Nominet Opens .UK Top Level Domain Consultation

Tom Brewster is TechWeek Europe’s Security Correspondent. He has also been named BT Information Security Journalist of the Year in 2012 and 2013.

Nominet promises better security with .uk domain names

A consultation on whether to allow companies to use the .uk top level domain (TLD), to sit alongside, was opened up today.

Nominet, the .uk domain registry, announced the start of the consultation today, claiming businesses would be able to enjoy better security with .uk, offering routine monitoring of the site and notifications of where malware is being served by .uk websites. Those sites serving malware would be suspended if registrants failed to take action to remove it.

The non-profit body said .uk websites would also use DNSSEC by default. DNSSEC, otherwise known as Domain Name System Security Extensions, adds digital signatures to DNS queries, which should improve security by ensuring requests are from genuine users, not attackers.

‘Significant change’

Nominet said the .uk domains would potentially be sold via registrars “that can meet the required data quality and service levels.”

“With the UK internet economy estimated to be worth £121 billion and increasing, the matters of security, ease of use, and choice are becoming ever more important,” said Lesley Cowley, CEO of Nominet. “This new secure domain space would boost the growth of the UK internet economy. We are aware that it represents a significant change to the landscape of internet and we are committed to taking all points of view on board.”

The consultation opens today and will run until 7 January 2013.

Eleanor Bradley, director of operations Nominet, said it was anticipating a wholesale price around £20 for each .uk name. That’s higher than the cost of a name, which is justified by the extra features, Bradley told TechWeekEurope.

“The world of domain names is changing and will change dramatically over the next year. For us, this is about ensuring .uk continues in its position as a really valued domain name,” she added. “We talked to businesses and they want more security  hence the features associated with this new domain name, and we know people love short domain names.”

If .uk addresses do become a reality, they will form part of big changes to the face of the Web. The Internet Corporation of Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) is currently working on approvals for gTLD (generic top level domain) bids, where companies have bid for personalised domains, such as .cool and .mail. Amazon and Google have made a significant number of bids, as have a significant number of registrars.

It’s not cheap to get hold of a .anything name, however. An application alone cost  $185,000 and there is a $25,000 yearly cost for the winners.

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