Nominet director quits over boardroom rift
Players square up in battle for .uk
One of Nominet's four non-executive directors has resigned amid accusation and counter accusation of wrongdoing at the not-for-profit company that runs the .uk registry.
Angus Hanton, a self-described domainer*, was elected to the board in May 2007. In his resignation letter to fellow directors on Wednesday he said he was unhappy with how Nominet's top executives Lesley Cowley and Bob Gilbert are running the company.
Hanton told The Register: "It's not corporate governance that is the issue, it's corporate behaviour."
His resignation comes two weeks after Nominet announced an independent review of its corporate structure, citing a request from the Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform (BERR) to justify its independence from Whitehall.
In the Nominet boardroom, Hanton has been most closely allied with Jim Davies, a solicitor elected in May 2008 who has frequently acted for domainers. On Monday this week Davies called on CEO Cowley and and Chairman Gilbert to face a vote of confidence from members. The Nominet executive counters that Davies has significant conflicts of interest and has refused to sign a declaration that he will act in the best interests of all Nominet members and the wider UK internet.
Today Hanton rejected suggestions from some observers, including other board members, that he was part of a deliberate attempt by domainers to destabilise Nominet.
"That's rubbish. There's no suggestion of a takeover. We just want it to be properly run," he said. "The reason I joined the board was to help with member engagement and be constructive."
Hanton alleges a lack of openness, over-reliance on lawyers and specific failures concerning staff discipline, although he declined to provide details.
In his resignation letter he wrote: "The company is meant to be controlled by, and answerable to, its membership as well as having duties to the wider community. My firm impression is that some other directors would like to eliminate the membership's control of the organisation and are not committed to the company's not-for-profit objectives."
In response to Jim Davies' resignation call a group of eight former non-executive directors wrote to Bob Gilbert on Tuesday in support of the current regime.
"We have seen no credible evidence of any wrongdoing by either of you [Cowley and Gilbert]. Further, change of executive leadership at this difficult time would be hugely damaging to the company and to its stakeholders."
The two other current non-executive directors, Gordon Dick and Sebastien Lahtinen, also backed the executives. "We believe that you have both worked tirelessly to further the development of Nominet and the .uk domain in the interests of our members and all stakeholders since your appointment and to suggest otherwise is palpable nonsense," they wrote.
Hanton said his resignation would not automatically trigger an emergency company meeting, but that larger Nominet members might insist on it. Nominet was not immediately available for comment today. ®
*Someone who buys up web addresses either to sell on at a profit or to provide ongoing revenue via parking pages that carry sponsored links.
I appreciate the time you have put in your reply.
If you scroll a few centimeters up, you will see some domains I pointed Mr Jon Green to.
Do you think then that this highly reputable company is practising cybersquatting?
(If you think so, why not sue them!)
Let me ask you this way...
Would you not like to own a piece of land in LA, central London, Tokyo or New York?
If you would like to own one, would you not prefer to buy it NOW that the market has crashed and the prices are at their lowest?
I am expecting you to answer NO to all these questions above. Why? Because answering Yes would make you a hypocrite or ...a squatter (in YOUR understanding!!).
With all due respect, domaining is virtual real estate. A domainer is a virtual property developer.
And according to you, a property developer is a squatter, if I follow your logic.
I presume you are smart enough to understand the metaphor/comparison.
Regarding the example you used (theRegister.ru), if the Register holds an international trademark, then the person who registers trademark names is in the wrong. (I am repeating myself here). I cannot stress enough that this is the BIG difference between a domainer and a cybersquatter. A cybersquatter is doing an illegal act, a Domainer is not.
You also seem to forget that the internet is still very young! You cannot expect every domain to be giving you great websites like cars.com or business.com .
The time for Electronics.com to bear a stunning website will come too.
(Does every piece of land on earth have a state-of-the-art multi-storey building on it??) Patience, my dear, is a virtue!
But now, Would you rather have electronics.com resolving to an Error 404 "Page not found" or rather to a page with some links that still have some relation to electronics?
On a side note, I just thought I'd let you know, you will soon see more websites coming online soon. Parking is on the decline, and PPC revenues have taken a downward slope, which (as I mentioned in another comment above) is a good thing, since this will force (lazy?) domainers to develop.
