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Anger as Nominet rejects coup’s pick for chair

Kevin Murphy, April 13, 2021, Domain Registries

.uk registry Nominet has rejected its members’ favorite for chair of the board, causing no small amount of irritation among those who backed last month’s boardroom coup.

Company acting chair Rob Binns yesterday told members that Sir Michael Lyons, who headed a review of Nominet a few years ago, will not be asked to be chair, after they failed to reach agreement on terms.

The company has posted an application form (pdf) for would-be chairs.

It seems Lyons was only looking for a short-term gig to help transition Nominet to a new operating model in line with the demands of the PublicBenefit.uk campaign, but Nominet wanted a commitment of at least three years.

Binns wrote (pdf) to members:

After much careful consideration, the Board has decided not to invite Sir Michael to be acting Chair. There was much in common between the current path the board is committed to, and Sir Michael’s view. However, the Board wants and needs a long-term Chair appointment to steer the company’s future and that did not align with Sir Michael’s conditions. We did explore a non-executive director seat but it was clear Sir Michael did not want such a role.

Binns had previously informed members their pick for deputy chair, Axel Pawlik, had also declined a consulting role at the registry.

Lyons and Pawlik had been put forward, with their cooperation, as replacement directors in last month’s Emergency General Meeting, which saw chair Mark Wood and three other directors fired by a slim majority of member votes.

CEO Russell Haworth resigned from both his executive and board roles shortly before the EGM rather that face the vote.

While PublicBenefit’s effort to slash the board almost in half was successful, a second motion to install Lyons and Pawlik did not make it to the agenda, with Nominet’s previous leadership claiming it broke company rules on member-selected directors.

Both Lyons and Pawlik signed a letter to Nominet yesterday expressing disappointment that they failed to come to an agreement and dripping with grim foreshadowing of future member action.

It (pdf) reads a little like a preemptive told-you-so.

We do not believe that you are currently in a strong enough position to begin recruiting new board members or a new CEO. Both require clarity about future mission and stability.

From the very beginning of our discussions, I have consistently underlined my concern to avoid a continuing period of uncertainty or to inherit a divided board, trying to fight the battles of the past. I wish you well with the task you have taken on.

The PublicBenefit campaign, spearheaded by Simon Blackler of the registrar Krystal Hosting, wants Nominet to eschew the diversification of its recent years under Haworth and return to its domain name registry roots, with lower wholesale prices and more money returned to public benefit causes.

The remaining board, under Binns and now supplemented by two newly appointed members of Nominet’s executive suite, has put forward a plan that addresses some of the campaign’s concerns, but many members do not believe quite enough humble pie has been eaten yet.

Members were angered last week when head of registry Eleanor Bradley, one of the ousted directors, was made interim CEO, a move one member today described as “taking the piss”.

Today, most of the member sentiment on social media has been critical of Nominet’s post-EGM choices, with rumblings of a second EGM to finish off the job.

But there was some appreciation that Nominet has been heavily engaging in discussions on Twitter today, which marks a switch from the pre-EGM hands-off approach to member engagement.

The company will hold a members-only meeting on Friday morning to discuss its plan for the future and, unlike the EGM, listen-only passes for the media appear to be available.

Nominet members wail as ousted director made CEO

Nominet has been accused of being “tone deaf” to its members’ criticisms after it appointed two staffers to its board of directors and named a recently ousted director as interim CEO.

The .uk registry told members last week that Eleanor Bradley will occupy the corner office “for approximately 6 months” while a permanent replacement for Russel Haworth is sought.

Haworth quit last month rather than face the wrath of members at an Extraordinary General Meeting that shortly thereafter voted to remove Bradley and three other directors from the board.

Bradley has been with the company for many years and was head of registry at Nominet, and seems like an obvious pick for an internal appointment, but members took to social media to express their displeasure.

The EGM was held after a campaign to round up the votes at PublicBenefit.uk, organized by Simon Blackler of Krystal Hosting. Members had hoped to install Sir Michael Lyons and Axel Pawlik on the board as chair and deputy chair.

But Nominet said that its bylaws would not allow directors to be selected this way, and there was no vote on that motion.

Instead, after the vote, relatively new director Rob Binns has taken the acting chair’s job and CIO Adam Leach and company secretary Rory Kelly joined the board from staff.

