resolution 1)

THAT the following persons be removed from their respective offices as directors of the Company with immediate effect pursuant to section 168(1) of the Act:

  • (a) Eleanor Hester Bradley
  • (b) Russell Adam Haworth
  • (c) Benjamin Edwin Hill
  • (d) Jane Elizabeth Tozer
  • (e) Mark William Wood

Step 2 - replacement Directors

Immediately after the EGM closes the remaining 6 members of the board can hold another meeting to determine what would best to promote the future success of the company.

It is assumed that they will want to usher in a new age of a not-for-profit Nominet in accordance with the strong desire expressed by the membership and therefore appoint Sir Michael and Axel to the board as Chair and Deputy chair respectively.

  • (a) Sir Michael Lyons (Chair)
  • (b) Axel Pawlik (Deputy Chair)

Proposed new Directors

Sir Michael Lyons (Chair)
Sir Michael Lyons (Chair)

Former Chairman of the BBC Trust, Sir Michael was commissioned by Nominet in 2015 to carry out an independent review of the organisations membership and corporate structure. The report provided a number of recommendations on improving governance and engaging with the membership to restore broken trust. Most were ignored.

"I would welcome an invitation from the Members to play a part in shaping the future direction of Nominet." - Sir Michael Lyons

Axel Pawlik
Axel Pawlik

For 20 years Axel was the Managing Director of the RIPE NCC, the Regional Internet Registry (RIR) responsible for overseeing all IP resource management in Europe and the Middle East. A membership organisation, it grew from 1,600 to over 20,000 members during his tenure, and throughout Axel engaged with the membership to shape the organisation. read more

"Over the last decades my professional focus has been on openness and transparency and understanding members’ needs.

Given the opportunity I would take pride in bringing my experience to benefit Nominet and its members and stakeholders." - Axel Pawlik

What Sir Michael & Axel have committed to:

Terms of employment
  • Interim non-exec position
  • Fixed term 12 month contract (pending membership renewal at September AGM)
  • A capped annual fee in line with the daily rate for corporate advisers
  • Standard expenses and secretarial support
  • No bonuses
Five point plan to restore the trust and public benefit
  1. Reestablish Nominet's Public Benefit Mission
  2. Immediate establishment of communication channels with members; early action to garner insight into members' views on the organisation's direction
  3. Conduct a full review of the company's strategic direction, including diversification
  4. Conduct a review of remuneration
  5. Examine the UK Corporate Governance Code with view to commitment to follow

Subject to approval by Nominet UK's board of directors.

"I urge all Nominet members to support this EGM motion and
return Nominet to its original aims of serving the UK internet."


- Nigel Titley
Nominet Founder

Current Support

Supporting Members

346

Supporting Members

Voting Rights

1,359,539

Voting Rights

Voting Rights Needed

19.3%

of Voting Rights
(5% Needed)

67%

of UK TOP 50 members

Undecided UK TOP 50 members
  • #8 Iomart Hosting (Easyspace)
  • #10 UK2
  • #23 Nom-IQ Limited t/a Com Laude
  • #24 Freeola
  • #25 British Telecommunications
  • #26 Safenames
  • #33 KCOM Group t/a KCOM GROUP
  • #39 eUKhost

The "Top 20"

While Nominet has around 2,500 members most decisions have historically been made by a small minority who control a large number of votes.
Here’s where the Top 20 currently sit on this issue.

13 of Top 20 Undecided
Rank Name Domains Votes
#1 GoDaddy.com (123-reg, Heart, TSOHost, Daily, Domain Monster) 3,642,290 207,973
#2 1&1 Ionos (Ionos, Fasthosts) 1,696,701 207,973
#3 Namesco (LCN) 612,238 207,973
#4 TUCOWS (OpenSRS, Enom) 381,468 207,973
#5 PDR (Web.com, Arvixe, HostGator, Bluehost, iPage, A Small Orange, JustHost, Site 5, NetworkSolutions) 333,305 207,973
#6 Corporation Service Company (UK) 243,202 207,973
#7 Namecheap 201,355 202,686
#8 Iomart Hosting (Easyspace) 145,213 146,544
#9 Key-Systems (CentralNic, InternetBS) 134,040 135,371
#10 UK2 132,495 133,826
#13 One.com 89,021 90,352
#17 Markmonitor 44,723 46,054
#19 OVH 35,352 36,683
1 Abstaining
Rank Name Domains Votes
#14 Google 76,621 77,952
Want to know how your registrar has voted?

