back to article Kerching! Nominet preps for cash AVALANCHE from shorter UK domain names

Whether online businesses in the UK like it or not - Dot-UK registry Nominet is now bringing second-level namespaces to life. The Oxford-based outfit said today that, from next summer, companies would be able to bid for the shorter domain names. It said that Nominet's existing 10 million .uk customers would be offered the …


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  1. Brenda McViking

    Greater choice?

    It's yet another url addition which no one (except nominet who will make money out of the fiasco) cares about.

    What problem does it solve? none, yet it's introduction allows for a whole raft of hell to break loose as everybody gets confused over who should be .org, and .uk

    I'm kind of amazed that no one had the foresight to stop all of this, when the previous system wasn't broken. Nominet must be laughing all the way to the bank!

    1. S4qFBxkFFg

      Re: Greater choice?

      I half expect the next wheeze in domain names to be expanding the options available by allowing more forms of punctuation.

      For example, it would be possible to register all of the examples below:






      etc. etc.

      It's what I would want if my salary was paid by ICANN.

      After all, doesn't "comma com" just slip delightfully off the tongue?

  2. Oliver Burkill

    To be fair Nominet is a not for profit company.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      This man writes the truth. They are listed as one of the top UK 'not for profit' organisations in the UK, and their 2012 report goes on and on about the charitable donations they made, typically to help with internet based concerns.

      Also, look at the figures on their balance sheet. Tiny numbers. This is no Microsoft.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      @ Oliver Burkill

      "To be laughably naive, Nominet is a not for profit company and is staffed entirely by volunteers and no one and no company in any way connected with it gets even a single fucking penny. True. Yes it is."

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "To be fair Nominet is a not for profit company."

      The senior staff have performance related pay though.

      CEO performance related pay: 2010 62K 2011 65K 2012 70K

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      But don't they make a lot of profit - or shall we call it operating surplus?

      1. Don Jefe

        Not for profits aren't prohibited from running a surplus. They are prohibited from using that surplus for anything other than furthering their mission.

        So they can't give their execs big raises, but NPO's can and certainly do buy enormous facilities in fancy locations for execs to entertain big donors in and fly them there in their corporate jets (the NatGeo exec jet lives at the same airport our plane is at) and they can and do invest their proceeds/donations/surplus in stocks and bonds.

        The only real difference between an NPO and a regular business is that execs can't put their fingers directly in the pot and you can guilt people into working cheaply. That and NPO's are where business failures go to die. Some of the most vicious business people imaginable are in NPO's, they're so nasty and bad at business the business world doesn't want them.

        They don't run a break even operation and there's no requirement for them to do so. I'm not sure why people think that's the case.

        1. Don Jefe

          I should clarify that all NPO's aren't out buying mansions and private jets or that they are all skeezy operations. I was just trying to illustrate that NPO financials aren't like people think they are.

    5. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Having worked on an audit of a not for profit in the leisure sector

      I can tell you the place to look for the money departing is to payments to ltd companies and contractors who just happen to have directors who by chance are also employed by the not for profit organisation or are very closely associated/related with them.

    6. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      >Nominet is a not for profit company.

      So is Eton and both work equally selflessly for the greater good of the ordinary man in the internets

    7. Alan Brown Silver badge

      "not for profit"

      Doesn't mean what you think it means.

      NFPs are allowed to pay obscene salaries to staff. It's a fairly common rort, along with paying obsecene amounts to contractors who just happen to be tied into the directprs in some way (usually family relationships)

      See also "speed camera partnerships"

      "Auditing" also doesn't mean what people think it means. Normally it's just a check that te figures in the books add up, not that the spending is actually ethical or reasonable (I've seen 12k paid for middling-spec desktop PCs, etc)

      The USA IRS has become so deeply suspicious of NPOs that they're going through most of them with a very fine tooth comb. That's not the case on this side of the Atlantic - YET.

    8. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      OK so it's "Not for profit" and they're going to rake in a shit load more cash. What happens to it? I suggest they might want improve on their meagre salaries. In 2010 Leslie Cowlie had to scrape by on a total benefits package of £288k (salary £162k + Bonus £62k + some other stuff), not bad for running a monopoly and don't get me going on the cock-ups they've made with my domains...