Binns informed the members of the appointments in a letter March 31 (pdf), which also said that Pawlik has been offered a consulting gig but had declined.

While eating a generous slice of humble pie, assuring members that the EGM was “an opportunity to reset and begin rebuilding the relationship between membership and Nominet”, the plan for the company he outlined was not a million miles away from the plan Nominet had put forward to address members’ concerns under its previous management.

Crucially, Nominet is still backing its non-core security business, which many members believe is an unnecessary diversification that diverted focus from the registry and profits from public benefit causes.

Binns said: “We believe those capabilities are integral to the public benefit we provide, so we want to develop a refreshed structure that protects that capability while addressing members’ desire for Nominet to focus more on its core activities.”

He also backed plans for a Registry Advisory Council, which would have seats for members, and said Nominet will bring back its web-based member discussion forum, which was closed down last year.

His letter contains no mention of reducing prices, one of the five big asks the PublicBenefit.uk campaign made.

Most of the social media reaction to Binns’ letter was negative. Notably, Richard Kirkendall, CEO of Namecheap, one of the largest registrars to publicly expressed its support for the campaign, tweeted:

Others had similar points of view, and some speculated that a second EGM may be required to set Nominet on the path the majority of its members appear to want.

Motion to fire five Nominet directors passes in tight vote

Kevin Murphy, March 22, 2021, Domain Registries

Nominet’s members this afternoon voted to fire five of the .uk registry’s directors, including its chair and CEO, in an unexpectedly tight poll.

There were 2,432,105 votes in favor of the motion to fire Mark Wood, Eleanor Bradley, Ben Hill and Jane Tozer, compared to 2,179,477 against, which works out to 52.74% for and 47.26% against.

Members get allotted votes according to how many domains under management they have, capped at 3% of the total cross-membership vote count.

In the end, it appears that the vote was swung by a small handful of larger registrars. Tucows and Namecheap were the largest registrars to say they would vote for the board cull.

Turnout was 53.5% of eligible voters, which I gather is extraordinarily high for a Nominet member vote. The full results are here (pdf).

The original motion also named CEO Russell Haworth, but he quit his board seat and executive role yesterday.

Bradley and Hill, respectively managing director of the registry and CFO, have left the board but keep their staff jobs.

Rob Binns is now acting chair, Nominet said.

The vote took place at an Extraordinary General Meeting held virtually this afternoon, which was called for after 5% of Nominet’s registrar/domainer members signed a petition at PublicBenefit.uk.

The campaign was orchestrated by Simon Blacker of the registrar Krystal Hosting, reflecting growing displeasure among members about Nominet’s strategic direction and lack of member engagement.

After the result was announced this hour, Blackler was quick to hail it as “a watershed moment in Nominet’s history”, saying that it “demonstrates the resolve of the membership to restore its original purpose”, in a letter (pdf) to the “remnant” board.

He went on to call for the campaign’s original two picks for chair and vice-chair replacements — Sir Michael Lyons and Axel Pawlik — to be appointed to the board on an interim basis.

The EGM, which lasted for about an hour, saw directors repeatedly acknowledge and occasionally apologize for taking too long to recognize the breadth and depth of members’ concerns, promising to turn things around.

The key theme to emerge was that the company is now on the same page as its members and is committed to addressing their concerns, but that eliminating almost half of the 11-person board would delay these actions by months.

Wood also reiterated that the threat of UK government intervention is real, should it be perceived that Nominet — a piece of critical infrastructure in all but name — was becoming unstable.

The EGM result was due around 1800 UTC but was delayed by more than three hours, apparently due to the higher than expected turnout.

Nominet boss jumps before he is pushed

Kevin Murphy, March 22, 2021, Domain Registries

With the almost inevitable prospect of being fired by Nominet’s membership this afternoon, CEO Russell Haworth yesterday quit the company.

He will leave both the board of directors and the corner office after a “short transition” and by “mutual consent”, the board announced. Interim leadership will be announced later.

Chair Mark Wood said in a statement: “The board appreciates his decision to step down now at a time when it is clear the company needs to consider its future direction.”

The announcement came a day before Nominet, the .uk registry, holds an Emergency General Meeting called by its membership of registrars and domainers, unhappy with the direction the company has taken over the five years of Haworth’s leadership.

