back to article Nominet 'sought govt protection from takeover by domain hawkers'

Nominet, the .uk address registry, sought government help to protect its board of directors from a takeover by domain name speculators, according to its former policy chief. The claims, which Nominet denies, are documented in the findings of an employment tribunal, which found the company guilty of constructive dismissal and …

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Windows

Will a leopard change its shorts?

I've had dealing with Nominet over a case of domain name abuse and I question the basic underlying business model or practices. To me, it appears that they are very much in the hands of the people that buy and sell domain names for profit and as far as they are concerned, screw the rest of us.

Even now, I doubt very much that I could trust them to manage the .uk TLD with honesty or integrity. I think that this case just shows that it is part of their overall culture; and I doubt that it will change anytime soon.

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Bronze badge

Re: Will a leopard change its shorts?

I am a Nominet Member with as much power to control Nominet as do my local MP. I do not recognise the organisation you paint. Imperfect? yes. Evil? no. It is dangerous to extrapolate from a single case they did not go your way.

Who is Nominet for? Well that's a question Nominet does keep asking itself in its continual navel gazing. Actually the fact there is no clear answer is a blessing. I as a registrar and a domain user have no problem with them. I am better protected at lower cost than using ICANN domains. I guess that's a decent bottom line.

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FAIL

Re: Will a leopard change its shorts?

Nominet was never set up to represent the domain holder, it was set up to represent the interests of the members, eg the ISP community.

However, rest assured that Nominet has done it's best to marginalise it's members ever since it's inception and will continue to do so until it succeeds.

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Where's the regulator?

Nominet's bland and defensive statement of 'clarification' about all of this ludicrous.

Are they sorry?

Will action be taken to review the discriminatory activities of senior staff?

Is anything going to be investigated?

Where's the regulator in all of this? Who can one turn to if senior staff refuse to answer any of the substantive questions that this gives rise to, and they are obviously so close to Government.

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Silver badge

FOI legislation.

Covers private organisations performing governmental functions, if the secretary of state agrees this is the case (as well as organisations performing functions on behalf of governmental organisations or under contract to same)

Nominet administers the .uk TLD on a delegation from ICANN, on behalf of the british government.

As far as I can see, this is enough to be covered by FOI (I've been through this with the ICO on various issues and they broadly agree with me about it)

Put in a FOI request. When they refuse it on the basis they're not subject to FOI rules, complain to the ICO. They've been itching to take on a case along these lines for a while (They were aiming for ACPO, but that organisation voluntarily agreed to become covered by FOI rules).

(FWIW, the "broad agreement" is that any trade association which does things which would otherwise be done by government is liable to come under FOI rules, such as any group which performs it's own policing (eg, law society, accountancy society, medical council, etc))

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Anonymous Coward

Did you think your domain name was safe with Nominet?

I discovered that one of a clients domain names had been released back onto the market. The renewal fee had been paid and had best part of a year to run. (This was a name being used as an alias - the primary domain name was OK the variant had lapsed and so not spotted immediately).

I had to re-purchase the name, luckily nobody else had grabbed it while on the open market. The reason: There was a small imperfection in registrant details. The registrant name was like "John Smith trading as JS Widgets" rather than the "trading as" being in a separate field. As far as I can establish Nominet had sent an email stating:

"If we have still been unable to verify your registration details by... [they give approx 3 weeks notice] your domain names will be suspended. Once a domain name is suspended, any services that use it such as your website or email will stop working. Your domain names will then remain in a suspended state for 7 days, after which your domain names will be cancelled. Once cancelled the domain names will be available for re-registration by anyone."

Despite the fact that the registration had correct postal address and phone and could also be found at the website, the only attempt at contact was by email, however the client's email address was out of date.

Compare this with what happens if you don't renew registration when it falls due. You get a total of 90 days to rectify the position, a renewal reminder, a suspension warning, a suspension notice and a final reminder. For the last 60 of those 90 days the website and email addresses will not be functioning. I don't know if any of those communications are by other than email but at least the suspension period increases the chances of the issue being spotted. Why should a minor technical irregularity be treated so much more harshly? Maybe it's covered somewhere in Nominet's small print but that's an excuse not a justification.

Relying solely on email as the sole means of communication for such an important issue is, to put it politely, short sighted and makes one ask why they bother with asking for registrant's postal address and phone number if they don't use them.

I've subsequently spent a pleasant few days (unpaid) checking a few hundred other client's registration details to ensure the email addresses are still current.

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