Last week, in his email to members, our Acting Chair Rob Binns talked about a time of change for Nominet. He explained the wide range of issues on which we need members’ views and input. The listening exercise we will shortly launch to hear from all our stakeholders, but first and foremost members, is a crucial first step. I hope all members will take part so we hear the full range of expectations and priorities, sometimes competing ones, from across our broad membership.
This is an important first step but clearly there’s much more to do to rebuild trust between the organisation and many of our members. We need to be more transparent and seek a greater range of member input on key decisions, but we also need to explain our rationale for decisions more clearly and openly too.
It is also important to acknowledge that some things we have done over the last few years have been deeply divisive, from the original decision in 2014 to open up .UK, to price increases, and more recently, our efforts to handle competition for expired domains. For some I know these issues and others have been allowed to fester and going forwards we need to move more quickly to discuss and address issues as they arise. While for others all of this has created frustrating noise from a supplier and is something they would prefer not to think about any more than necessary.
First and foremost, my job over the next few months, until a permanent CEO is recruited, is to ensure that the service you rely on us to provide continues, and that we deliver on the commitments we have made to members. That starts with the listening exercise.
It also means delivering smaller changes that I hope will clearly signal our intention to be different. Hopefully over time we will regain some of the trust that has been lost, whether that is by ensuring all members have confidence in how registry compliance matters are addressed, continuing to build on our commercial and marketing support for smaller registrars or improving transparency around key governance related activity, for example by publishing a full list of members and their associated voting rights on a routine basis throughout the year. These are just a few examples of a much wider programme of changes you will see happening over the next few months.
As well as changes to what we do and how we work with members, we also need to change where we are working with the wider industry. I recognise we are no longer playing enough of our part in key fora and shouldering the load on important issues like internet standards development and contributing to the open-source community. These are opportunities that we will now prioritise.
Our members, and all our stakeholders, want and need the registry to “just work”. And, on a technical and service level, it does. We have world class, dedicated staff who navigate an increasingly complex technical and security landscape.
Over the last few months all the noise and debate has inevitably had an adverse impact on our teams. Many feel uncertain about the future and we do not want this to become a problem with either recruiting critical skills or, worse, risk losing key staff. One of my top priorities is to reassure the Nominet team that we will adapt and respond, as we have over the last 25 years. We appreciate the responsibility of running the .UK registry. It’s a privilege we all respect and want to do as well as we can.
The next few months are going to be critical, and I’m personally committed to getting going with these changes and making it a success.
In the meantime, if you have any questions or suggestions, please do get in touch with me at [email protected].
Finally, if you can, please join Rob and I for a member webinar on 6 May at 4pm.