He has faced criticism for diversifying the business outside of core registry services, inflating his own salary, increasing domain prices, ignoring member input, and slashing the amount of money given to public benefit causes.

Wood’s own position is still precarious — the EGM, which came about after a petition at PublicBenefit.uk secured the support of 5% of Nominet’s members, will in a matter of hours consider a motion to fire Haworth, Wood and three other directors.

A second motion, to install two new hand-picked directors who promised to reconfigure the registry’s strategy, did not make the agenda as Nominet says it is not compatible with the company’s own rules on director selection.

With Haworth’s departure evidently some kind of 11th-hour queen sacrifice, Wood made one last public plea to the PublicBenefit.uk campaign, which is led by Krystal Hosting’s Simon Blackler, to back off.

He told members that Nominet has already moved to address many of their concerns: freezing (although not lowering) domain prices, freezing board/executive compensation, donating more profit to worthy causes, and creating new channels for membership engagement. He wrote:

Nominet is not a standard company. It is a membership organisation, and the members need to buy into the company’s strategy. It is clear many do not.

Simon Blackler’s campaign tapped into this discontent, and we have seen his support grow. At the same time, I have also had the opportunity to speak with a large number of members of different types and sizes all around the world. I have heard consistently that Nominet should focus on registry, that they want better member involvement in decision-making, and that more of our financial reserves should be devoted to public benefit activity. That input should set the framework for where Nominet moves next. And the journey should begin at once.

With the vote now upon us, I think it no longer really matters which way the result goes. The campaign has had its desired impact, reinforced by the dialogue we have had with so many members. We are all moving in the same direction and aiming to achieve the same objectives.

He went on to double-down on claims that the UK government may exercise its decade-old statutory powers to step in and take over the registry, if it detects the company has been destabilized.

I was not scaremongering in warning that government are also watching developments very closely. The .UK registry and our cyber platforms are key parts of critical national infrastructure, and they cannot be put at risk from internal upheaval at Nominet. We have been questioned in detail about developments and have been told bluntly that the government is dusting off its intervention powers under the 2010 Digital Communications Act. We must tread carefully.

The last-minute olive branch and warning combo is probably not enough to save Wood’s bacon, however.

On Twitter, the PublicBenefit.uk campaign this morning continued to call for “the immediate appointment of Sir Michael and Axel Pawlik”, the two men it backs to become chair and vice-chair respectively.

The members-only EGM will be held at 1500 UTC today. PublicBenefit has secured the support of almost 30% of members’ voting rights, including those of large registrars Tucows and Namecheap, but it only needs a simple majority of those who actually show up to the (virtual) meeting today in order to get its resolution passed. Such meetings are historically lightly attended.

Watch: the exact moment Nominet’s CEO sealed his fate

Kevin Murphy, March 19, 2021, Domain Registries

With Nominet CEO Russell Haworth set to lose his job on Monday, the chain of events that led to his ouster can probably be traced back to a single statement made last year, which was happily caught on camera.

At the company’s Annual General Meeting last September, Haworth announced the closure of the member discussion forum it had hosted on its own web site for many years.

He said the forum was “dominated by a handful of posters, and has increasingly become aggressive and hostile, not least towards our staff”.

The plug was pulled on the site immediately, mid-speech, driving active members into a rage.

One unimpressed member was Simon Blackler, CEO of Krystal Hosting, who later went on to start the PublicBenefit.uk campaign, whose supporters are set to ouster five directors on Monday.

Blackler told The Register recently that the “deliberately spiteful” forum closure was the final straw after years of complaints about Haworth’s leadership.

Here’s the video of Haworth’s speech, cued up to the time-code when he seals his fate:

Restoring the old forum was one of a raft of measures Nominet recently said it would introduce in order to respond to member concerns and stave off the boardroom cull. But that was apparently too little too late.

Stick a fork in Nominet’s leadership. Tucows votes to fire half the board

Kevin Murphy, March 19, 2021, Domain Registries

Tucows has become the latest registrar to say it will vote to fire five of Nominet’s 11 directors, including its CEO and chair, making the success of the ongoing member-driven coup pretty much inevitable.

The company said yesterday that it has already voted for the PublicBenefit.uk campaign’s motion, to be considered at the .uk registry’s Emergency General Meeting on Monday.