Just enter your domain name below


Pledge your support

Nominet Founders in Support
Founder Mr Keith Mitchell
Founder Mr Nigel Titley
Founder Mr Ivan Pope
6 of Top 20 Supporting
Rank Name Domains Votes
#11 Gandi 113,575 114,906
#12 20i 96,916 98,247
#15 Coherent 48,832 50,163
#16 Krystal Hosting 45,248 46,579
#18 ANY-Web 44,316 45,647
#20 Hosting Concepts B.V. 29,922 31,253
339 Other Members in Support
Name Domains Votes
Zen Internet 28,997 30,328
ukfast.net 28,694 30,025
TwentyTwentyMedia 20,937 22,268
Nokta Internet Teknolojileri Sanayi ve Ticaret A.S. 19,918 21,249
3DWeb Online Services 19,723 21,054
34SP.com 18,336 19,667
Easy Internet Solutions 16,073 17,404
Unlimited Web Hosting UK 15,419 16,750
ICUK Computing Services 13,829 15,160
COLCATWEB Limited t/a UK-Cheapest.co.uk 12,034 13,365
Giant Games 11,234 12,565
Pickaweb 10,936 12,267
M247 9,776 11,107
Above.com Pty. 9,446 10,777
Enix (HostPresto) 8,950 10,281
Sonexo B.V. 8,706 10,037
Claranet 7,673 9,004
Behrendt Professional Corporation 7,219 8,550
NetEarth UK 7,192 8,523
Cloud Next 6,897 8,228
Mythic Beasts 6,335 7,666
Kualo 6,265 7,596
Astutium 6,180 7,511
Total Web Solutions 5,872 7,203
Netcetera 5,797 7,128
Elite 5,683 7,014
Bee Internet 5,663 6,994
Tool Domains Ltd t/a ToolDomains 5,312 6,643
UKDedicated LTD t/a UKDedicated 5,305 6,636
Name SRS AB t/a www..namesrs.com 5,288 6,619
BB Online UK Ltd t/a BB Online 5,146 6,477
Nimbus Hosting 5,068 6,399
Metaregistrar BV 4,833 6,164
STENNING LIMITED t/a Stenning.net 4,168 5,499
Elife 4,148 5,479
Christopher Clark 4,049 5,380
Nuco Technologies 3,557 4,888
Titan Hancocks Lomax 3,540 4,871
Andrews & Arnold 3,385 4,716
Create Internet Ltd t/a Create 3,286 4,617
The Hosting Heroes 3,283 4,614
Adsonline LLP 3,217 4,548
Really Useful Domains 3,194 4,525
Pipe Ten Hosting 3,018 4,349
Islam Hegazy 2,978 4,309
Adelere Aodu 2,937 4,268
Zebra Electronics Limited t/a Domaincheck 2,875 4,206
SafetyNet Systems 2,827 4,158
Freethought Internet 2,616 3,947
Mr George Marshall 2,486 3,817
Memorable Domains 2,429 3,760
Andrew Bell t/a DomainsForSale.co.uk 2,367 3,698
Centraserve 2,328 3,659
Stablepoint 2,300 3,631
Dennis Nind t/a Brixly Web Solutions 2,237 3,568
Andrew Shorten t/a Trendmedia 2,237 3,568
Portfast 2,236 3,567
Registration Transfers 2,188 3,519
Ben Hay 2,104 3,435
Web Wiz Ltd. t/a Web Wiz 2,049 3,380
On-Line Marketing and Sales Ltd t/a Swift Internet 2,044 3,375
Shores 1,987 3,318
Lively 1,963 3,294
Sam Charles 1,811 3,142
Netistrar 1,727 3,058
Layershift 1,704 3,035
Mailbox Internet 1,663 2,994
Webspeed 1,618 2,949
Vital Domains 1,588 2,919
International New Media 1,549 2,880
Mr Robert Morrison 1,519 2,850
NameWeb BVBA 1,404 2,735
