Nominet Not Ready For Shorter “.uk” Country Code Yet

Nominet, the UK’s domain name registry, has decided against offering a simplified “.uk” country code Top-Level Domain (ccTLD), following a three-month consultation.

According to the organisation, most stakeholders welcomed the idea of cutting out second-level domains like “.co” or “.gov”, but couldn’t agree on how the registration should be implemented.

Nominet will return to this proposition in the future, and is currently accepting suggestions on how to make the domain name system work better.

Company.uk

Over 10,000,000 domain names ending with “.uk” have been registered with Nominet since the organisation was first created in 1996, making this the fourth most popular ccTLD in the world. Currently, all of these domains need a prefix like “.ac” or “.org” in order to work like Web addresses.

Nominet was planning to charge £20 per year for registering shorter addresses without second-level domain names, and said the expenses would be justified by extra security features.

However, at a board meeting on Tuesday, the non-profit organisation announced it will postpone the plans, following an extensive consultation launched in October.

Nominet says that stakeholders welcomed the idea of a shorter domain name for UK companies, but had serious concerns about the way the roll-out would be managed.

“Many respondents felt that the release mechanism did not give enough weighting to existing registrants, and could lead to confusion if they could not obtain the corresponding domain,” said the registrar.

Nominet is not abandoning the modernisation of ccTLD, and will work on an updated proposal that “meets the principles of increasing trust and security”.

This proposal will include, among other things, a revised phased release mechanism to minimise contention between different applicants for the same domain name, measures to improve security across the whole of the .uk namespace (such as adoption of DNSSEC), and a new pricing model.

The subject will be discussed again at the Nominet board meeting in June. Even if the shorter ccTLD is approved, the registrar will still provide support for the existing third level domains.

Last week, Nominet begun High Court legal proceedings against one of its members, Graeme Wingate, for publication of “defamatory content” which criticised the roll-out of direct “.uk” service and the conduct of company’s chief executive, Lesley Cowley.

It should be noted that while registration of new domain names directly under “.uk” is prohibited, there are quite a few such domains remaining from the time before Nominet was created, for example british-library.uk or nhs.uk.

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Max Smolaks

Max 'Beast from the East' Smolaks covers open source, public sector, startups and technology of the future at TechWeekEurope. If you find him looking lost on the streets of London, feed him coffee and sugar.

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