Fresh from banking a £100m windfall through its controversial dot-UK cash grab, Nominet is now sorting out the aftermath – through its quasi-legal UK registry's domain name dispute resolution service.
In the last few weeks three companies have secured rulings over dot-UK domain names which were abusively registered by people hoping to flog them on at an inflated price.
Flightaware (a plane tracking app firm), Fidelity Investment Group and pharmaceutical multinational Novartis all convinced Nominet dispute resolution experts to hand over controls of web domain names including their companies' names.
Novartispharmaceuticals.uk, flightaware.uk and fidelityinvestmentgroup.uk are all now the property of the companies, rather than individuals – including a man based in India who offered to sell Flightaware its own dot-uk domain.
Domain Name Selling Offer - flightaware.uk
Dear Concern Greetings from India!!! I would like to take this opportunity to offer you one of the important domain names (At least I think) for your company as you have been expanding to UK. I have recently bought a domain name flightaware.uk I have turned down few purchase enquiries as I felt I should offer it your company first rather than offering to someone else. Kindly contact for further details if you are interested
The registration was found to be abusive because it infringed Flightaware's registered trademarks.
Dot-UK domains are a serious cash cow for Nominet. Having created them then assigned them to hapless customers who didn't really want them in the first place, the registry announced a 4 per cent price hike in October.
The suspicion is that the people controlling Nominet have decided being a public-benefit operator of the .UK domain name registry isn't half as lucrative as squeezing largely captive customers for extra revenue.
A full Nominet Expert decision, stripping a dot-UK web domain from someone who breaks Nominet's domain registration rules and handing it to someone more deserving, costs £750 plus VAT. Should the initial decision not go your way, an appeal to a panel of three Nominetters costs no less than £3,000 plus VAT. Nominet told The Register that it passes on 100% of the dispute resolution process fees to the experts who rule on them. ®