Jonathan Gregory 1,264 2,595
Dark Group 1,243 2,574
Fubra 1,241 2,572
Servitor 1,183 2,514
Third Party Formations Ltd t/a The Company Warehouse 1,165 2,496
PAC WebHosting 1,155 2,486
Mr L R Wilson 1,096 2,427
Daniel Golding 1,096 2,427
Simon Dooner 1,075 2,406
Misk.com 988 2,319
Net-Work Internet 962 2,293
Monkey Tree Hosting 961 2,292
Wentrow Media 960 2,291
Web Consultancy Group 944 2,275
Webber Multimedia 918 2,249
1 Click Services Limited t/a 1 Click Cloud 851 2,182
Acorn Internet Services LLP 850 2,181
Paul Marks 828 2,159
Netnorth 827 2,158
NetWeaver.com 806 2,137
Index eBusiness 804 2,135
Chris Conwell 801 2,132
Xperience Web Hosting 773 2,104
Simon Fox 757 2,088
Misterweb SL 738 2,069
Focus Digital 738 2,069
Public Internet 721 2,052
Garner Media 704 2,035
Mrs Ellen Badat 703 2,034
Enterfirst 700 2,031
Orbital Net 680 2,011
Oldroyd Publishing Group 643 1,974
Steven Morgan t/a Look2 Services 590 1,921
Solid Designs Internet Solutions Ltd t/a Solid Designs 582 1,913
Mr Peter Colman 576 1,907
YorkUK Hosting 575 1,906
UK Internet Services 569 1,900
Craig Wistow 565 1,896
Voove 526 1,857
Hughes Media Internet 522 1,853
Karl Beaney 521 1,852
Semtec Limited trading as SAQ 488 1,819
FidoNet Registration Services Ltd t/a fido.net 467 1,798
Untagged 465 1,796
James Bradford 464 1,795
Mr Pravesh Solanki t/a The Fresh Dental Marketing 441 1,772
Netserve Consultants 437 1,768
Mark Ayres t/a Splashweb 436 1,767
Kevin Moore 429 1,760
Laughing Banana Enterprises 425 1,756
Awareness Software 420 1,751
UMKY Limited t/a UMKY Marketing 415 1,746
Mr Martyn Ford t/a YesNo 407 1,738
Host Lincoln Limited t/a Jolt.co.uk 404 1,735
Robert Prime 404 1,735
ADMT Limited t/a Koder 399 1,730
Bonus Media 397 1,728
Greg Findley 386 1,717
VPW Systems (UK) 379 1,710
Mr Matthew Haines t/a Purple PC 360 1,691
Tim Hall 357 1,688
Dr M D Harper t/a Herald Information Systems 347 1,678
Unattend Limited t/a I-tec WeHostYou AttendIT StroudyIT 331 1,662
John Poller 331 1,662
Razorblue 329 1,660
Cambridge Search Engine 326 1,657
Esentra 315 1,646
G Young 301 1,632
Enigma Technology Services 300 1,631
Sota Solutions 296 1,627
Converged Communication Solutions 296 1,627
Matthew Davis t/a CatchDrop.uk 294 1,625
TJS Online 294 1,625
USP Networks Limited t/a USP Networks 293 1,624
Steve Morley 283 1,614
NetFocus ICT 282 1,613
Solidblueliquid LTD t/a Solidblueliquid 277 1,608
Forfront Limited t/a Forfront 276 1,607
Graeme Wingate 275 1,606
Hey.co.uk 271 1,602
Anthony Appleby t/a designconsultancy 268 1,599
Green Net 264 1,595
Odyssey Systems 262 1,593
Red Oblong 262 1,593
CSY Retail Systems 256 1,587
Imageo 244 1,575
Spellings Business Services Ltd t/a XenCentric 242 1,573
Omniscot 242 1,573
