On Monday, March 22, 2021, Nominet, the United Kingdom’s registry operator for .UK domain names faces a stark choice between those who want it to remain true to its original purpose as a not-for-profit singularly focussed on efficiently and cost-effectively delivering domain name registry services for the .UK namespace and those that have more ambitious plans for the registry – which have to-date, involved substantial price increases on .UK registrants in order to fund new ventures. For example, one of these new ventures was investing in autonomous vehicles – something that is wholly outside of Nominet’s mission.
The Internet Commerce Association advocates for the rights and interests of domain name registrants. As a general principle, the ICA’s position is that a registry should prioritize providing registry services at cost or close to it. Anything beyond that unnecessarily imposes excessive fees on registrants. Concerning increases in management remuneration, reportedly increasing by 70% over five years, further demonstrates an organization that is straying from its core mission of operating as a modest not-for-profit without any ambitions beyond managing the .UK namespace.
Although the ICA takes no specific position on the resolutions before Nominet members, the ICA does believe that the current management’s track record of raising prices on registrants without any justification tied to the actual cost of performing the services requires a fundamental change in approach. The current Nominet management has undertaken to freeze .UK domain name prices for two years, but this in our view is entirely insufficient.
The ICA urges Nominet members to support efforts to restore Nominet’s core mission to operate the registry at cost as a not-for profit. Nominet’s management should never raise registration fees beyond what it takes to operate the registry in a prudent manner, with any excess revenue being directed to worthy causes and not to growing the breadth of Nominet’s limited mandate.
Voting by Nominet members ends Friday, March 19, 2021 at 5 pm London time
Because of his humble nature, you might not have heard of Adam Strong, our next Lonnie Borck Memorial Award Nominee. However, he is an industry veteran with 20 years of experience and an extensive digital design and development background. Adam has founded and co-founded several companies, such as namebio.com, and has been known to selflessly help many, both in the domain name industry and outside.
Having registered his first domain name in 1997, Adam has helped hundreds of companies buy and sell their domains. He currently resides in Central Illinois with his wife and two boys.
Today’s featured Lonnie Borck Memorial Award nominee is Donna Mahony. Donna has been a stalwart advocate for domain investors and is the founder of Domain Boardroom, bringing together domain investors worldwide. Domain Boardroom provides a safe, respectful, and noise-free gathering point for the transparent sharing of advice, support, and industry news. Donna created this unique space 10+ years ago and has played a key behind-the-scenes role in the growth of the domain investing industry, helping dozens of domain investors’ careers over the years. Donna was diagnosed with Pulmonary Hypertension several years ago and has been advocating for organ donations, which can save the lives of those suffering from the disease. She encourages everyone to register to become a donor, and you can do so here.
The Secondary Market in domain names plays a critical role in Internet commerce yet is often misunderstood. This article clear ups some of the common myths that frequently arise when discussing the Secondary Market.
The Secondary Market is a crucial feature of the domain name ecosystem which encompasses far more parties than domain name investors alone, who play an important but relatively modest part in it. Domain name investors help the Secondary Market to function better for the benefit of sellers, buyers and Internet users by providing liquidity and assisting in moving underutilized domain names to their highest and best use.
A competitive free market is the best system we have for allocating scarce resources such as domain names. Prices for domain names are established in the Secondary Market, not by domain name investors alone, but rather when buyers and sellers come to a meeting of the minds as to the relative value of a domain name. Domain name investors deal in desirable domain names that would be registered by someone, whether a domain name investor or someone else, and invariably whoever owns a domain name would only part with it if a satisfactory sale price was obtained. Ultimately, domain name investors are proxies for sellers by stepping into the shoes of the seller, staking his or her own capital and taking the risk and responsibility of reselling a domain name on the open market to a party who may have a more valuable use for it than the previous owner.
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As each year, thanks to NamesCon’s generous support, the Lonnie Borck Memorial Award was presented during this year’s conference. The award was created to honor the memory of a well-respected and much-loved member of the domain community who was tragically lost far too soon and recognizes those who make an exceptional contribution to fostering a sense of community within the domain name community. This year’s winner, Michael Cyger, represents exactly that. Michael is the founder of DomainSherpa.com, and DNAcademy.com and has helped educate and inform many in the domain name industry. When the COVID pandemic shut down in-person gatherings, he put together a weekly Domain Industry Quarantine Social that allowed the industry to connect socially over Zoom. He has helped create a sense of community in the domain name industry that will continue to carry on.
The virtual format of the conference didn’t allow for an in-person award presentation, but thanks to Andrew Alleman’s readiness to step in, the ICA was able to surprise Michael with the award, and you’ll find excellent coverage of the award ceremony on dnjournal.com.
We were also fortunate to have Lonnie’s widow, Ronit, join us remotely and speak about what the award means to her and her family.
The ICA would like to congratulate Michael Cyger on the well-deserved award! We also want to thank everyone involved for your efforts in putting the ceremony together.
The nominations for the 2021 Lonnie Borck Memorial Award are now open. This will be the award’s fifth year, second since the award’s scope was expanded to honor those whose contributions have fostered a sense of community within the domain name industry. This change reflects Lonnie’s generous spirit and opens the nominations to a broader pool of people who can be recognized with the award. Last year’s award went to Ron Jackson of DNJournal.com, who was the first person to provide daily in-depth coverage of the activities of domain investors and to treat the business as industry worthy of coverage. His in-depth profiles of many participants in the industry helped us to get to know each other personally and to build a sense of community.
With NamesCon’s continued support, the 2021 Lonnie Borck Memorial Award will again be held during the conference. The nomination’s form will stay open until November 7th, and the nominations process is open to the entire domain name community. After the nomination’s process closes, ICA members will vote on the top 3 submissions and the ICA Board will select the winner.
We look forward to your submissions! Please help us by submitting your nominations and by sharing the form with your industry colleagues!
List of previous winners
2020 – Ron Jackson
2019 – John Berryhill
2018 – Kathy Kleiman
2017 – David Weslow