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Proposal floated for shortened, secure domain names for UK businesses

Nominet has issued a proposal for shortened domain names that feature comprehensive security features for UK businesses
Nominet has issued a proposal for shortened domain names that feature comprehensive security features for UK businesses

“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,” says 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 the .uk internet and we are committed to taking all points of view on board.”

The proposed new service is aimed at businesses looking to reduce the risk of fraud and cybercrime, and would carry a higher registration fee. It would allow shorter domain names registered at the second level (i.e. www.yourbusiness.uk), Nominet explained, and would sit alongside the existing .uk portfolio, including .co.uk, which already has more than 10 million domains registered. A verified UK presence will be required for registrants to be eligible for the new domains.

Enhanced security capabilities include routine monitoring and notification to registrants of viruses and malware, as well as the use of a digital signature known as DNSSEC, which minimizes the risks of a domain name being hijacked. Under the proposals, domain names affected by malware would be suspended if registrants fail to take action to rectify those issues.

Nominet is suggesting a staged release process for the domains, with registered rights holders’ applications considered in the first phase, then unregistered rights holders. All those using existing .co.uk and .org.uk domain names would be granted unregistered rights under the proposed plans. The new domains would ideally be sold via registrars that can meet the required data quality and service levels.

The expansion is part of an ongoing effort to address segments of the market in Britain. The company already offers UK-specific domains such as net.uk for internet service providers, org.uk for non-commercial organizations, me.uk for individuals and sch.uk for schools.

The consultation period on the draft policy will remain open until Jan. 7, 2013, “to secure feedback from key stakeholders,” Nominet said.

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