What next if we vote NO?
We want constitutional change at Nominet. We came into existence to ask for it. We are not against change. But it has to be done right.
So if you Vote NO! What next?
No Overnight Changes – If Nominet’s proposed changes are rejected by the members, then we are in the same place as we are in today. But we believe that the members will have given Nominet a clear message that they want to be heard and want the right steps to be taken. From the very beginning we have been asking Nominet to sit around a table and talk things through. They have persistently said No! That door is still open.
Weighted Voting and Subscriptions – Everyone needs to know whether these are legal or not. So much depends on the answer. Andy Green has committed Nominet to not spending any money or get involved in any court action to decide the question. We have Iain Mitchell, an expert King’s Counsel, who has already prepared opinions on these issues. Iain is ready to lead a team to make an application to court to get a decision on what is and what is not currently lawful. Until we know that, no one can sensibly move forward. So let’s get on and do it.
(a) Lawful – If the current constitution is lawful, we would know with certainty that changes could be tabled and passed using the current voting system. We would seek a longer and more meaningful consultation with Nominet (the recent one only had 20 responses) and deeper changes to the constitutions.
(b) Unlawful – If weighted voting is unlawful, there would need to be an immediate review of past changes since 2009. We would ask for a seat at the table and also question the validity of some of those who were responsible for driving Nominet into such a serious and avoidable crisis. Likely consequences could include:
- Price Drop – an immediate price drop back to £2.50 a year, stopping the overpayment that members are currently making. That would take around £15 million from Nominet’s future annual revenue, not from its capital. If it was never legally allowed, it just can’t carry on. It would never have been legal in the first place.
- Subscriptions – If not legal since 1997, at least some of the overpayments would need to be returned to members. Members would be consulted on how much and how the payments would be made. A new subscription fee would also need to be agreed using the rules in Article 19A – 75% of members on a one member, one vote basis.
- Domain Price Overpayments – This a huge sum of money. If it has been overpaid, it is due back to members. But paying it in one go would be irresponsible. So again we would be urging Nominet to sit around a table and find a solution – part of a wider solution – that could be put to members and stakeholders. Without pre-empting that, we feel it would have to involve an initial partial repayment, along with a method of making further compensation going forward.
The problems with Nominet’s constitution have existed for over 25 years. There’s no crisis or need to rush anything through.
We need to work together to find out what is actually wrong and what solutions we can all work with. The blame game has to stop. Grown up conversations have to be had.
But first, please Vote NO! to these hastily rushed through proposals.