- Diversification into ENUM narrowly passes membership vote.
Look for an email in your inbox to take part;
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.
1. Increase Public Benefit Donations
2. Reduce.uk prices
(Achieved via reducing Director remuneration and expensive future diversifications)
3. Improve communications with members and listen to their feedback on key topics.
4. Adopt the “UK Corporate Governance Code”.
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
Scroll sideways to view more
"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.”
“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
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.
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.
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:
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.
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
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
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
of Voting Rights
of UK TOP 50 members
|#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|
|#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|
|#8||Iomart Hosting (Easyspace)||145,213||146,544|
|#9||Key-Systems (CentralNic, InternetBS)||134,040||135,371|
Just enter your domain name below
|Founder Mr Keith Mitchell|
|Founder Mr Nigel Titley|
|Founder Mr Ivan Pope|
|#20||Hosting Concepts B.V.||29,922||31,253|
|Nokta Internet Teknolojileri Sanayi ve Ticaret A.S.||19,918||21,249|
|3DWeb Online Services||19,723||21,054|
|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|
|Behrendt Professional Corporation||7,219||8,550|
|Total Web Solutions||5,872||7,203|
|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|
|STENNING LIMITED t/a Stenning.net||4,168||5,499|
|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|
|Really Useful Domains||3,194||4,525|
|Pipe Ten Hosting||3,018||4,349|
|Zebra Electronics Limited t/a Domaincheck||2,875||4,206|
|Mr George Marshall||2,486||3,817|
|Andrew Bell t/a DomainsForSale.co.uk||2,367||3,698|
|Dennis Nind t/a Brixly Web Solutions||2,237||3,568|
|Andrew Shorten t/a Trendmedia||2,237||3,568|
|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|
|International New Media||1,549||2,880|
|Mr Robert Morrison||1,519||2,850|
|Third Party Formations Ltd t/a The Company Warehouse||1,165||2,496|
|Mr L R Wilson||1,096||2,427|
|Monkey Tree Hosting||961||2,292|
|Web Consultancy Group||944||2,275|
|1 Click Services Limited t/a 1 Click Cloud||851||2,182|
|Acorn Internet Services LLP||850||2,181|
|Xperience Web Hosting||773||2,104|
|Mrs Ellen Badat||703||2,034|
|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|
|UK Internet Services||569||1,900|
|Hughes Media Internet||522||1,853|
|Semtec Limited trading as SAQ||488||1,819|
|FidoNet Registration Services Ltd t/a fido.net||467||1,798|
|Mr Pravesh Solanki t/a The Fresh Dental Marketing||441||1,772|
|Mark Ayres t/a Splashweb||436||1,767|
|Laughing Banana Enterprises||425||1,756|
|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|
|ADMT Limited t/a Koder||399||1,730|
|VPW Systems (UK)||379||1,710|
|Mr Matthew Haines t/a Purple PC||360||1,691|
|Dr M D Harper t/a Herald Information Systems||347||1,678|
|Unattend Limited t/a I-tec WeHostYou AttendIT StroudyIT||331||1,662|
|Cambridge Search Engine||326||1,657|
|Enigma Technology Services||300||1,631|
|Converged Communication Solutions||296||1,627|
|Matthew Davis t/a CatchDrop.uk||294||1,625|
|USP Networks Limited t/a USP Networks||293||1,624|
|Solidblueliquid LTD t/a Solidblueliquid||277||1,608|
|Forfront Limited t/a Forfront||276||1,607|
|Anthony Appleby t/a designconsultancy||268||1,599|
|CSY Retail Systems||256||1,587|
|Spellings Business Services Ltd t/a XenCentric||242||1,573|
|Stitchbob Limited t/a Stitchbob||239||1,570|
|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|
|Webarch Co-operative Limited t/a Webarchitects||212||1,543|
|Impreza Computer Services||210||1,541|
|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|
|BRIGHTWORK OPS LIMITED t/a Brightwork||192||1,523|
|Eonic Associates LLP||192||1,523|
|HelpQuick Limited t/a HelpQuick||189||1,520|
|KDA Web Services||163||1,494|
|The Net Effect (World Wide) Ltd t/a The Net Effect (World Wide)||152||1,483|
|Hostek Limited t/a Hostek||144||1,475|
|Mr Chris Meakes t/a Fidget Media||137||1,468|
|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|
|Mr David A Munro||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|
|Bongo IT Ltd t/a BongoIT||105||1,436|
|Psand Limited t/a Psand.net||101||1,432|
|Domain Registrar Services||98||1,429|
|Igeek Ltd t/a igeek||96||1,427|
|Mr Jason Wright||92||1,423|
|Stratagem Solutions Ltd t/a Stratagem Hosting||91||1,422|
|Sytec - Systems & Technology Ltd t/a Sytec||88||1,419|
|ITOPS UK Limited t/a ITOPS||83||1,414|
|Mr B Higgins & Mrs E Higgins t/a Allness IT||77||1,408|
|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|
|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|
|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|
|Communicate & Control Ltd t/a GreatADSL||60||1,391|
|CED Services Limited t/a Network Birmingham||60||1,391|
|Mr Dale Hubbard t/a Hubbard Media||59||1,390|
|Paul Monckton t/a Pryanet||56||1,387|
|Scott McKeown t/a redIT||55||1,386|
|Snappy Host Ltd t/a Snappy Host||53||1,384|
|Hybrid Host UK||51||1,382|
|Mr Paul Cienciala||51||1,382|
|Arachsys Internet Services||50||1,381|
|Mr Ian MacDonald t/a MacWare||46||1,377|
|Mr Mike Albon||34||1,365|
|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|
|Infogration Ltd t/a Infogration||26||1,357|
|LogicForge Limited t/a logicforge||22||1,353|
|The Fluidconnections Co (UK)||22||1,353|
|Mr Ted Stockton t/a Manchester Business Resources||19||1,350|
|Watershed Arts Trust||18||1,349|
|Get On The Web||18||1,349|
|Labcourt Limited t/a Hartland Multimedia||11||1,342|
|The Networking People (TNP) Limited t/a TNP||10||1,341|
|Paul Greenhalgh Services||8||1,339|
|CW Business Group||8||1,339|
|Jennifer Clifford t/a UKFSN||6||1,337|
|Dr James Reather||6||1,337|
|Jamie Lee Marks||3||1,334|
|—||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!
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The first order of business will be to re-open lines of communication with the membership and start to engage them on key issues.
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.
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.
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 Bladel08/10/2020 - 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 Thornton01/01/2021 - 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
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
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.