You seem to hold a grudge with pages that serve adverts. Advertising is wrong according to you? How do you think Google or Yahoo! generates the main core of their profits?
"the person who 'should own' a domain name is the person who has the best use for that domain name."
What is best use according to you?
Isn't one man's Morris Minor another man's Lamborghini? Or... what would be 'best use' for polo.com ? Ralph Lauren? Volkswagen? The sport played on horseback ? Can you tell me which one? I can't.
I'm sorry to hear that 'your interests' that you feel you can talk authoritatively about came to you a bit late. Late enough for you to miss the chance of registering the perfect domain name. But you see, that's precisely (maybe!) what some people tried to avoid when they have registered domains a long time ago.
Congratulations on being able to settle on a different TLD. Don't worry, if your content is exteremely good, you will get the visitors you are after! Remember, Google didn't mean anything 10 years ago. Flikr.com is not even english!
So you have built a site on a domain, but let it go because the site flopped. Great, it's Your choice! But you can't impose that on other more perseverant people.
Do you know how many versions business.com went through from 1996 to how it looks today in 2008? Have a look for yourself with the WayBackMachine at www.archive.org . At one point it was even simply serving ads.
I am sad to see how sour you are towards people who have a vision.
Some people see small things, some people see big.
Some see the glass half empty, others half full.
That's how the world goes I'm afraid.
"There should be domainers (not cybersquatters) on the board."
you say tomato and I say tomato...
doesn't work as well in text.
there is no difference in my mind behind registering a name such as theregister.ru and waiting for the site to move into russian IT news where you can then hold the name for ransom -as it's a brand name and you have ideas that the brand may move there. or registering ITjournalism.com waiting for *any* IT journalist to come along who wants that site...
it's still squatting on a name hoping to make money from someone else who's got something more worthwhile to put there than the adverts that you're currently serving with a parking service.
"Tell me who wouldn't register business.com if that was available today? or who deserves to own Car.com ?"
business.com is a good example of someone who has bought a website and developed a business search engine, car.com has news and reviews on cars.
on the other hand electronics.com has adverts and links to adverts, surely a better use for a site name such as that would be an educational resource? user forum? in fact anything actually related to electronics would be better than a large interactive advert for other sites?
the person who "should" "own" a domain name is the person who has the best use for that domain name. -not someone who wants to serve adverts so that they can make a little money whilst waiting to make a lot of money from someone else who actually wants to develop a site/usable portal
"if you don't find the domain name you want available. Tough for you! You should have got that Bright idea about your website earlier."
Yes, that's all very well, but as a usual and normal human my interests, specifically those that I could talk authoritatively about have developed over time. also it will be true to say that there are many people out there who are only just in a position to buy a domain name, who may find that their domain name has already gone to an add farmer.
(as it happens I did just settle on a different TLD, but why should *anyone* *have* to do this so that people can make money from people trying to find a good resource and instead finding advert portals?)
"Mister Sourgrapes,.What if the name you registered was available, you get it and build a ridiculous website on it?BIg Flop!
Then a few years later, another person comes in with a MUCH better idea but needs that name you have? would you let him have it for free?"
I can tell you exactly what happens...
I've done it before, I've bought a site.
built a crap site, it flopped so I let it go...
this is what happened, the person building the crap site, cuts their losses, says goodbye to their site and the money that they've invested in it, and return the domain name to the pool of available names by not renewing the address. -that's exactly what I've done before and would do again if I had an idea for a site that just never worked out.
basically anyone squatting/camping/'domaining' on a name (generic/brand/otherwise) are doing a disservice to the users of the internet as a whole, and it's just plain wrong that people who seek to abuse the domain name registration/transfer process to make money should be sitting on the board of people who have authority to control that.
In response to: @N. O. Minet
Just because you're too thick to understand the difference between the 'Registry', in this case 'Nominet' who are a 'not for profit' organisation - and a 'Registrar', in this case a Domainer who runs a business and would probably see 'profit' as a logical part of 'being in business' doesn't actually make me the 'twunt'. Indeed, your own words rather indicate a level of understanding somewhat lower than the average pimple on my arse.