[DNS] The NOMINET model

[DNS] The NOMINET model

From: Larry Bloch <larry§netregistry.au.com>
Date: Wed, 24 Jun 1998 15:09:08 +1000
Nominet was formed in response to a collapse of the then current system of
registering .uk (really .co.uk) domain names.

The failed system was called the UK Naming Committe and provided a free
service. This involved members of the Naming committee vetting each
application with rules not dissimialr to those currently enforced by MIT.

However, at the time it was a volunteer group, and there was no limited
liability for members of the Committee (of which I was one) and thus
members stopped looking at requests to avoid potential liability.

Dr Willie Black was the equivalent to Robert Elz. He decided that something
was to be done, and essentially drove the formation of what is now known as
NOMINET. While there was considerable consultation, he acted as a
benevolent dictator and to some extents this was the only way it could have
happened. While details debated by the industry relating to policy and its
implementation were included in the final Mem and Arts, the corporate
structure was essentially determined by Dr Black.

The chief advantages (as I see it) of the NOMINET model are as follows:

NOMINET is owned by its members and membership is open to anyone/body
prepared to pay the fees (which weren't excessive - 500 Sterling originally
as I recall).
It is managed by a 'board' voted in by the members.
NOMINET _cannot_ distribute profits to its members (owners), and therefore
must lower its prices as volume increases to avoid a surplus.
NOMINET's Mem & Arts forbid it to do anything other than register names,
thereby preventing it competing with (other) services offered by its members.
As it cannot generate or distribute profits, any excess money is spent on
the only thing it can spend it on - legal defense of itself (and its
members) and upgrading the quality of its service - both technical and
customer facing.

So NOMINET is owned by stakeholders, is narrowly charged with acting as a
central domain name registrar and nothing else and cannot distribute
profits - ensuring that the pressure on fees is downwards.

It is not a commercial player in the Internet industry and is seen purely
as a collaborative endevour set up by the Internet industry to perform a
needed central function while stimulating competition within the Industry.

Effectively, as a DNA it offers a high quality service to its members, and
leaves competition in end customer service up to those members.

It discourages end customers from buying directly from NOMINET by a
charging non-members twice the amount it charges members. This is
reflective of the additional admin cost (almost all cost in domain
registration is after all admin, not technical) of servicing individuals
who are ignorant as opposed to Industry players (who mostly are too, but at
least they do volume).

The ISP is billed for all names they register (unless the ISP chooses to
have the end customer billed, in which case they are charged double.
British Telecom used to do this, but I don't know if they still do).

And all this is distinct from the agreed policy wrt domain registration,
which is irrelevant to the structure of the DNA itself.

I'm not sure list members want to hear about the actual .co.uk policy. If
so it is perhaps best left to another thread.

Questions invited?

Larry Bloch                   
Chief Executive Officer       
NetRegistry Pty Limited       
email:  larry&#167;netregistry.au.com
Office: +61-(0)2-9555 6299
Fax:    +61-(0)2-9555 5808

Domain House, PO Box 2088, Sydney, NSW 1043
Received on Wed Jun 24 1998 - 13:04:01 UTC

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