It’s been called a “coup” attempt at the British registry for .uk domain names, and it has broad implications for internet governance. You may not have heard of Nominet, the company in question. You may not have heard of ICANN, either—the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers. But these two nonprofits are quite significant in the inward-looking world of internet governance.
Nominet, a not-for-profit company, is owned by approximately 2,500 members—individuals and organizations, from GoDaddy to mom-and-pop shops, that are involved in domain registration and associated services, such as hosting, web design and email provision. Some of those members, including several founders of Nominet, are now trying to fire five of the company’s 11 board directors, including its CEO, Russell Haworth, and chair, Mark Wood.
This episode reveals how the political, corporate and internet governance worlds have developed different ways of refreshing their leadership and ensuring accountability to the electorates or stakeholders they represent. The United States, of course, has a transition period after the presidential elections; in contrast, the United Kingdom pitches its prime minister unceremoniously out of the back of Downing Street the day after the election, while the successor poses triumphantly with family, waving at fans.