back to article Nominet continues milking .uk registry cash cow with 4 per cent price rise for... what exactly?

The business in charge of the UK’s internet registry has decided to raise the price of all .uk domains, sparking fury among domain owners who accuse the non-profit of milking the registry to fund executive pay rises and unrelated business expansions. “Following the annual review of pricing by the Board last week, the wholesale …

  1. Pascal Monett Silver badge

    Not-for-profit, right ?

    No, it's not for profit, but it's all for money.

    Is there a legal way to force it to change status, and what must be done in order for that to happen ?

    1. Gene Cash Silver badge

      Re: Not-for-profit, right ?

      Probably just piss off the taxman sufficiently?

  2. MrKrotos

    Not-for-profit, my arse it is

    I spent the best part of 2 hours yesturday clearing out all the forced .uk domains that 123-Reg had added to our account.

    How many people are going to miss that and end up paying for domains they do not want?

    1. Naich

      Re: Not-for-profit, my arse it is

      I'm moving all my domains from 123-reg to Mythic Beasts. I trust them not to try and scam me.

      1. Arthur the cat Silver badge

        Re: Not-for-profit, my arse it is

        I'm moving all my domains from 123-reg to Mythic Beasts. I trust them not to try and scam me.

        I switched to them a while back and can thoroughly recommend them.

    2. Toltec

      Re: Not-for-profit, my arse it is

      I'd quite like the .uk version of my domain, unfortunately I don't have the .co.uk, 123 has registered it so I cannot and it is unused. No idea if the owner of the .co.uk version even wants it, the website for that domain is mainly unfinished and hasn't changed for years.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Not-for-profit, my arse it is

        I have a .co.uk domain but don't use the website for anything useful at all. I use the email though.

        The webpage is static and basically says

        "This DOMAIN IS NOT FOR SALE"

  3. Wellyboot Silver badge

    Resurrect .GB

    Competition from an actual NfP organisation should only help the situation

  4. Rich 11 Silver badge

    Monopoly power

    its current CEO, a former acquisitions and ventures specialist

    ...will be first up against the wall when the revolution comes.

    1. Peter X
      Mushroom

      Re: Monopoly power

      /me looks a watch. Yes.

  5. Flak
    Flame

    'Not for profit' means increasing revenues to offset increasing costs

    A dispassionate financial response would be - the costs have gone up, so now the revenues must be increased, too.

    Shame we all care about why the costs have gone up!

    With an effective monopoly for UK domains, prices should be controlled.

    1. katrinab Silver badge
      Flame

      Re: 'Not for profit' means increasing revenues to offset increasing costs

      A dispassionate financial response would be:

      Supply of domain names has increased, a lot. Demand for domain names is about the same as before - number of active websites has moved sideways since 2012 according to Netcraft, and number of hostnames has been declining since 2017. Threfore, prices must go down.

      1. Flak

        Re: 'Not for profit' means increasing revenues to offset increasing costs

        Normal laws of supply and demand don't work in a monopoly...

        Hence the need for regulation.

        (there are a few other situations where they don't work, either, but that is for another day)

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    5 members agreeing on prices via a quasi trade body?

    If that was happening, a quick reading of s.2 Competition Act 1998 (Chapter I prohibition) might be in order.

    1. lglethal Silver badge
      Go

      Re: 5 members agreeing on prices via a quasi trade body?

      It does very much sound like cartel behaviour doesnt it. A group of companies with voting control over the organisation that sets prices. Would someone like to be the one to report them to the Competition and Markets Authority? I cant unfortunately, as I dont live in the UK, and am not affected by the price rises. But a quick missive would go along way...

      1. CliveS
        Flame

        Re: 5 members agreeing on prices via a quasi trade body?

        Will draft my own complaint this evening, but would urge all concerned Commentards to also lodge a complaint.

        The place to start is here:

        https://www.gov.uk/guidance/tell-the-cma-about-a-competition-or-market-problem

        1. Karl Austin

          Re: 5 members agreeing on prices via a quasi trade body?

          One gone in today from us, enough is enough after all these years. It could well be a case of "Be careful what you wish for" but we'll see. Something needs to change.

        2. Ken Hagan Gold badge

          Re: 5 members agreeing on prices via a quasi trade body?

          Excellent link, thanks. I have emailed them this evening, citing El Reg as my source.

          As others have noted, it isn't a particularly complex database and the human population (or even the UK internet-using population) isn't doubling every 18 months so the running costs ought to be going down. They've been gifted a monopoly by us (the UK). They haven't earned it. We should be able to take it back if they start taking the piss.

          1. Jellied Eel Silver badge

            Re: 5 members agreeing on prices via a quasi trade body?

            They've been gifted a monopoly by us (the UK). They haven't earned it. We should be able to take it back if they start taking the piss.

            Originally it was sort of gifted by the UK's ISPs during it's formative years. It was recognised that it'd have monopoly powers, but government approved given there was competition in the rental of domain names. It was also recognised that there was an embarrassment of riches, hence the creation of the trust to spend some of that money to better the UK Internet.

