Nominet targets businesses for .uk expansion

16-10-2012

British registry Nominet wants to hand shorter .uk web addresses to businesses for the first time in its history.

Nominet, a non-profit organisation that manages .uk domains, plans to allow companies to register sites (such as ‘example.uk’) directly under the top-level domain. The registry has previously only sold domains using suffixes such as .co.uk and .org.uk, apart from a handful of restricted sites such as police.uk. 

Under a consultation, Nominet proposes adding the domains with extra security features including daily monitoring for malicious software. Registrants would have to be based in the UK and would pay £20 a year for a .uk site. The annual cost of a .co.uk site is £2.50.

Nominet’s director of operations Eleanor Bradley said that while the registry wants to provide greater choice, businesses that already own addresses such as .co.uk would be able to maintain them. “There is no requirement to change,” she said.

She added: “A new domain space provides an opportunity for all the new businesses that are coming online to have a suitable domain name that accurately reflects their business.” 

Nick Wood, managing director of domain registrar Com Laude, said the pending new generic top-level domain programme is likely to have encouraged Nominet to propose the changes. “Operators of country code domains are seeking to strengthen their market position before the advent of massive competition.”

He added that Nominet’s proposals were a good idea. “Many organisations don’t like to be shoe-horned under .co—and many Internet users get confused with .co.uk. Nominet can be relied upon to release domains under .uk in an orderly and fair fashion. Rights owners can rely on Nominet to do the right thing: trademarks will be respected and abusers will not be presented with buffet (help yourself) policies. It’s been slow coming, but when it arrives the UK domain space will be a better place.”

Members of the public can comment on the proposals, which are available on Nominet’s website, until January 7, 2013. Bradley added that Nominet will host roundtable discussions with its stakeholders and will release details about the meetings in due course. 

Nominet manages more than 10 million .uk domain names.

This article was first published on 17 October 2012 in World IP Review

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