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
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