back to article Nominet tosses plan for shorter .uk domains in the bin (for now)

Dot-uk registry Nominet has rejected its plan to offer shorter domain names - such as - to British businesses after a three-month consultation process ended in utter confusion. Nominet admitted that its line of questioning had, in places, been "confusing and potentially misinterpreted" by respondents. It had …


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  1. Ralph B

    The Best That Can Be Said

    Nominet allowing makes as much sense as ICANN allowing anything.anything.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: The Best That Can Be Said


      1. Ian Yates

        Re: The Best That Can Be Said

        Well, my view is that is creates consumer confusion unnecessarily ("Was that or").

        I can't understand why anyone would be so desparate for a second-level .uk domain. I'd rather see them create sensible second-levels (though I can't think of one right now) and continue "selling" the third-levels at additional cost.

        1. Steven Roper

          Re: Why?

          SLDs provide important information about the nature of the site. For example, is a for-profit business, is an educational institution, is a non-profit, is a government department. It gives me some idea of the intentions and identity of the site I'm visiting.

          In Australia, our equivalent SLDs are,,,, and All these SLDs give vital information about the nature of the site., for example, is a secure guarantee that the site I'm visiting is owned and maintained by the Australian government, since only government departments can register them.

          Likewise, our government has quite stringent controls on who can register what; only accredited schools and universities can register domains, you have to have a non-profit tax exemption to register a, and you have to have an ABN (Australian Business Number) to register a You also have to assert that your business has a substantive relationship to the domain; so if I were to try to register, say, for a bookstore in Adelaide I'd most likely get knocked back.

          So with a or site you know exactly what you're dealing with. Removing that would create a lot of unnecessary uncertainty and in many cases could undermine and compromise security. That is why SLDs are important.

      2. Ralph B

        Re: The Best That Can Be Said

        Why? Well, it's for the money, Shirley?

        They hope everyone will buy their domains again, but this time at a higher price.

        Can there be any other reason? Really?

        1. Robert E A Harvey

          Re: The Best That Can Be Said

          Well, quite. If you own and and and and you are bound to pay for aren't you?

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: The Best That Can Be Said

          Yeah, I understand the 'fleece 'em of a bit more money' malarkey. But beyond that?

          1. Ralph B

            Re: The Best That Can Be Said

            Beyond that? When did I ever suggest there was anything beyond that?

            <- That's them, picking your pockets.

  2. Anonymous Coward 15

    Hmm, do you think they took a leaf out of the government's book and ran a deliberately flawed consultation to try to justify a conclusion that was already decided?

    1. Goldmember

      "justify a conclusion that was already decided"

      It would appear that way. If they'd wanted a fairer and more useful consoultation, they could have just asked 2 questions:

      - Would you be interested in registering a second level .uk domain?

      - Would you like increased security as an option for new domains registrations?

      Job done.

    2. Magani

      Dodgy consultation?

      " try to justify a conclusion that was already decided?"

      Sir Humphrey would have been proud at what they learned from his TV tutorials.

  3. gerryg

    just a thought

    <--- not

    Surely my security should be my problem?

    Nominet offering increased security as a service, at the margin, will increase complacency leading to greater insecurity in general.

    I would draw parallels to all the regulation for cattle/beef/food signalling that caveat emptor is no longer necessary.

    1. This post has been deleted by its author

  4. TeeCee Gold badge

    A circlejerk of cobblers?

    So Nominet's explanation of their decision is cobblers, but I think they're saying that many of the answers given to two questions would seem to be mutually exclusive.

    So the answers given were cobblers. This is probably and they even allude to this themselves, because the questions were not clear.

    So the questions asked were cobblers.

    So in effect they've not only asked a stupid question, but then at the end of a chain of stupidity given us a stupid answer as a result? Is there an award for disappearing up your own arse that we can nominate them for?

  5. koolholio

    DNSSEC and EDNS0

    EDNS0 and DNSSEC ... Ho hum... Which one!? Which combination?

    I thought DNSSEC was supposed to be an integrated standard for all root servers from a few years ago?

    Best start implementing regulations stating AAAA records are compulsory! IPv4 and all that...

    Whatever next *facepalm*

  6. Lee D Silver badge

    "Do you agree that Nominet should consider"

    Yes, to anything that might be possible and/or affect domain name service. Do I think they should DO anything? No.

    "the provision of a more secure ... domain name service"

    Yes. What's stopping the current one we have being secured? Can't we just do that? Why meld two (or more) questions into one unless you intend to confuse? Did you not do simple statistical surveys at school?

    "more secure .uk domain name service"

    No. Why separate into secure and not when both can be either? Blatant money-grab to force businesses to use ".uk" because someone at Nominet told them that "" isn't as secure?

    "with registrations directly at the second level?"

    What kind of registrations? Free-for-all like with the TLD's lately? No. Registrations of confusingly similar "" etc.? No. Absolutely not. Registrations for limited purposes and with restricted registration (e.g., maybe - but isn't that what we already have (pretty sure there's a

    Basically, I'd have kicked up a fuss if posed with that question too. The geniuses who conducted this study were presumably paid a lot of money. Let me recoup the value that money for you, for a small fee:

    "Should Nominet allow arbitrary registrations in the .uk namespace?" (Most likely answer: No)

    "Should Nominet treat DNSSEC differently between etc. and .uk namespaces?" (Most likely answer: No).