Ctrl-Alt-Del IT 239 1,570
Stitchbob Limited t/a Stitchbob 239 1,570
Colin Smith 238 1,569
Alamex 232 1,563
Mr C Davies 227 1,558
Mr M Jannetta t/a Arcada Design 226 1,557
Sean Warburton & Gillian Warburton 226 1,557
Aquiss Limited t/a Aquiss 224 1,555
ANU Internet Services 222 1,553
Design Technology Ltd t/a Transcom ISP 219 1,550
Freetimers Communications Limited t/a Freetimers Communications 218 1,549
Digific 214 1,545
Webarch Co-operative Limited t/a Webarchitects 212 1,543
Impreza Computer Services 210 1,541
Dataplan Payroll 210 1,541
DWebs 207 1,538
Red Dragon I.T. 204 1,535
All Simple Internet Services LLP 202 1,533
Internet Solutions Services Ltd t/a ISSL 196 1,527
Elive 192 1,523
BRIGHTWORK OPS LIMITED t/a Brightwork 192 1,523
Gigastream 192 1,523
Eonic Associates LLP 192 1,523
HelpQuick Limited t/a HelpQuick 189 1,520
I.I.R.C. 187 1,518
Addactive 184 1,515
Omniweb 184 1,515
nigel ankin 184 1,515
Paul Thewlis 181 1,512
Force36 180 1,511
GIRLNEXTDOOR 179 1,510
PRT Systems 179 1,510
Penuptra 178 1,509
Monaghan Consultants 173 1,504
KDA Web Services 163 1,494
JM Internet 163 1,494
Merula 163 1,494
New Casinos 160 1,491
Web-Hoster 159 1,490
Gatenby Services 156 1,487
The Net Effect (World Wide) Ltd t/a The Net Effect (World Wide) 152 1,483
Pier Consultancy 147 1,478
Hostek Limited t/a Hostek 144 1,475
Burstfire Networks 140 1,471
Mr Chris Meakes t/a Fidget Media 137 1,468
Inovica 137 1,468
Trunk Networks 136 1,467
Stream Networks 135 1,466
Brainstorm Systems 133 1,464
Arrowhead Systems 131 1,462
Derek Weedon 129 1,460
Mr K M Marsden t/a UK Trading 127 1,458
Mr James Conaghan t/a Name Dropper (Name Dropper) 125 1,456
Hiltonian Media Ltd t/a Hiltonian Media 124 1,455
Shireglobe Computers Limited t/a SCL Internet 123 1,454
Zenith Networks 117 1,448
Mr David A Munro 114 1,445
Alistair Maylum 114 1,445
Netcalibre Ltd t/a LCHost 111 1,442
Mr Terry Froy t/a Spilsby Internet Solutions 110 1,441
Web4Africa Ltd. t/a Web4Africa 109 1,440
NM Consulting 108 1,439
Murray Gardener 108 1,439
DOMAINLORE 105 1,436
Bongo IT Ltd t/a BongoIT 105 1,436
OuterEdge UK 102 1,433
Psand Limited t/a Psand.net 101 1,432
Domain Registrar Services 98 1,429
Igeek Ltd t/a igeek 96 1,427
Price Engines 96 1,427
Internet Software 96 1,427
Mr Jason Wright 92 1,423
Stratagem Solutions Ltd t/a Stratagem Hosting 91 1,422
Gladserv 88 1,419
Sytec - Systems & Technology Ltd t/a Sytec 88 1,419
Smart Media 87 1,418
127 Solutions 86 1,417
Meidan Ventures 86 1,417
Precedence Technologies 85 1,416
Bogons 85 1,416
Dave Searle 83 1,414
Net Primates 83 1,414
Watchfront 83 1,414
Stung 83 1,414
ITOPS UK Limited t/a ITOPS 83 1,414
IntoNET Technology 81 1,412
Zenesis 81 1,412
Glastonbury Online 81 1,412
