Nominet EGM – 5 Directors Gone

In breaking news, the PublicBenefit.uk campaign to get change at Nominet (the UK domain regulator) has succeeded. Domainer wrote about this possibility last week.

The CEO resigned prior to the EGM, but the other four directors got effectively fired Monday (UK time).

Once again, Kieren McCarthy has done a fine job covering the story with this just published article. And locally, David Goldstein has also published a comprehensive report.

True membership organisations must have the ability to hold their Board of Directors and senior management to account.

auDA should take note of this result. Déjà Vu indeed.

7 thoughts on “Nominet EGM – 5 Directors Gone

  • Avatar
    March 23, 2021 at 10:54 am
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    Sometimes a good clean-out is the only way to move an industry forward.

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  • Scott.L
    March 23, 2021 at 12:46 pm
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    Depends on how you clean it out.

    You either get rid of an under-performing board or the Board gets rid of its members – auDA board removed its members by flooding its membership with international call center personnel employed by Registrars. These fraudulent members were only members for about a week before they were removed when they voted on constitutional change which excluded international persons from becoming members of auDA. Now, that is absurd! To Vote against your right to be a member.

    To add insult to injury, the new constitution gives 12 “special members” of auDA power to remove directors and change the constitution. Who appointed these members? The auDA Board of course. We’ve already seen this dozen change the constitution for the benefit of the Board, and we’ve seen them put forth director candidates who are elected with less than 7% of the 3,500+ associate member vote. Just think on that for a moment, a measly 7% of the 3,500+ membership voted for Jackie and a mere quorum out of 12 members (NomCom) can change the auDA Constitution. Its a sure sign auDA is not motivated by membership engagement because auDA does not want its members holding its directors to account.

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    • Avatar
      March 24, 2021 at 7:31 am
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      From 2020-Q4 Report

      “In October, Associate Members cast their vote in the Elected Director ballot, making an important contribution to auDA’s governance. The Nominations Committee and the Board shortlisted three candidates from a strong pool of 80 applicants to fill the fourth Elected Director vacancy on the Board.”

      2 out of the 3 shortlisted candidates had previous relationships with the current board.

      “Jackie Korhonen was the successful candidate, receiving the most favourable votes from members, and a majority of favourable votes, as required under the auDA Constitution.”

      Jackie Korhonen only received 7% of the membership vote and was appointed the position of elected director for the next 3 years on a remuneration package of $45,000 AUD per annum. The 2020 AGM minutes, continues auDA’s new commitment to transparency, and fails to specify the number of votes or candidates.

      The 8 Nominations Committee Members, who voted to change the constitution to prevent auDA reverting back to a membership organisation, have received an estimated $300,000 AUD.

      The auDA Foundation has provided an estimated $0 AUD to the Australian community over the last 3 years. Some question its status as a charity and tax free benefits.

      auDA is estimated to generate $16,000,000 AUD (16 Million) in revenue per annum.

      auDA likes to compare itself to Nominet. You can see why.

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      • Neddy
        March 24, 2021 at 10:45 am
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        Succinctly put as always Nobby.

        Of course, the $16 million will pale into insignificance when direct registration is implemented.

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  • Avatar
    March 23, 2021 at 1:46 pm
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    What ever happened the the money and purpose of the auDA Foundations $millions?

    The old auDA 2.0 was using the Nominet playbook to wind down the charity usage etc.

    “The Trustee For Auda Foundation” https://www.acnc.gov.au/charity/0b130f647df5b431982faad4191024e7

    Financials https://www.acnc.gov.au/charity/0b130f647df5b431982faad4191024e7#financials-documents

    People https://www.acnc.gov.au/charity/0b130f647df5b431982faad4191024e7#people

    Governing Document shows breaches have been occuring for years it seems?
    Governing Document https://acncpubfilesprodstorage.blob.core.windows.net/public/7fe71824-39af-e811-a963-000d3ad244fd-68f49346-024d-4806-9eff-fc6d150f4021-Governing%20Document-ff889f1a-48b0-e811-a963-000d3ad244fd-auDA_Foundation_Trust_Deed.pdf

    As per the Governing Document they are supposed to abide by:

    Who have received grant money since 2016
    What for?
    Who chose them to receive the grants?
    How much for each grant?
    Where are the reports that are required to prove the granbt was worthy and reported outcomes?

    auDA raised $millions from the auction and sale of geberic .com.au names which founded the Foundation then every registratin and renewal also went into the coffers for many years.

    https://archive.auda.org.au/news/auda-publishes-list-of-unallocated-com-au-generic-names/
    “1,612 generic names were allocated, either to a single eligible applicant or at auction. The highest price paid for a generic name was $153,000, for flowers.com.au.

