An Extraordinary General Meeting held Monday saw four of Nominet’s directors including Chair Mark Wood removed from their positions, while CEO and board member Russell Haworth stood down on Sunday, the day before the meeting. The Board clear-out follows a campaign for reform of the .uk ccTLD registry by Public Benefit .UK.
Nominet’s CEO Russell Haworth has become the sacrifice in the ongoing battles over management of the .uk ccTLD. In an announcement today, Nominet said Haworth “intends to step down from the Board and relinquish his duties as CEO. Russell will complete a short transition, arrangements for which details are being finalised. The board will announce interim leadership measures in due course.” Whether Haworth’s sacrifice minimises the fallout coming from today’s EGM remains to be seen.
Nominet has given some ground in light of a number of members, currently around 17.4% of members, proposing to dismiss half the board including the entire senior executive team and a number of other changes. As part of its efforts to appease the insurrectors, Nominet is proposing to scale up its public benefit programme, freeze .uk prices for at least two years and freeze board-level pay through the end of 2022, among other proposals.
London’s Sunday Telegraph reported of an insurrection brewing at Nominet, the .uk registry, with a former chair of the BBC “backing a bid to oust nearly half of the board of Nominet … amid anger over rising pay and falling contributions to good causes.”
The number of .uk domain names suspended dropped by 23% to 22,158 according to the latest update from Nominet on .uk domains suspended for criminal activity over the 12 months to October 2020. This is around 0.22% of the 10 million .uk domains currently registered.
Nominet and PIPCU, the City of London Police’s intellectual property unit, are collaborating in a pilot to protect internet users from scams online. The industry first initiative for a ccTLD registry sees Nominet introducing law enforcement landing pages for .uk domain names suspended due to criminal activity. This will provide information for those who may have been affected by the criminal activity related to the domain name.
The second quarter of 2020 saw global domain name registrations continue to rise, with an increase of 3.3 million, or 0.9%. This took total registrations around the world to 370.1 million as the global COVID-19 pandemic continued to wreak havoc.
Nominet has opened a consultation looking at how to implement a more transparent process for informing registrars and the wider public when expired .uk domain names will be made available for re-registration. They are also considering different methods for releasing highly desired expired domains which are contested (i.e. there are multiple parties seeking to register the domain name).
Nominet is donating Â£1 to the Samaritans for every new, paid for .uk domain registered from 9 December 2019 until 17 January 2020. Going by new registrations statistics provided by Nominet for 2019, Samaritans is likely to benefit to the tune of around Â£170,000.
Funds raised through new domain registrations ending in .co.uk, .uk, .org.uk, .me.uk, .ltd.uk, .plc.uk and .net.uk, will support Samaritansâ work developing its vital webchat service from its pilot stage to launch.
Samaritans is the leading suicide prevention charity in the United Kingdom, and is the only organisation that provides free emotional support 24 hours a day, 365 days a year to anyone across the UK and Ireland who is struggling to cope. Nominet, the registry for the .uk country code top-level domain (ccTLD), notes the latest suicide rates in the UK rose for the first time in five years and revealed, in particular, in recent years the rate of suicide in young people has increased.
Samaritansâ webchat pilots have already demonstrated clear evidence of the need for this service, with the charity receiving many first-time contacts from young people in states of severe distress. The aim is to make the online environment safer for young people by offering them more ways to contact Samaritans, ensuring the charityâs vital services are accessible to everyone and in ways that work best for the user.
âNominet is already supporting us to build essential new digital products that will enable Samaritans to improve our services and reach more people who need them,â said Francis Bacon, Assistant Director of Digital Services and Change, Samaritans. âWeâre very grateful that they have chosen to support us even further with this festive fundraising initiative via .UK domain registrations. The additional contribution will accelerate our ability to bring our webchat pilot to launch, which will be a milestone achievement for the charity as we endeavour to always be there for everyone.â
Nominet is a Samaritans Digital Transformation partner. Earlier this year, Nominet announced it is providing Â£175,000, in addition to lending their expertise as one of the countryâs leading technology companies, to support the development of the two new digital products. These are a self-help tool for coping with distress and suicidal thoughts, and a new system which will allow volunteers to respond to significant volumes of additional contacts. Overall, with a guaranteed minimum contribution from the .UK registration campaign of Â£140k, Nominetâs total contribution to Samaritans will be over Â£300k.
In 2018, Nominet supported Children in Need with a similar domain registrations initiative. The funds raised went towards the charityâs projects that use digital or new technology to support disadvantaged children and young people across the UK.
An EBERO provider is temporarily activated if a generic Top-Level Domain (gTLD) operator is at risk of failing to sustain critical registry functions. Ensuring the availability of these functions protects registrants, also known as domain name holders, and provides an additional layer of protection to the Domain Name System (DNS), and industry ecosystem.
“CNNIC, CIRA, and Nominet all have the experience, staff, and systems required to execute an efficient transition should an EBERO event occur,” said Cyrus Namazi, Senior Vice President of ICANN‘s Global Domains Division. “Their geographic diversity is also a benefit, enabling nearly continuous coverage across multiple time zones, and the ability to provide services in multiple regions in case of local disasters.”
âWe are honoured to be among this select group of trusted registry operators. In a short time period, the CIRA Registry Platform and DNS have been recognized as among the most advanced and robust platforms for managing a top-level domain,” said Dave Chiswell, vice president, product development, CIRA. “When we transitioned .CA to our new platform we incurred only eight hours of downtime. Our technology and know-how enable us to migrate a registry quickly and will be essential should our services ever be required in an emergency.â
EBEROs have demonstrated years of experience in operating domain name services, registration data directory services and extensible provisioning protocol services. Additional requirements for the EBERO service are noted in the Request for Proposal published here.
Click here for more information about the EBERO Program.
ICANN‘s mission is to help ensure a stable, secure, and unified global Internet. To reach another person on the Internet, you need to type an address â a name or a number â into your computer or other device. That address must be unique so computers know where to find each other. ICANN helps coordinate and support these unique identifiers across the world. ICANN was formed in 1998 as a not-for-profit public-benefit corporation with a community of participants from all over the world.
This ICANN announcement was sourced from: https://www.icann.org/news/announcement-2019-08-26-en. It also includes an additional quote from CIRA’s Dave Chiswell.