Tucows is Nominet’s fourth-largest registrar, with 381,468 domains under management. Its voting rights are capped at 3% of the total.

PublicBenefit.uk now says it has 29.1% of all votes backing its campaign, with 473 members signed up.

Because the threshold to pass its resolution is a simple majority of those who actually turn out to vote on the day, the likelihood of the five directors surviving the EGM are now surely negligible.

The first motion kicks out CEO Russell Haworth, chair Mark Wood, CFO Ben Hill, registry managing director Eleanor Bradley and appointed non-executive director Jane Tozer.

The second, which Nominet refused to put on the ballot, would have appointed two new directors: Sir Michael Lyons, who will serve as chair, and Axel Pawlik, deputy chair. Lyons is a former chair of the BBC Trust, who in 2015 oversaw a review into Nominet’s corporate governance. Pawlik is a former MD of European IP address registry RIPE-NCC.

Both have promised to refocus Nominet by abandoning its attempts to diversify into commercial areas such as cybersecurity, while also reducing .uk wholesale prices and donating more of its profits to public benefit causes.

In throwing its weight behind the resolution, Tucows’ director of domains Ashley La Bolle said in a blog post:

Most registries, but particularly country code registries are, or should be, very profitable operations. A country code TLD is also a public asset and an important component of a nation’s critical infrastructure. The registry should have a narrow and focused mandate, deliver a stable and secure service, operate in a risk-averse manner, and manage costs appropriately. As a public asset, surplus funds from the operation of a registry should be delivered to thoughtful and relevant public benefit initiatives, while also containing and reducing costs for the millions of businesses and consumers that use and rely on the domain names.

It’s the second of Nominet’s top 10 registrars to back PublicBenefit.uk, after #7 Namecheap, which has 201,355 .uk names under management.

The Internet Commerce Association, which represents the interest of domain investors but is not a Nominet member, said it took no position on the resolution, but broadly supported the overarching goals:

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.

Those Nominet members who have pledged support for the board shakeup are being urged to give their voting proxy to Simon Blackler, who runs the registrar Krystal Hosting and initiated the PublicBenefit.uk campaign, before close of business UK time today.

Blackler says that almost all of these members have already voted.

It’s going to take an unprecedented turnout of Nominet’s remaining membership, with the vast majority opposed to the firings, to save these five directors at this point.

UPDATE: This article was updated shortly after its original posting to clarify that Nominet had refused to put the campaign’s second motion on the ballot.

Nominet warns of government takeover as Namecheap backs fire-the-directors campaign

Kevin Murphy, March 15, 2021, Domain Policy

Nominet has raised the specter of a government takeover of the .uk registry, should members vote to oust five of its top directors at an Emergency General Meeting a week from now.

The warning came as part of the company’s anti-EGM publicity, and at a time when the campaign for a Yes vote has passed 25% of eligible votes, with Namecheap becoming the biggest name yet to support the ouster.

In a blog post, the company refers readers back to the Digital Economy Act of 2010, which in part gives the UK government the ability to unilaterally take over .uk, should Nominet seriously mess up:

It means that the government can step in, if Nominet is ever considered unstable or not capable of governing itself.

Removing five directors, including two of the four independents, and pressuring the remaining directors to install candidates outside normal procedures, as the EGM petitioners seek to do, would be a huge step backwards in terms of good governance. We have been warned that instability will be of serious concern to government. We know it would create a scenario which would make intervention more likely.

That part of the Act was brought in because at the time Nominet was perceived to be at risk of capture by domain investors. It has since reformed its constitution to make this less likely.

The current situation could be seen as a replay of the situation 11 years ago, with many of those most unhappy with Nominet’s recent strategy among the domainer community.

The campaign, PublicBenefit.uk, wants to fire five directors including the chair and CEO and replace them with two new appointments who have promised to lower .uk domain prices and direct more profit to public benefit causes.

As of today, the campaign has 429 member signatories, representing 25.1% of voting rights. This is probably enough to pass its resolutions, which call for a simple majority of members attending the EGM.

Namecheap has become the largest registrar so far to sign up. It’s the seventh-largest .uk registrar, with 201,355 domains under management. GoDaddy, 1&1 Ionos, Tucows, and the others in the top 10 are so-far undecided. Google has said it will abstain.

