The .uk domain name registry operator Nominet is accused of designing a scheme to unethically award its members a huge sum of money. On July 8, 2019, all unregistered .uk domains are to be released to the general public for purchase. However, prior to this, Nominet has devised a one-week registration period where its members can register all those unused domain names at a nominal cost price to re-sell them later.
According to a The Register report, these unused .uk domains include brands such as mars.uk, heinz.uk, lipton.uk, and colgate.uk. It is estimated that the value of all these unused .uk addresses would be anywhere between £10 million to £100 million. Keeping these facts in mind, one can easily understand that Nominet is favoring its members and offering them a massive payday.
The concerning fact, in this case, is that Nominet is a nonprofit organization and must solely act in public interest. However, considering this special offering to its members, it can be said that Nominet isn’t acting in public favor, but in favor of its members.
These members of Nominet are known as registrars and most of them are internet service providers. These registrars are supposed to buy domains on behalf of someone else. But then, there were many cases in the past where registrars abused their power and bought several .uk domains and sold them off for profit while claiming that they were doing so for their customers when there weren’t any.
Also, one such member registrar said that if more than one person contends for a domain name, they shall be conducting an online auction to declare the final winner of the domain name. This will massively raise the profits of these registrars which wouldn’t have really existed in the first place.
On top of this, even if these so-called registrars play by the rules, they’ll still be able to mint millions of pounds in the form of registration fee, renewal fee and more. Had Nominet not created a special buying opportunity for its members, then they wouldn’t have stood at the prospect of making all the extra money and hefty profits.
Some companies have acted cautious about the sale of .uk domains, and they have duly purchased their respective .uk domains to save themselves the pain of buying it from someone else. But we have to see how many companies might end up being unaware of this incident and as a result, lose their domain name to some unrelated person.
All in all, it seems clear that Nominet, a non-profit company is trying to be partial and favor its members unethically by not acting in public’s favor.