Business dns internet

Nominet Non-Exec elections & trouble at mill

cookies_thumbEmail from Nominet today concerning their forthcoming AGM & non-exec elections. Nice little earner if the £30k mentioned by one of the candidates in his Election Statement is right. You do have to put in 26 days a year though which is not an insignificant amount of time to be out of your own business.

I was prompted to look at the candidates because Nominet took the step of recommending two Non-Execs out of the four that have applied (for two slots). Guaranteed to make you dig deeper. I don’t bother voting at this type of election as I have no strong views on any of the candidates – let others have their say. The exception was for Seb Lahtinen who I seconded a year or two ago.

When you read the Election Statements you begin to realise why Nominet has specifically backed the two existing Non-Execs standing for re-election. One of the others is being sued by Nominet and CEO Lesley Cowley. Trouble at mill or what?

I’m not getting involved but read the statements here.

PS thumbnail pic is cookies – domain names/websites/cookies – geddit?

dns Engineer internet

Still time to apply for your generic Top-Level Domain – dot llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwyllllantysiliogogogoch

Many of us own a domain name. I have a few –, plus all the kids own name domains. Not many of us own a generic Top-Level domain though. In fact gTLDs (.com, .org, .uk etc) are typically managed by not for profit national infrastructure players such as Nominet although there are some in private hands.

In June 2011 ICANN announced that they would be looking to stimulate innovation on the internet by making it easier for you to own your own gTLD. You could have non latin script versions – for example Cyrillic, Chinese or Arabic. There was a rush of applicants, $185k payment in hand. Unfortunately the ICANN registration system had a bug in it and they were unable to complete the registration process on the originally planned date of 12th April. The system was therefore frozen whilst the engineers looked for their magic wands.

Looks like they fixed the bug on Monday and the system started working again. You have until midnight on 30th May (presumably Californ-eye-a time) to get registered. When the system went down they had 1,268 registrations. That’s a lot of new gTLDs. They won’t all end up as production entities but we are clearly going to see many new domains hit our screens.

We can’t see the actual domains applied for yet – they won’t release that info until the end of the registration process.  Most major cities will have one – London, Berlin, Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwyllllantysiliogogogoch et al and I understand that Nominet has applied to have .cymru and .wales. I quite like the idea of having [email protected] but I expect there will be a few other Davies’ interested as well:)

I’ll write a post in Welsh when the .cymru domain comes out –  those of you not fortunate to have been brought up in God’s country can read it using Google translate.

More on the new gTLDs here.

PS don’t think it stops at $185k. You will need a few million to do it properly.

PPS They would have a lot of fun with .llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwyllllantysiliogogogoch – think of all the spelling mistakes/repeat attempts to get it right 🙂

Business dns internet peering

Nominet non-executive board elections – vote Seb Lahtinen

Seb Lahtinen is very active in the UK internet scene andSebastien Lahtinen is standing for re-election as a non-executive director of Nominet amongst other things runs the LONAP peering exchange used by many of the country’s ISPs and hosting companies.

Seb is also a pal and is standing for re-election as non-executive director of Nominet, the UK’s Tier 1 registry for .uk domain names and safe pair of hands for what is one of our critical strategic infrastructures.

He is a serious minded individual and I’m sure makes an impactful contribution to Nominet’s board. I have already voted for him and thought I’d help out but giving him some airtime. I asked him three questions:

dns internet

Domain disputes and cybersquatting

An invitation arrived yesterday to attend a Nominet briefing on dispute resolution for domain name registrars. It’s a breakfast job in London so I probably won’t go. With the invite came an interesting stat – one in every 3,000 .uk domains is subject to a dispute of some sort!

Considering that Nominet manages knocking on 10 million domains that’s a lorra (my wife’s from Liverpool) disputes. I imagine quite a number of these disputes relate to cybersquatters1 . I recently had occasion to look at some domains names to buy. There are a lot of domains out there that are owned but not used or simply point to sites that make money out of click through advertising.

These days the problem of finding a suitable domain is exacerbated by the fact that you also need to secure the corresponding Twitter name. I think it’s about time we started from scratch and changed the whole system. Bags I 🙂

1 if you don’t know look it up.

Business dns internet scams security surveillance & privacy

Nominet – judge and jury of the world wide web?

We, the world, are still finding our feet on the internet, or more accurately the world wide web. The www is a great place to be and at the same time full of pitfalls and nasties. Much like real, physical life really. I taught my kids not to take sweeties from strangers – that applies on or offline.  In recent years I’ve added “don’t click on links you aren’t sure of” and probably a few other words of advice specific to tinterweb.

That’s a piece of wisdom relating to the www that had he but known it shows Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution in action. Survival of the fittest and all that.

It isn’t just the consumer that is still trying to understand the landscape of the www. Government is, business is, as I said we all are.

The good folks at .uk registry Nominet are also trying to understand where they fit into all this. Nominet has come under scrutiny in recent years over its corporate governance.

