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Nominet consults on direct.uk domains

Monday, April 29, 2013 - 11:47

Nominet have announced a consultation on allowing (someone with a very long memory has pointed out to me that this is actually re-allowing) the registration of domains directly under the .uk top level domain, as well as in the familiar second-level domains such as .ac.uk, .co.uk, .org.uk, etc. Illustrating the sort of domain that could become possible, the proposed service is called Direct.uk

The proposal for direct domain names is combined with a number of other measures into what Nominet expect to be an attractive package for both domain registrants and Internet users:

  • Enhanced security, including routine monitoring of websites for malware and possible temporary suspension of domains that do not respond to warnings;
  • New domains must provide digital signatures for information they publish through the Domain Name Service (DNS) to protect against some types of DNS misuse;
  • Registrants must demonstrate a UK presence;
  • Those who comply will be entitled to display a trustmark on their websites to reassure customers.

Some of these ideas are already in use in other top level domains, for example .ch does malware monitoring and .lv has a trustmark scheme, but combining all of them is new, as far as I know.

In putting together a Janet response to the consultation over the next couple of months, I’ll be trying to work out how the direct.uk proposal might interact with the existing second level domains. Any effect on .ac.uk or its customers would obviously be relevant but there are also a few members of the research and education community who, for historical reasons, already have domains registered directly under .uk. Nominet have explicitly asked in their consultation what measures might be needed to protect existing domains, their users or rightsholders.

If you have any thoughts on that or on other things we might include in a Janet response then please let me know either by comments on this page or directly by e-mail.

And Nominet themselves want to hear from as many perspectives as possible, so if you have time to respond to the consultation then please do so. The consultation closes on 7th January, so it’s probably not a good idea to leave it till after Christmas!