It’s debatable whether the Digital Economy Act applies here. The Act deems that a registry has failed under two quite narrow circumstances:

(a)the registry, or any of its registrars or end-users, engages in prescribed practices that are unfair or involve the misuse of internet domain names, or

(b)the arrangements made by the registry for dealing with complaints in connection with internet domain names do not comply with prescribed requirements.

Do either of those apply to PublicBenefit.uk’s demands? It looks like a stretch.

The EGM will take place March 22, next Monday, and right now it’s not looking great for Nominet’s top brass.

Nominet declares member coup “invalid”

Kevin Murphy, February 16, 2021, Domain Registries

Nominet has stared fighting back against a plot by some of its members to kick out the CEO, chair and three other directors, declaring part of the plan “invalid”.

The PublicBenefit.uk campaign, which currently has the backing of over 17% of members’ voting rights, wants to replace these five directors with two of its own choosing: former BBC Trust chair Sir Michael Lyons and former RIPE NCC managing director Axel Pawlik.

Nominet confirmed yesterday that it will shortly call the demanded Extraordinary General Meeting, as required by its bylaws, and that the resolution calling for the board cull will be voted on.

But it said it cannot allow the second resolution, which would bring in the two new directors, to go ahead. Chair Mark Wood wrote that such a move would be illegal under Nominet’s own rules on director selection:

we have unequivocal advice that the second resolution, seeking to designate Sir Michael Lyons and Axel Pawlik as Directors is invalid and cannot be put before members. We have reviewed this carefully with our legal advisors, and independent counsel, who have all advised us that this is the case. This is because Members may appoint directors only through the elections process specified by our constitution, articles and bylaws, and the maximum number of member-elected Board seats are already filled.

Wood goes on to say that to remove so many key directors and leave their seats empty would be a further destabilizing factor on the company, which runs the .uk registry.

The risk of leaving Nominet rudderless has been a key theme of the company’s response to PublicBenefit.uk since its petition first emerged last month. Nominet wants the EGM request withdrawn.

The campaign, which is fronted by Simon Blackler of Krystal Hosting, tweeted in response:

We sought legal advice before we started and believe both resolutions are valid.

If you’re truly worried about stability resign and appoint the Directors the members want?

The campaign wants a clean slate on the board in order to have Nominet reduce its wholesale prices, rein in its efforts at product diversification, and start returning more of its profits to public benefit causes.

Wood last week committed to pay £4 million to such causes in the first half of this year, double its 2020 contribution and a return to 2016 levels.

Nominet chair eats humble pie to stave off mass board cull

Kevin Murphy, February 9, 2021, Domain Registries

Nominet’s board of directors has outlined a series of changes it plans to make, including freezing its own pay and .uk domain prices, in an effort to avoid a member move to fire half the board, including the CEO and chair.

They’re also going to bring back the late, lamented member discussion forums.

Chair Mark Wood today wrote that Nominet plans to increase the amount of revenue it gives to “public benefit” purposes, which he said will hit £4 million by June, double last year’s amount.

After 2021, the company will donate 10% if its annual revenue to these causes, he said. That would be roughly £4.5 million a year, based on 2020 revenues, and roughly in line with 2015 levels, when the current senior management took over.

He went on to say that .uk registry fees will be frozen for two years. The last price increase went into effect last year after staying in place for four years.

The board won’t bump up its own salaries for two years either, Wood wrote.

The letter is in response to the member-driven move to fire Wood, CEO Russell Haworth, and three other members of the board, over what they see as mismanagement of the company. Currently, 13.6% of member votes — 196 registrars and individuals — have backed an Extraordinary General Meeting to hold this vote. This may be sufficient to successfully oust the targeted directors.

Among the demands of PublicBenefit.uk, initiated by Krystal Hosting, are an increased focus on public benefit causes, lower prices, improved member communications and a reversal of Nominet’s policy of diversification into non-registry services.

Wood thinks the EGM effort is foolhardy, however. He wrote:

Whatever the intention, the EGM proposal destabilises the organisation and, as a result, is not in the interest of members, registrars or registrants. If the EGM initiative achieves its aims, it will leave the company leaderless and facing an exodus of the highly-skilled staff we depend on to maintain the highly complex registry service we provide. It will erode trust and confidence in .UK, which is part of critical national infrastructure, and put Nominet’s independence at risk.