Matt Tricot 80 1,411
Every City 80 1,411
Lovell Fuller 79 1,410
Minotaur IT 77 1,408
Mr B Higgins & Mrs E Higgins t/a Allness IT 77 1,408
jeff smith 75 1,406
Canterbury Web Services 73 1,404
Subset Solutions UK Limited t/a Subset UK Group 72 1,403
Chris Burton t/a 8086 Consultancy 72 1,403
Acknowledgement 71 1,402
Mr John Batten t/a Internet Insurance Services 68 1,399
Completely Different Solutions Ltd t/a CDS 66 1,397
STEM Learning Limited t/a National Science Learning Centre 66 1,397
Berkeley Publishing 66 1,397
Sensical Services Ltd t/a Sensical.net 65 1,396
Mr Tim Rustige t/a TR Computers 65 1,396
E Business Services Ltd t/a E Business Services 64 1,395
Concept Coders 64 1,395
Chris Hackett 64 1,395
Communicate & Control Ltd t/a GreatADSL 60 1,391
CED Services Limited t/a Network Birmingham 60 1,391
Scorpion Research 60 1,391
Mr Dale Hubbard t/a Hubbard Media 59 1,390
Andy Cameron 59 1,390
Gurg 58 1,389
Paul Monckton t/a Pryanet 56 1,387
Scott McKeown t/a redIT 55 1,386
Thorcom Systems 55 1,386
Starworks 54 1,385
John Sisk 54 1,385
Snappy Host Ltd t/a Snappy Host 53 1,384
Momentium 53 1,384
Paragon 52 1,383
Gatekeeper Technology 52 1,383
Loho 52 1,383
Hybrid Host UK 51 1,382
Mr Paul Cienciala 51 1,382
Arachsys Internet Services 50 1,381
John Mounsey 47 1,378
Mr Ian MacDonald t/a MacWare 46 1,377
Mitsu 46 1,377
Jump Networks 45 1,376
Verstech 44 1,375
World-Force 41 1,372
Kinetix 41 1,372
DS4A 38 1,369
Vivaciti 38 1,369
Bagpuss 35 1,366
Mr Mike Albon 34 1,365
FastVision 32 1,363
Bytefetch 32 1,363
Bairwell 31 1,362
Coaley Peak Ltd t/a Coaley Peak 31 1,362
Mr A Knee t/a Keen Computers 31 1,362
Fluency Communications Ltd t/a Fluency 31 1,362
UnityHosting.Com 30 1,361
Consider IT 27 1,358
Infogration Ltd t/a Infogration 26 1,357
Digital Image 24 1,355
LogicForge Limited t/a logicforge 22 1,353
The Fluidconnections Co (UK) 22 1,353
I.T. Synergy 19 1,350
Mr Ted Stockton t/a Manchester Business Resources 19 1,350
VWE Internet 19 1,350
Watershed Arts Trust 18 1,349
Get On The Web 18 1,349
Breakline 17 1,348
NetClient 14 1,345
Cirrologic 13 1,344
Labcourt Limited t/a Hartland Multimedia 11 1,342
nickety 11 1,342
EH7 Internet 11 1,342
ICT London 10 1,341
The Networking People (TNP) Limited t/a TNP 10 1,341
RMLH CONSULTING 10 1,341
Arwenack 9 1,340
CST Group 8 1,339
Paul Greenhalgh Services 8 1,339
CW Business Group 8 1,339
Sculptor 7 1,338
Jennifer Clifford t/a UKFSN 6 1,337
Staclar 6 1,337
Dr James Reather 6 1,337
GB Direct 5 1,336
Jamie Lee Marks 3 1,334
X6 0 1,331
Digital Craftsmen 0 1,331
Tecnocratica Centro de Datos, S.L. t/a Virtualname 0 1,331
SharpStack Hosting Ltd t/a Prostack 0 1,331
Dotcom Domains & Hosting 0 1,331
Mr DJ Wood 0 1,331