Business Cloud dns internet

Amazed by the Queues for Social Media Talks at Internet World #iw_expo,Nominet

queues at Internet World yesterday

I went along to Internet World at Earl’s Court yesterday and was pleasantly surprised to find out how useful an afternoon it was. I saw something that I had never seen before and that was people queuing around the block to hear the seminars.

These were largely internet marketing and social media related. The only seminar I saw that was practically empty related to “the cloud”. Nobody at this show was interested in the nuts and bolts clearly although there was a good spread of exhibitors across a wide range of internet technology areas.

I find it difficult to get excited at all the trendy social media stuff that is going on.  For me it is more about the obvious and intuitive rather than the science.

For example I get very disappointed when I look at the list of my new followers on Twitter. 3 times out of 4 they are accounts trying to sell me something. They never seem to have interesting tweets and don’t get followed back. In a few days they have unfollowed me (in a  huff!) and moved on.

Now people claim to make a living out of imparting this kind of information but at the end of the day after a few short hours of playing with Twitter it is blindingly obvious.

There were a number of exhibitors selling Virtual Servers and Storage.  This is going to be a very interesting area of development. Vendors are going to have to be careful that they get their strategy/pitch right particularly in the wake of the Amazon EC2 outage. Demonstrable quality is going to be a big selling point.

Photos are: header – queues outside one of the social media seminars, me at the Nominet booth and an overhead shot of some of the exhibits (fwiw). Click on any of them for a bigger shot. Definately worth a visit I thought though they need to invent parking sensors for mobile phones – so many people wandering around immersed in their iPhone/Android/BlackBerry etc.

PS it was nice to meet with Twitter friend @markmapes in the flesh. His American accent took me completely by surprise though with hindsight it shouldn’t have done:)

Business dns Regs scams security

Nominet and the pseudo-judicial roles of ISPs

I met with the Police Central eCrime Unit last year as part on an ISPA group that wanted to understand the issues that police have in fighting internet related crime and to see whether there is anything that we could do to help.

The police’s biggest problem is the speed that things can happen at over the internet versus the amount of time it takes the judicial system to crank their mechanical organisational cogs. PCEU staff can, for example, be following a suspect criminal, either physically or electronically, and sometimes have very little time to pounce. A gang might be planning a fraud using online resources – facebook pages, gmail, skype etc. Access via a service provider to look at these resources takes a court order (RIPA) which takes time to organise and by the time it has been effected the crooks are often long gone.

If the police did not require judicial consent to access these data then the whole process could be speeded up and more criminals prevented from harming us. The problem is that even if it was clear to everyone concerned that providing the police with what they ask for was the right thing to do the act of doing so puts the ISP in breach of data protection laws. If the suspect criminal happens to be innocent (or otherwise) this potentially leaves the ISP open to legal action. We can’t have ISPs being asked to perform the role of the judiciary because they don’t have the same legal protection or training.

Now enter Nominet stage right. I have coincidentally just written about Nominet after attending the .uk registrar’s recent 25th birthday party. Nominet is proposing to change its

dns Engineer internet

the internet – think global act local – a brief Nominet history of uk domains

This is an extract from Nominet CEO Lesley Cowley’s speech at last week’s Nominet 25th Birthday party. She very graciously sent be a copy at my request because it contained some really interesting snippets worth sharing – so here goes:

25 years ago, the first .uk domain names were registered by a few individual internet pioneers. There are some interesting facts about the early days of the UK Internet:

  • the first domains were not in the format we currently recognise – they were in reverse order with the uk on the left, not the right.
  • Also, for a brief spell, some of the first domains were registered directly at the second level – such as, &
  • and, for another brief period, registrations could be made under .gb as well as .uk, before .gb was closed to new registrations. Threads about whether .uk should actually have been .gb continue to this day!

As things became consolidated uniformity crept in and the .uk domains as we now know them came into being.

dns Engineer internet

Nominet non-exec election results out @sebtweet

Congratulations to Seb Lahtinen and Thomas Vollrath on their election as non-executive directors to the board of .uk registrar Nominet.

I did an interview with Seb nobbut two days ago and I’m sure that his return to the board will provide value for Nominet.

Nominet has been much in the news this year as the previous government gave itself powers to intervene in the running of the not-for profit org if it felt that the existing Directors were not doing their job.

It is important that we have a steady hand at the helm of the registrar looking after our .uk domain names as businesses become more dependant on the internet.

You can see the Nominet election results here. The system is quite brutal in that your progress as a candidate is highly visible.

Business dns internet

Challenges for Nominet – An Interview with Sebastien Lahtinen

Sebastien Lahtinen is probably most well known for being behind the independent broadband advice website which helps broadband users to get the most out of their broadband connection. He has also been involved in the policy development and governance processes of Nominet, and is a candidate in the current elections for a seat on the Nominet board.

What are the key challenges for Nominet in the next four years?
The next few years will be a critical time for Nominet as it looks to respond to the need for change. Nominet will face challenges both internally within its own organisation as well as externally.