He’s proposing increased transparency of the cyber-security division, a new Registry Advisory Council, and new communication tools for members, including the launch of a “a well-governed next-generation member forum”.

The old forum was shut down last year, and announced (some members think with a certain amount of glee) by Haworth during Nominet’s Annual General Meeting. The forum was overly hostile to Nominet staff, he said at the time.

Wood now says “the decision to close the Nominet Forum, and the way in which this was done, damaged our relationship with some members in a way we had not intended.”

It’s quite a list of concessions from a board that clearly knows it’s on the ropes, but whether it’s enough to change the minds of large enough number of members remains to be seen.

Nominet boss has epiphany and calls for calm as his job hangs by a thread

Kevin Murphy, February 5, 2021, Domain Registries

Nominet’s CEO has abruptly taken a conciliatory tone with members in a new blog post, as support grows for his ouster.

Russell Haworth today posted that the organization and its members need to change the tone of their often-hostile arguments, and agreed to play his part in doing that in future.

In the next several weeks, Nominet will be forced to hold an Extraordinary General Meeting in which members will try to fire Haworth and most of the board of directors.

He also called for members to be “pragmatic” about Nominet’s strategy, reminding them that the internet is a very different and more dangerous place than the idealistic technology Eden that birthed it 25 years ago:

Nominet was founded at a time when the Internet was a palpable source of hope and optimism, long before it was considered critical national infrastructure, and before the very real challenges all of us now face keeping things running and safe.

We try to manage Nominet for the Internet that we have, even as we keep striving for the world where technology continues to deliver on its potential as a force for good.

As we know, today’s Internet sadly has too many bad actors bent on destruction and equipped with increasingly complex digital weaponry. Managing crucial elements of the UK’s Internet infrastructure requires that we bring a cold realism to the challenge and that we equip ourselves professionally and commercially to succeed.

This appears to be a justification for the company’s venture into commercial network security services, which Nominet’s critics believe is non-core, eating up resources that could otherwise be diverted to public benefit causes.

Simon Blackler of the registrar Krystal Hosting, who launched the petition for the EGM at PublicBenefit.uk, told DI:

He seems to be saying that Nominet needs to protect against bad actors; something we’ve not disagreed with. Of course Nominet should secure critical .UK infrastructure. That’s just a part of the core business. It’s more questionable whether it needs to be making forays in to commercial “cyber defence”, something that’s being covered by the private sector (and presumably Government) already.

One of PublicBenefit’s criticisms has been that spending on board compensation, and Haworth’s pay in particular, has risen even while operating profits have declined.

Haworth’s post goes on to say that Nominet staff are regularly headhunted by other tech firms, which may or may not be a response to this criticism.

Addressing the “tone” of the debate, Haworth acknowledges that Nominet has been at odds with some members for a very long time. Members have been angered by changes such as the decision six years ago to allow direct, second-level registrations, he notes.

Perhaps as a result of the length of some of these disagreements, we all may have found ourselves approaching our interactions with the wrong tone.

In order to make progress, that needs to change. I commit to playing my part to make that happen. Starting now.

The post comes as the PublicBenefit.uk campaign hits 176 supporting members representing 13% of all potential votes.

That not may not seem like a lot, but due to Nominet’s complicated system of vote caps and the fact that EGN turnout is not usually very high, it could well be enough to get the 50%+1 of votes cast required to ouster Haworth and the other targeted board members.

On the “tone” question, Blackler disputes Haworth’s narrative, telling us:

I find it surprising that he feels the need to address “tone”. The campaign I’ve put together is based on fact and where there’s emotion from me it’s to do with the staggering waste of an opportunity with regards to Nominet’s public benefit mandate

He said he talked this week to chairman Mark Wood, who’s also on the EGM hit-list, and the tone was “entirely civil”.

An impetus for the current campaign was Nominet’s decision to close down its age-old web-based member discussion forum, which happened live during the company’s Annual General Meeting last year.

While Haworth described the forum at the time “increasingly become aggressive and hostile” towards Nominet staff, many members took the move as a deliberate slap in the face and an indication the company was no longer interested in engaging with members.

It is now.