Thank you for your support!

Notes:

1: Nominet has a non-trivial weighted voting system whereby each member gets a fixed amount of votes that represent 25% of all voting rights, with the remaining 75% allocated based on the number of domains under management (DUM). For a requisition, a cap of 3% applies assuming ALL members vote, hence why the top 6 members all have the same amount of votes.

2: This data is based on the last publicly available data which was 21st August 2020. We've added a large margin of error to ensure we exceed the threshold for calling the meeting. At the meeting itself only a simple majority of 50% is needed to pass each resolution. The 3% cap will also apply but only on those members that vote.

"History has shown that the membership will support the company to take risks and to make fundamental changes but will, in whole or in part, assert itself if it does not feel confident about the direction the company is taking."

- Sir Michael Lyons
From his report to the board, 27th October 2015

FAQs

Why are you doing this?

Because the money that should have been heading towards Public Benefit Donations over the last 5 years has instead been funneled into completely unnecessary "diversifications", expensive acquisitions and Directors pockets.

This is completely unacceptable behaviour for a company that has a public benefit purpose, so important it's enshrined in the Articles as the very first thing after the definitions.

There's never been a more obvious time in Nominet's history where it could be making a real impact and benefitting the public; COVID, Climate Change, homelessness, etc, etc.

This is not a VC-backed Silicon Valley startup that needs to take risks, make speculative acquisitions, "pivot" or worry about unnecessary diversifications. This is Nominet, the guardian of the .UK namespace and we'd like it back, please.

Can Nominet penalise me for signing this EGM resolution?

No. At least not legally.

We have followed Nominet’s members code of conduct and outlined the issues in a professional way with integrity and accountability.

The Nominet directors are legally bound to carry out a requisition from a group of members under section 303 of the Companies Act 2006. Our EGM requisition has been legally drafted by a solicitor and does not make any vexatious statements.

How long until we can have the EGM?

Nominet's board of directors is required to call the EGM within 21 days of receiving notice from the members to call it.

That meeting must be held on a date not more than 28 days from the date on which notice to convene the meeting has been given by them. In total that's a maximum of 49 days from when we submit the notice, which we'll do once we've got a comfortable margin of error.

What happens if Nominet refuses to hold the EGM?

They cannot refuse a legal and valid request from the members to participate in the operation of the company. If necessary a court order can be used to compel the meeting.

Do you think that this action will succeed?

Absolutely.

The current board has run the business in such a way that anyone can see things could be better. Treating the membership as an inconvenience, ratcheting up prices to fund acquisitions, unnecessary diversifications and eye-watering Director pay (which is higher than the Upper Quartile of the AIM!), deliberately opaque behaviour and the issue that got me to start this movement; the MASSIVE reduction in Public Benefit Donations compared to previous levels.

The relationship between management and members has been strained for years. In recent times it's become somewhat more aggressive. Russell Haworth has called The Register "fake news" for reporting on fact, and most recently he closed down the members forum, mid-AGM. With it went the last easy line of communication.

The membership aren't stupid. Quite the opposite. For years the board have ignored their input and carried out their own agenda, behind closed doors, citing that they can't provide the expected and previously common meeting minutes anymore because "Nominet is a PLC type board" (Mark Wood, Chair)

Another worrying trend is Nominet's attempt to conflate Public Benefit Donations with impact. For example, counting EVERY member of the Scouts towards their 2020 goal of "Improving the lives of 1 million young people through technology" (actually 721,777) doesn't detract from the fact that Nominet has donated less than £2M in 2020, down from over £5M average per year between 2011 and 2015, before Russell Haworth arrived.

Its clear ALL members and the public will benefit from a leaner Nominet board that focusses on its core business of running a secure .uk namespace.

What will happen after the new Directors get on the board?

The first order of business will be to re-open lines of communication with the membership and start to engage them on key issues.

Can you guarantee that the new Directors will reduce prices?

No, nothing is being guaranteed. However, it’s fair to assume that if the company returns to its core business, ceases to pursue expensive acquisitions/diversifications and pays Directors salaries commensurate with appropriate comparable public sector organisations, there will be surplus profit and cash in the business. That will allow the board to simultaneously increase Public Benefit Donations AND reduce .uk prices. Win/win.

It might take a while before any reduction can happen as the new Directors will need to review the business and understand its financial position.

For the avoidance of doubt; I didn’t start this action so Krystal could pay less for it’s .uk domain names. I started this action to rescue a national treasure and restore public benefit donations to previous levels. As you can see from the table above Krystal has a fairly modest number of domains but if there is a price reduction I can guarantee that Krystal will pass that on to end users.

Did you approach Nominet prior to forcing the EGM?

Yes. I was alarmed enough by Russell Haworth closing down the forum mid-AGM to want to see what was going on. I have spoken, or attempted to speak, to all of the member-elected NEDs with varying degrees of success.

Anne Taylor

23/09/2020 - Made contact via LinkedIn
24/09/2020 - Scheduled call for 30th.
30/09/2020 - Call postponed by Anne.
06/10/2020 - Productive Zoom call. Alerted Anne to serious members disquiet over recent Board actions (including closing forum at AGM) and asked her to communicate that to the Board. Impressed with Anne’s positioning and members-first attitude.
10/11/2020 - Sent LinkedIn message requesting update. No reply.
04/01/2021 - Sent LinkedIn message requesting update. No reply.
19/01/2021 - Sent LinkedIn message requesting update. No reply.