            So intially, ISP members outnumbered the registrars and could provide more influence/control, but then came the coup, change in voting rights and the big 5 ended up controlling Nominet and shaping it to serve their own interests. But it's the usual challenge with a 'non-profit', ie trying to justify charitable uses of all the not-profit it's been generating.

            And then there's politics in general, ie Nominet has a large slush fund it can (and does) use to protect it's monopoly, and would argue government interference. But hopefully a CMA complaint might get some attention, and a hairy eyeball looking at Nominet's books to see if price gouging is at all justified. Then hopefully it'll get regulated, probably via Ofcom who could look at pricing much as it does for BT. Usual model is look at things like LRIC and regulate prices based on a cost+ model.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Think I might register in Italy instead...

    Nominetsh.it

  8. deive

    Stop complaining and pay their bonus, commies! </sarc>

  9. localzuk

    Don't worry, it'll all work out

    When Scotland leaves, and Northern Ireland too, we won't really be the "UK" any more, so the entire lot of them will be redundant.

    1. werdsmith Silver badge

      Re: Don't worry, it'll all work out

      They will be redundant but holding one should give you a priority opportunity to register whatever replaces it.

      I’ve been chasing one particular parked domain for years. I’ve got another go at it at the end of the year.

    2. Ken Hagan Gold badge
      Trollface

      Re: Don't worry, it'll all work out

      If Scotland and the remaining part of Ireland leave together then they, being two kingdoms, will have a greater claim to the name UK than England, being only one.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Don't worry, it'll all work out

      Scotland are going nowhere since they still have oil money coming in, what did you guys think BREXIT was really about?

    4. DBH

      Re: Don't worry, it'll all work out

      I wonder if the resulting Kingdom of England and Wales will get the .ew TLD

      Nominet's new home could be auto-ren.ew

      They'd make a killing

  10. sbt Silver badge
    Flame

    Taking a leaf out of ICANN's book

    This shambles seems to repeat itself all around the world; ICANN are even worse when it comes to board accountability, and here in Oz we're about to be hit with the same ccTLD direct registration money grab for .au.

    As soon as the artificial scarcity of domain names was created, its administration should have been handed to disinterested professionals, such as trademark or business name registrars in each country. The USA's ending up with the non ccTLDs should have been corrected once the Internet went global.

    I wonder how much of the fear created around formal government adminstration of the DNS (e.g. via the ITU) is actually legitimate and how much is FUD. Governments can still isolate or seize IT systems in their respective countries, regardless of domains.

  11. This post has been deleted by its author

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The CEO needs a new Private Jet

    so that he can attend all those 'not for profit' events.

    What a load of old cock!

  13. ThatOne Silver badge

    I'm somewhat astonished by the general reaction, it's like nobody knew that people are generally greedy. Of course they will try to make the most out of whatever they have, nobody really hates a huge salary without too much accountability attached.

    So, to prevent those kind of deviations, what would be the best method? Light-touch self-regulation, or strict exterior oversight by another body having no concordant interests and thus unlikely to be influenced by the perp? And before somebody thinks it, this is not a free market, this is the official British body in charge of one of the nation's resources (domains in this case).

  14. TX_SS

    Sounds like the 30's and 40's here in the US:

    "But I agave you what you asked for"

    "This week we'll be needin an extra fiver"

    "I don't have an extra 5"

    "Tommy, take care o dis guy"

    "We'll be back next week, see"

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I think that the smaller Nominet Members should consider getting together to form a coalition BECAUSE I believe that in the not too distant future Nominet will want to "get rid of" Members . They do not really want them I am sure, they want to go fully fledged Free ,profit making etc. or at least have 100% control.

    I think smaller members should start planning NOW not wait for the time they need to act.

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    A problem with bare .uk

    I have clients who initially bought several long and unwieldy variants of their core .co.uk name on a defensive basis.

    They swallowed Nominet increasing the cost by 50% in 2016. They took the free introductory offer of the bare .uk variants

    Now the bare uk variants are coming up for renewal the cost of their portfolio of names has doubled.

    Some are taking the opportunity to review their portfolio and holders of core names like fredscoggins.co.uk are letting fred-scoggins-used-motors.co.uk and fredscogginsusedmotors.co.uk as well as fred-scoggins-used-motors.uk and fredscogginsusedmotors.uk lapse. I'm doing that too.

    I imagine domain name speculators who bought hundreds of names in the hope of profitable resales are finding renewal costs exceed income and they too will be reconsidering.

    Might the eventual result be fewer total registrations than before the arrival of bare .uk?

  17. Richard Cranium

    No other security software?

    Surely the UK TLD is in the gift of the Government, is it time Government regained control?  Have Nominet not violated the terms under which Government allowed Nominet to manage this national monopoly resource by dropping the charitable aspect?  Shouldn't the task of managing the UK address space be put out to tender periodically (like the lottery, the railways)?

    Should Nominet be referred to the monopolies commission for exploiting the monopoly to the disadvantage of the public?

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