    The median auction price was $2,900. Most names were allocated for the minimum reserve price of $100.

    The process raised approximately $2,611,000 in total, of which auDA has allocated approximately $780,000 for tax and $500,000 for contingencies.

    At its meeting in August 2002, the auDA Board gave in principle support to a proposal to use the remainder of the auction revenue to establish the “auDA Foundation”.

    The purpose of the Foundation will be to enhance the utility of the Internet for the benefit of the Australian community, through sponsorship of education and community projects.

    The proposal is being further developed by a Board sub-committee, which is expected to provide a report to the Board at the October 2002 meeting. ”

    https://www.smh.com.au/technology/name-profits-may-boost-internet-use-20021008-gdfp5s.html

    Name profits may boost Internet use
    October 8, 2002 — 10.00am

    The .au Domain Administration is considering using some of the $2.6 million raised by the release of a series of generic domain names to fund the establishment of a foundation aimed at enhancing use of the Internet.

    AuDA has announced that a subcommittee is developing the proposal, which has received in-principle support from the auDA board.

    In a statement released last week, auDA said the foundation’s purpose would be to enhance the utility of the Internet for the benefit of the Australian community through sponsorship of education and community projects.

    Under a process launched last December, auDA released more than 3000 previously banned generic .com.au domain names.

    Some of these were allocated to a single applicant while others were contested by a number of bidders in a confidential online auction process run by the online auction site stuff.com.au.

    The organisation announced last week that 1612 of the names had been allocated, either to a single applicant for $110 plus the registration fee or in the online auction.

    The highest price paid for the rights to a name was $153,000 for flowers.com.au, which was snapped up by web entrepreneur Alan Rogers, who also runs a search-engine facility called Lookle. The median auction price was $2900.

    AuDA says that of the more than $2.6 million raised in the process, $780,000 has been allocated for tax and $500,000 for contingencies, leaving the possibility that more than $1.3 million could be put towards the foundation.

    AuDA chief executive Chris Disspain said last week he did not know whether the foundation would continue after the initial funds were exhausted.

    “That’s one of the things that needs to be considered,” he said.

    Last week auDA published a list of the 1370 names that had not yet been allocated. The eclectic mix ranged from abortion.com.au through to zinc.com.au, with names such as prostitutes.com.au, acupuncturist.com.au and foods.com.au in between.

    The names were offered for registration from Thursday morning on a first-come, first-served basis.

    The editor of whatsinaname.com.au Josh Rowe set up a website to monitor the process. He said that within 15 to 30 minutes of names being offered for registration, about 700 had been allocated. By 4.30pm only 330 of the names remained unallocated.

    After 24 hours of the sale, 224 names remained – from aviary.com.au to woodworks.com.au.

    According to Rowe most of the early registrations were handled by domain name registrar Melbourne IT, followed closely by Net Registry.

    Rowe said the rush for the domains released last week was a bit surprising, given that people could have obtained the rights to the domain names in the earlier auction.

    A Brisbane-based partner at Mallesons Stephen Jaques, John Swinson, who specialises in intellectual property and technology law, said one of the hardest tasks auDA had when it decided to lift the restriction on generic names was deciding how to allocate them.

    “None of the systems I’ve ever seen are perfect,” Swinson said. “In theory an auction is a good way to do it because, if you’re looking at economic theory, you’ve got limited resources and the person who’s prepared to pay the most for it, the person who believes they need it the most and will most likely use the resource in the most efficient way.”

    Swinson said that, while the economic theory looked good, other questions then arose – such as whether the auction was conducted fairly, whether people had the right notice and whether people were allowed to bid openly and honestly.

    “I think for the most part it did work,” he said.

    One successful bidder in the first auction, who asked to remain anonymous, said he believed the allocation of the generic domain names had been generally handled well.

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  • Avatar
    March 23, 2021 at 2:34 pm
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    How is it that the CEO knew to resign a day before with such close voting? Was he looking at the votes? Either way he is coward to resign instead of going to the meeting.

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    • Neddy
      March 23, 2021 at 2:56 pm
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      Paul, my understanding is that he knew the die was cast – and so he became the “sacrificial fattened lamb”. The hope of the Nominet Board was that his departure would sway some voters back to their side i.e. lose just one instead of five.

      I imagine he is getting a substantial “golden handshake”.

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