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Internet head honchos prepare for election

Nominet and ICANN: worlds apart.

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Board selections for two of the internet's most important companies are to be decided later this month.

Two directors of UK registry owner Nominet will be chosen on 27 September at the company's annual general meeting in London, while three board members for US company and internet overseeing organisation ICANN will be officially announced at around the same time.

Despite the two non-profit companies' similarity, the election processes could not be more different. Nominet released the names of all those who had put themselves forward for the board on Friday, complete with statements, while ICANN has refused to name any of the applicants or release any details of their applications.

Nominet's board members will be decided by a vote of its members at the AGM and the candidates have encouraged members to contact them if they have any questions beyond their statement of interest. Meanwhile, ICANN's Board members will be decided in secret by a committee that will not discuss any aspect of either the applications or the process by which selection is made.

The fact that ICANN's Nominating Committee met in Frankfurt this weekend to make final decisions has been kept secret and the organisation refuses to notify the candidates themselves if they are successful or even why they have or have not been chosen. An unspecified announcement date of sometime in the next month has been given, although not confirmed.

Nominet has attracted an intriguing mix of people for the places on its board, including a "domainer" - someone who makes a living from playing the odds with the domain name system - a Lord of the realm, an internet entrepreneur, a man demanding that Nominet lower its prices, and the two current board members standing for re-election. ICANN declines to give even the number of people standing for its board, although three of them - two journalists and an EU bureaucrat - have made their applications public.

Nominet's candidates are:

  • Andrew Bennett, who runs the website Deleting.co.uk, which offers for sale soon-to-expire internet domain names, as well as a popular forum for the UK internet community, and who has vowed to make the domain resale efforts "acceptable business models".
  • Gordon Dick is an internet old hand and current Nominet director who has proposed to make sure Nominet continues to be run in the interests of its members and to push the under-used ".me.uk" second-level domain.
  • Lord Erroll is one of the few peers who take an interest in internet matters, a member of several governmental bodies dealing with the internet, and has promised to provide Nominet members with political influence.
  • Peter Gradwell is another Nominet regular and knowledgable businessman who offers a forward-thinking approach and promises reform of some of Nominet's processes.
  • Angus Hanton is possibly the most controversial choice since he is standing specifically on a platform that Nominet is unnecessarily over-charging its members and should reduce the cost of .uk domains to members from £5 to £4.
  • And finally Fay Howard is the second Nominet director re-applying. She is another internet old hand, and a representative for several other international internet organisations.

As for the ICANN Board applicants, all three of those that have made their applications public have argued for greater openness and transparency in the organisation's processes. The other applicants may have argued for the same openness, but ICANN will not disclose the fact.®

Related links

Nominet's Board elections
ICANN's Board elections

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

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