Last successful contact: October 2020



James Bladel

08/10/2020 - Introduced through mutual contact via email. Asked for a Zoom call.
10/11/2020 - Followed up, arranged call for 13th November 2020.
13/11/2020 - I missed call because of another appointment, we rescheduled for 20th November.
20/11/2020 - Had excellent Zoom call where we had a wide-ranging conversation that included personal background, motivations for becoming non-exec, how Nominet board runs, it’s characteristics and challenges. Ran out of time but hoped to talk again shortly. Very positive chat.
22/12/2020 - Sent email proposing catchup. James suggested we catch up after the holidays.
05/01/2021 - Sent email proposing catchup.
19/01/2021 - Sent email proposing catchup Arranged for the 22nd
22/01/2021 - James explained my emails have been getting spammed and apologised. Had another excellent chat. We talked more about Nominet’s public purpose origins and the need (or lack thereof) for survival, and thus diversification, the difficulties of balancing “profit with a purpose” vs. commercial goals, and the validity of setting pay scales for Nominet against US tech companies vs. public sector companies in the UK. Once again ran out of time but satisfied that James has been a robust and valuable presence on the board.

Last successful contact: January 2021



David Thornton

01/01/2021 - Introduced via mutual contact as couldn’t find LinkedIn profile
05/01/2021 - First contact. Notified by David that Nominet Company Secretary would be informed of contact.
18/01/2021 - Call scheduled for 20th January
20/01/2021 - Had a Zoom with David to try and understand position and role. David favours a commercially orientated Nominet and possible devolution from the membership structure. In role on Remuneration Committee explained that top salaries need to be paid to retain “top talent”. We disagreed on the necessity of diversification (I think it’s unnecessary) but it was an honest and frank dialogue and I am very grateful for his time.

Last successful contact: January 2021



Phil Buckingham

In the lead up to NED elections, Phil was very active on LinkedIn talking to me to solicit Krystal’s votes for his candidacy. Phil stood on a platform of re-balancing Nominet weighted voting system and engaging with the membership.

10/08/2020 - Phil writes. We talk.
11/08/2020 - Phil writes. We talk.
31/08/2020 - Phil writes. We talk.
06/09/2020 - Phil writes. We talk.

18/09/2020 - Phil Buckingham is elected as the latest non-exec.

22/09/2020 - I write congratulating Phil on win and ask for a chat. Message read. No reply.

29/09/2020 - I follow up. Message read. No reply.
06/10/2020 - I follow up. Message read. No reply.
13/10/2020 - I follow up. Message read. No reply.
27/10/2020 - I follow up. Message read. No reply.
03/11/2020 - I follow up. Message read. No reply.
10/11/2020 - I follow up. Message read. No reply.
17/11/2020 - I follow up. Message read. No reply.
24/11/2020 - I follow up. Message read. No reply.
01/12/2020 - I follow up. Message read. No reply.
08/12/2020 - I follow up. Message read. No reply.
15/12/2020 - I follow up. Message read. No reply.
22/12/2020 - I follow up. Message read. No reply.
29/12/2020 - I follow up. Message read. No reply.
04/01/2021 - Phil admits to mutual contact he’s been ignoring communications from members, not just mine. Having sought advice from Nominet secretary Rory Kelly he’s advised to talk to membership. We’re put in touch via email by said mutual contact, no reply.

12/01/2021 - I follow up. No reply.
19/01/2021 - I follow up. No reply.

Last successful contact: September 2020

Simon Blackler

Questions? Concerns? Comments?

My name is Simon Blackler. I'm the founder of Krystal (a Hosting company) & Katapult (a Cloud platform) but I've created this campaign as a long-time fan of Nominet and concerned Internet citizen.

If successful, this initiative will send a very strong message about what Nominet's purpose is (run the .uk namespace), and who it should benefit (members and the wider public). Foremost in our mind is the continued success of Nominet as a self-governed steward of an essential commons resource.

We are confident that we have a clear path to passing the resolutions and would appreciate your support.

I am available every day to discuss this action with anyone who's interested. Below is a link to my calendar scheduler. I look forward to talking with you.