A message to .uk Domain Name Investors

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As Many of you will be aware I am standing for re-election as a Nominet Non-Executive Director, hoping to serve a second and final 3-year term. I was elected to the Nominet Board with the support of many .uk Domain Name Investors in 2015 along with Dickie Armour (who, unlike me, is not re-standing this year). I also received many second, third, fourth and fifth preference votes from a the broad Nominet membership and ultimately was able to win the second seat on the Board that year. Thank you again for doing this. As a result I now have 3-years of experience of working directly on the Nominet Board which has given me tremendous insight.

As well as a Nominet Non-Executive Director (i.e. Board Member), I too am a small individual Nominet member (i.e. Registrar) and also a director of a domain name investment company (i.e. Registrant). I wear three metaphorical hats, unlike most other elected Nominet Non-Executive Directors who usually wear just the first two.

As someone who is first and foremost a person that chose to apply for a Nominet Board position because of my relationship with domain names as an investor of the past 15+ years, I am personally interested in ensuring that Nominet continues to operate a first class domain name registry in the form of .uk. I believe that overall it does this and so do the vast majority of other Nominet member registrars that I have interacted with over the recent years.

In 2012 I participate in a panel where I advocated that Nominet didn’t introduce direct .uk domain names. Many of us argued that it would be damaging for the entire .co.uk name space if they did. I believe we were listened to but ultimately the Board decided in favour of opening .uk for registration directly but with a 5-year reservation skewed predominantly towards existing registrants of matching .co.uk domain names. That 5-year reservation period ends in June 2019 and despite initially wishing that direct .uk didn’t come about I realise that we have to move on and work with the reality of direct .uk existing. Ultimately I hope that in some way direct .uk domain name registrations will be a success for us all, although unlikely as much as .co.uk has been. I wish to remain a Nominet Board Member to see this through.

A little more recently Nominet decided to release zone files to members at no charge. I was instrumental in them including a further file which lists all registered domain name including those, marked as suspended and without name servers, which would not appear in zone files. This is tremendously useful and time saving for those that use zone files to produce daily lists of expired and deleting domain names. Without that file, which is not a usual release when zone files are made available, it would initially take 92-days to produce a list of suspended domain names.

Unlike a small number of Nominet members, I support Nominet cautiously broadening its business remit and was one of the Nominet members that voted at EGM3 approximately 10-years ago to facilitate them to do this. Nominet have a very thorough critical impact test that they run through before they consider entering a new market. I believe Nominet should look at complimentary activities but should not shy away from keeping .uk domain names firmly at its core.

Fundamentally I do not subscribe to the views advocated by a very small minority that Nominet should simply operate .uk and nothing else. I don’t shy away from engaging with Nominet members but I don’t consider there is significant merit in devoting countless hours to members who sometimes nobody involved in the industry has even ever met despite Nominet having reached out extensively over the past 24-months to the wider membership. A small number of members appear to believe their view of the way Nominet should be is the only way it should be and appear to have the inability to adapt their own business to changing times. Simply put, I know that many of the silent majority who are skilled at domain name investing do know how to seek new opportunities and adapt their domain name investment techniques. They don’t stand still and do turn over their portfolios, make good sales and continue to invest in attractive and valuable domain names.

I, myself, directed the acquisition of one of the highest selling domain names on DomainLore (injury.co.uk) in fairly recent times because I believe in the .uk name space and our ability to recognise value.

In conclusion, Nominet isn’t anti domain name investors and neither are the larger Nominet member registrars. The Board want the membership to reach back to the engagement that Nominet offers them. I continue to try to help facilitate this, both in person at meetings and online. Furthermore I look forward to producing further valuable online content in the near future, relevant to the vast majority of successful domain name investors that operate in the .uk name space.

Please vote to re-elect me to the Nominet Board, placing me as your first preference candidate. Thank you.

Best,

David Thornton