Business internet ofcom Regs

Digital Britain high on the agenda at Parliament and Internet Conference

Another busy week in prospect. Tomorrow I’m off to Muswell Hill to test some routers we are considering using for the FTTC trials. Wednesday I’m doing a Hosted VoIP demo at the Convergence Summit South in Sandown Park and finally on Thursday it’s the Parliament and Internet Conference at Portcullis House in Westminster.

You should take note of the latter.  Posts on Parliamentary meetings seem to attract a lot of interest/blog visits long after the event itself has finished. In a sense there is a market for blogging non-stop on this subject. In my book it would make writing the blog a bit boring though.  Order, order!

Anyway this year’s conference has ’em all: Stephen Timms (Minister for Digital Britain and erstwhile commenter on,  Ed Richards (Ofcom) and Martha Lane Fox (the Government’s Digital Inclusion Champion). Lesley Cowley of Nominet is also speaking.

I’m genuinely excited about this year’s event.  With Digital Britain high on everybody’s agenda the conference includes a workshop suggested by yours truly on whether 2Mbps is an adequate target for USO.

If you haven’t already got your name down you are probably too late.  All seats have gone.  If you are going I look forward to seeing you – tap me on the shoulder and say hello. 

Footnote:  “Blazing the Digital Britain Trail from Muswell Hill to Westminster “.   A  pioneering new adventure based somewhere on the wild wild web.  Read all about it on

Business internet

ISPA wins award for raising industry standards

The Internet Services Provider Association has been announced as the winner of  Nominet’s Best Practice Awards in the Raising Industry Standards category. The awards recognise organisations that have embraced the challenge of making the Internet a secure, open, accessible and diverse experience for all.

The ‘Raising Industry Standards’ category honours organisations that promote high standards of ethics in business, deliver an exceptional standard of customer service to online customers, promote Corporate Social Responsibility within the Internet industry and take a leading role in developing consumer confidence in the Internet.

ISPA was able to prove that it has worked with members to ensure high standards through adherence to the mandatory Code of Practice and voluntary Best Practice documents. ISPA further cited its cooperation with Government in promoting effective self-regulation and its third party dispute resolution service for consumers as examples of raising standards in the sector.

I pinched that spiel from the ISPA website but I have to say I am proud to be involved with this activity.  The ISPA is a very well run professional  trade association which does a great deal of good work for the industry.

Nominet, for those of you who have never registered your own .uk domain name, manages all the UK’s domain names(eg,  Last time I looked there were around 8 million of these. The day will come where everyone will have their own domain name. If anyone is interested, in my will  in  I am leaving to my 9 year old. Funnily enough at this time he isn’t quite sure that this is a good thing.  He will come around to my view in time.

Business events

ISPA council meeting, AGM and Awards do

Busy day tomorrow so I thought I’d get this post in today because I certainly won’t be writing anything during the ISPA Awards.

At 10am I have an ISPA council meeting, followed by the AGM at 12.15 and the annual ISPA Awards bash in the evening.  I haven’t been to this event before so I am looking forward to it, especially as Timico is a finalist in the “Best Business Customer Service” category.

I’ll let you know how we get on plus any publishable/non-incriminating  photos from the night.

It’s also  the Nominet AGM today so if I have any feedback from that I’ll let you know.

Business dns voip

Nominet ENUM launch

It isn’t often you go to a meeting which launches a new industry. This is essentially what happened at the Radisson SAS Hotel in London today as Nominet launched their ENUM registration service.

The presentations gave a basic training in ENUM for those who needed it and then offered an open forum for discussion as to how the market would be developed.

For those that don’t know, ENUM is a means for VoIP users to connect with other VoIP users without having to pay for calls, assuming that you have the IP bandwidth. It assumes that calls are going to become free and that service providers will have to find other ways to make money. The more registered ENUM subscribers the morecalls will be free.

The reality is that it will still take a long time to happen. VoIP to VoIP interoperability is a long way from being straightforward and the service will rely on using the internet for connectivity with all the quality issues that that entails. VoIP providers such as Timico typically use high quality private IP network connections as opposed to the internet for their call traffic. This is important for businesses.

The near term pitch is the ability to connect multiple islands of VoIP such as multi site businesses (retail, police, NHS etc). VoIP providers can however do this today. Nominet rightly responds to this saying that this is not currently being done with standard scalable solutions such as ENUM. They are right but the solutions in use today exist and work and come from reputable market leaders such as Nortel and Cisco.

Timico has been involved as a pioneer in UK ENUM from its basic beginnings when it was down to volunteer efforts. With a DTI sponsored commercial activity it may well be that ENUM will eventually start gaining ground although all the building blocks are not yet quite there. Nominet has a good team but it is still going to be a long haul. Nominet recognises this and has assumed that it will take at least five years to break even.

Its going to be interesting to see what happens. Timico will participate when it believes the market, that does not yet exist, is ready.