    "Should Nominet start enforcing DNSSEC for all domains?" (Most likely answer: Yes).

    "Should Nominet consider allowing more .uk second-level domain registrations?" (Most likely answer: Yes, because consideration doesn't hurt, but don't do ANYTHING without further consultation).

    "Should Nominet seek a refund of the money it paid to whoever can't write an unambiguous yes/no questions (similar to House of Lords arguing for a day over question wording when it comes to voting time)?" (Answer: Damn right, we've all paid this non-profit to ask an ambiguous question at great expense that it then is forced to ignore the answer to because of the ambiguity).

    Keep the question simple, is the first rule of surveys, unless you're DELIBERATELY obscuring the results. If the question is a mouthful that you wouldn't hear out of someone's mouth in real-life (except maybe a politician), then break it down. If the question can be answered with "Yes, with certain caveats", then it's a bad question.

    1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      Because it's the standard technique for getting a survey answer you want.

      Do you think children should be protected from zombies and do you think that the congestion charge be increased?

      Becomes = 97% of people think the congestion charge should increase

  7. auburnman

    Domain levels

    The only modern purpose I can see in domain levels would be for legal jusrisdiction e.g. purchases agreed to on a .uk site would be subject to UK law and taxes etc. Beyond that nowadays they are just that bit at the end you always forget and Google / your browser fills in for you.

    1. Rukario

      Re: Domain levels

      So that'll be a tax windfall for Tuvalu from television sites (.tv), and Micronesia and Armenia from radio sites (.fm and .am), then?

  8. Kevin Johnston

    It's all way too late

    The people who are supposed to be keeping this under control have encouraged a proliferation of options which now mean that any pretense to bring things back into line will be seen as just that, a pretense. There have been countless examples of 'a bigger boy wants my domain', domain squatting, typo squatting etc etc all topped off with 'would you like another TLD with that?' Which type of law do you use to control who owns ''? is it trademark, libel, fair game?

    At this point they should just open the floodgates and let people have whatever they like for a domain name and be the registration service they are meant to be but they seem to be on such an ego trip bouyed up by all that loot that sanity will not be getting a look-in.

  9. Tom 38

    scanning websites every day for malware

    Er. What?

    I register Nominet delegate to my NS. Precisely what hosts will Nominet be wanting to scan daily, without my permission?

  10. Mike Tubby

    For Nominet read "nanny state"

    I was one of the people that responded to the consultation.

    It was clearly a badly thought out mixture of:

    a) how do we make more money from this

    b) attempting to appease government with ill thought-out identity verification

    c) security theatre (scanning websites, shutting them down)

    d) DNSSEC (something that actually might be useful)

    In what appears to be "Nominet become Nanny State" and "Nominet become policemen of the interwebs".

    If we're going to have our own registrations in the .uk TLD then I want the good bits and not the bad bits...

    Identity - if you want to fix this then simply say "UK companies, charities, partnerships or other legal entities only" and make registration require UK company number, charity commission number or similar - no need for envelopes sent via the post which can be diverted, or handled via accommodation addresses - what does that prove? Only that you posted it to *someone* via an address that was valid on *one* day... great!

    Security - DNSSEC if you will, but optional - let me choose if I use it

    Security - scanning my website? I don't think so... my website is my property... it might well have 10 million pages on it -- are they going to pay for the bandwidth?

    Security - shutting down my website? what's it got to do with you, Nominet? You are *not* the internet police

    Overall I give Nominet a 3/10 for a badly thought out, jumble of Nanny State proposals.

    Mike Tubby MJT4-RIPE

    THORCOM tag holder

  11. hamsterjam


    Here's a thought:

    There's this thing called the ISO. They have standards for all sorts of things. Whatever you might think of that (or them) there's something to be said for consistency.

    So practically the entire world uses its ISO country code as its TLD. Apart from a couple of places which are well-known for being "above" international standards...

    So if you want to make a TLD available to everybody in the UK, how about ".gb"?

    No confusion, standards compliant, problem solved, At least the TLD problem.

    As for the other problem (already clearly identified by previous posters) namely "how do we get milk out of this bull we ended up owning", that's a tough one. But subterfuge doesn't seem to be helping, does it?

    1. Brewster's Angle Grinder Silver badge

      Re: Troll-olo...

      I'd wait till the Scots have had their referendum before changing anything...

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Troll-olo...

      "So if you want to make a TLD available to everybody in the UK, how about ".gb"?"

      Not sure there aren't issues with that:

      a) GB and UK are not the same geographical entities, so it's unfair to those in Northern Ireland, for example

      b) That nice Mr Salmond wants Scotland to leave UK so presumably Scottish companies/entities will have to stop using .uk as well - not seen what he proposes to replace it with, but if wants independence, he should got it - own domain registry etc, no longer using .uk for anything that's no longer in the UK

      c) No single national registrar can own .gb if that happens, unless there's a completely new and totally unnecessary multinational body set up to please Mr Salmond (who therefore should pay for it)

      1. hamsterjam

        Re: Troll-olo...

