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He's only gone and done it. Ex-Register vulture elected to board of .uk registry

Kieren's here to chew bubblegum and kick Nominet ass. And he's all out of bubblegum

Former Register journo Kieren McCarthy was this week elected to the board of Nominet, the domain registry in charge of the .uk name space.

McCarthy successfully campaigned against two rivals – industry lawyer Volker Greimann and former board member Jim Davies – for an open non-exec director seat. On Monday, he was picked by the 15 percent of the registry's membership who turned out to vote; one of the issues with Nominet is that its election turnouts are generally low.

As detailed in the results sheet [PDF], McCarthy was just behind Davies in the first round of voting, but screamed ahead to win when Greimann was eliminated. His board seat has a three-year term.

In the run-up to the election, McCarthy pledged to boost accountability and transparency at Nominet, and to help reshape the nonprofit organization that has veered off in a for-profit direction with disastrous results. Below's a debate from over the summer between the ex-vulture and Davies, McCarthy on the right, over their proposals for the UK's domain registry.

Youtube Video

After his win, McCarthy, a veteran technology journalist now living in the UK after moving from America, further outlined his agenda.

"My biggest concern right now is low member engagement," he told us. "Despite what was a pretty loud election process, at least within Nominet circles, there was still only 15 per cent of members who voted. That was up from a typical 10 per cent but even so, it's way too low.

"Nominet is a member organization, so 15 per cent engagement is a serious problem. It's also the case that those who actually are engaged increasingly sit at polar opposites, creating a partisan atmosphere.

"It feels like a microcosm of US and UK politics right now. So what I hope to do is find out what all those in the middle – the 85 per cent who didn't vote – want and then urge them to get more involved so Nominet can get to a healthier place." 

McCarthy has written for The Reg on and off for more than 20 years, and covered among many other things Nominet's controversies as well as turmoil at DNS oversight body ICANN, where he previously worked as a general manager directing public participation. Last year, his investigative reporting fueled an effort by Nominet members to successfully oust five board directors, including the chairman and CEO.

"Nominet has to learn to admit to mistakes," McCarthy told us. "That's hard for any organization but there's no more effective builder of trust than admitting to people that you screwed up and now you'll work really hard to fix it." ®

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