A major review of Nominet's governance has asked members to consider whether it should give up its not-for-profit status. The suggestion will be taken by some Nominet members as confirmation of their long-held suspicions that the firm was being steered towards a share offering. The review also suggests members of the domain …
Having had to actually deal with Nominet a couple of times in the past year, I would not agree that they do a particularly good job. Their communications were no better than average, and in some cases, actually misleading. They also seem to interpret their own rules as it suits them and their members rather than applying them equally.
I would agree that changes need to be made - it seems clear that there are a number of areas where they apply their own processes specifically to suit their members interests first, rather than those of the rest of the UK.
However, I seriously doubt that they will take on board any real criticism, and any changes that they make will be at best, limited.
Nominet vs NuLabournet
Perhaps before criticizing Nominet for being a bit crap, one should think about what would happen if the government got its tentacles into it. Compared with the true horror of the current government having control over Nominet, I'll take 'not amazing' any time.
Noses in the through
And who do you think will be going to gain from this exercise?
£15m in the bank...?
... here come the new Carpet Baggers.
How about they spend some of the money to provide a better service?
Nominet is inherently conflicted
Nominet is an inherently conflicted organisation - they perform the role of industry self-regulator while also operating the monopoly registry (and also retailing directly, though at very inflated prices).
This results in the worst of all worlds - a highly bureaucratised organisation with no profit-motive to drive innovation.
The organisation should reinvent itself as an independent regulatory body, run by its members as a non-profit. It should then tender out the operation of the registry.
Bring back Willy Black
Just try to get ownership of a domain name transferred now they've tried to make it all electronic, no longer accepting paper submissions. Nominet started out doing a good job effectively and inexpensively serving the community and making the US .com processes a joke in comparison. Now it has become a self-serving organisation, work shy and seemingly answerable to no-one and its become easier to deal with .com than .co.uk
I do have one constructive suggestion. No longer charge for domain names but require a £100 bond for each, the interest would pay Nominet's running costs and the guys speculatively sitting on hundreds of unused domain names would have to re-think their strategy.
And hell, why not make the bond subject to forfeit if the domain is used in a way unhelpful to the internet community - like as nothing but a page of Adwords listings.
Tony, I think you will see real change, the changes didn't happen lat time because they lumped a lot of changes together, some good but others bad.
Nominet are giving 5M to fund projects intended to help the wider community, because they can't give it to the members and a significant number of the members don't want the money distributed to them as it was a key part of the original setup. If you can distribute money to the members, there's a pressure to increase the price to make more money. As it is now, you could lower the price by a few pence to cut the cash pile, but if you cut it too much and there was a downturn you might run out of capital. It's only a monopoly if you must have a UK on the name, and even then you can reg a name through one of 3000 registrars from only 29p more then they pay Nominet.
If you want to pay more, just wait for the Gov to decide the fees, especially when they are trying to raise as much cash as possible.
A domain transfer is so much easier now, no paperwork, 5 mouse clicks and a tenner to change the registrant, either new or old registrant can pay. Much easier and faster then the old paper signing.
What is it that you want to innovate in a name space, more extensions so that secondary marketers can make more money?
If you need to deal direct with Nominet, you must have a crap registrar, change the tag and get a better service, there's 3000 to choose from. Failing that, get together with some mates and pay £400 to be a member, if you write off the £400 one off fee and register 173 names a year you'd be better off by 34 pence than going to the cheapest registrar.
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