        You're right, of course about the difference between Great Britain and the UK (not to mention the British Isles). But nonetheless the ISO code for the UK is "GB", and almost all other countries use their ISO code.

        Now if the ISO code isn't to your liking, that's a conversation to have with the ISO...

        1. billse10

          Re: Troll-olo...

          that's an interesting conversation then :)

          Having said that, if the ISO code for the UK is "GB", then ISO "GB" belongs to the UK.

          Still more than a little unfair to those who are in Northern Ireland ...

  12. Not also known as SC

    You learn something new every day.

    I always thought that .uk was for the Ukraine. I have now learnt that the Ukraine uses .ua.

    Today was not wasted after all.

    1. Rukario

      Re: You learn something new every day.

      That's about all that's left of the JANET legacy, the UK having the .uk TLD. The Ukraine was always .ua or at least since 1992, when they were still .su, and I think they may now also have .ykp (.ukr in Cyrillic letters). It's just as well as giving the UK the .gb TLD would have just about required IEDR to open up to Northern Ireland, which they did in 2002 anyway.

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "anyone wishing to use .uk domains can only do so by registering them at the third level"

    Unless you are the police. Or the nhs.

  14. billium


    Will nominet get more dosh if / when Scotland gets independence.

    foo.sco ... etc

    Or may be Ukraine could get .uk.

  15. Mr Spock

    That is all.

  16. Richard Cranium

    The claimed benefits were:

    Nominet to check registrant details properly - an admission that their previous practise was rather casual.

    Websites to be scanned for malware on a regular basis - at what additional cost? UK registrar 123reg offer a service "Site Scanner", 5 pages for £3.50 a month (or you can use Google webmaster tools and get free site-wide malware scans).

    Registrants to be entitled to use a "Nominet approved" quality mark - along with all the other "approved" badges and labels that appear all over the web - and are universally disregarded

    The shorter name is "more convenient" - delivering the fantastic benefit of 3 fewer keystrokes... but certainly more confusing, everyone is familiar with

    "The new names make it easier to choose a suitable domain name" because more become available - not true. If someone owns and someone else registers it only leads to confusion and they could be guilty of "passing off". Just try buying a name like (one of the few not already owned by Tesco, .cx is Christmas Island), I can confidently predict you'd be hearing from their lawyers not long afterwards even if you made no use of the name. SMEs simply can't afford the cost of registration under all top level domains never mind the legal fees to defend them.

    Trade mark holders will be given priority - so if I've been legitimately using for ten years but a third party has great-example as a trade mark, they'll get priority for the name over me.

    Having demonstrated that the claimed "benefits" are illusory at best, let's consider the disadvantages:

    The annual fee is substantially higher, the wholsale price was to be "under £20 p.a." (compared with a the current wholesale price of £5 for 2 years). Registrars can charge whatever they want as the retail price. In short, registrants can expect to pay a much larger annual fee.

    Presumably there will be an additional charge for malware scanning and for DNSSEC.

    As mentioned above the owner of name might find that a third party has registered great-example as a trade mark and will get priority for the name. The implication could be a great revenue earner for the legal profession. Alternatively it could go to the Nominet dispute resolution process (£££). A trade mark is not unique, more than one organisation can have a trade mark on a word as long as there is no risk of confusion, i.e. they are operating in different business sectors. Apple was example being the trade mark of the Beatles shop and of a computer company. For many years both had rights to use "Apple" as a trademark as long as the computer company didn't enter the music business and the Beatles didn't start selling computers. (Subsequently the computer company paid the Beatles to drop their trade mark).

    There will be a "sunrise period" - presumably this will follow precedent of charging a substantial premium for sunrise registrations. (With the possibility of fraud as alleged by some sunrise applicants for EU domains). And if you don't "defend" your existing name with a sunrise application but someone else buys it (then or at cheaper landrush stage), you're stufffed.

    Who benefits? Nominet is a "limited by guarantee" company, however that doesn't mean that employees can't benefit from generous remuneration packages, the average staff salary in 2011 was around £60k. The total financial benefit package for the highest paid director was over £250k.

    Domain name registrars are Nominet members, paying an annual fee and a small fee for each domain name. They stand to do very well out of the new arrangement.

    Those with deep pockets - SMEs on tight budgets just have to cave-in when they see the likely legal cost of a passing-off dispute

    The corruption starts here: It's interesting that Nominet didn't use their mailing list of 10M domain name registrants to publicise the consultation - but doubtless all the registrars were contacted. No point in asking the turkeys to vote for Christmas, let's just get Bernard Matthews opinion.

    If Nominet were serious about he alleged benefits then they could offer all but the shorter name acknowledged by a "Nominet approved sticker" as an add-on for names with the associated DNSSEC, security scanning and some kind of legitimacy check - like that busineses are registered at companies house, genuine address on file not an accommodation address, accounts up to date, no credit reference agencies alerts.

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