      (well OK then: trying to repossess a very valuable name I'd had since the first day Nominet came into existence - because they'd lost their records. Cancelling a name when the only warning was an email to a 10 year old (unfortunately inactive) address giving 2 weeks notice to fix an absolutely trivial issue with the registration which had only arisen because Nominet had modified their system.)

      1. Don Jefe

        What happens in a lot of NPO's is the money that doesn't get dumped into a money market fund from which gains are put into the general fund, is that the coffee pots get upgraded and the staff get to go to a lot more conferences.

        The global model for NPO's was defined by National Geographic in the early 20th century. It was basically a way that powerful men found to twist the law to get out of paying taxes. There's a book called 'Explorers House' that talks in depth about Alexander Graham Belk and his strong arming of Congress and the President to get it done. Those same practices are still going on today. I highly recommend the book too, it's a very interesting story.

  3. Vince paying attention to what people asked

    Sorry? Greater choice? We're reserving them if already registered in .co. or .org. so er, what? It just means now I'll need to maintain 2 domains in .uk at least for the foreseeable for each one I held before.

    More cost, no gain.

    Business demand? From who? I don't see anyone who has demanded anything - given most people don't even type web addresses and google things (we watch this every day when supporting customers) it could be .whateverbecausenobodyusesit for all intents and purposes. The only time people seem to use it is for e-mail.

    It'll just cause more confusion - should I e-mail or or... what a joke.

    I honestly have no idea why this is being done, and if you look at the consultation, it doesn't seem like many others do too.

    How long before nominet becomes a "for profit" company -- it won't be long. It's doing all the things that would make it closer and closer to becoming an instant profit maker based on things accepted because "oh well they're not-for-profit" - it has a surplus all the time anyhow last I saw and ended up doing things like the nominet foundation to get shot of some of it.

    I genuinely don't see any benefit. And Nominet might as well have not bothered with a consultation because they are just ignoring everyone.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: paying attention to what people asked

      "It just means now I'll need to maintain 2 domains in .uk at least for the foreseeable for each one I held before."

      I don't understand: who is forcing you to do this? If you don't have .com, and .org etc. at the moment then why do you need multiple names in future? Your existing organisation name could already have many shortened forms without the new extension too?

      To help with your benefit question: the benefit is to your internet community who need to type it in. Fewer characters make it easier to remember, faster to type, and easier to type without mistakes (on a fiddly smart phone). Organisations want to make it as simple as possible to be reached by their user base, I have to presume?

      1. I like noodles

        Re: paying attention to what people asked

        "To help with your benefit question: the benefit is to your internet community who need to type it in. Fewer characters make it easier to remember, faster to type, and easier to type without mistakes"

        Sorry, but that is one of the crappest arguments I've ever seen.

        "Organisations want to make it as simple as possible to be reached by their user base"

        And this makes it harder, for the very simple reasons Vince mentioned.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: paying attention to what people asked

          Oh, I agree. Ease of user input/memory/typing is a poor argument. But it's the only one I've seen discussed and posted so far in the online debates.

          Then there's another (poor) argument that the internet shouldn't be held by by domain name restrictions but rather should be more 'anarchic'. That restricting domains names is another way business is trying to commercialise the internet for itself rather than leaving it open to the masses. I don't subscribe to that view either.

        2. Roland6 Silver badge

          Re: paying attention to what people asked

          One of the few companies that may stand to benefit from this abbreviation is - but they will have to negotiate with the current holder of ....

      2. Vince

        Re: paying attention to what people asked

        (a) Users who just "google" it on smartphones and every other device they have. They don't type URLs, so it isn't needed and won't make it helpful or easier.

        (b) you will need to maintain both, because some people will think and others will expect .uk - if there was not a relevant link, why would Nominet have decided (against what was actually offered/discussed) to have this 5 year "reservation" based on ownership of (and not the "oldest registered variant" including the SLDs etc).

        (c) I'll have to have both and .uk because users won't really know the difference or which is valid, so rather than lose them, I'll have to support both. In many cases this also means having both variants available for e-mail and so on and so forth. Nominet's assertion that it'll only cost £2.50/year on multi-year terms ignores the other potential costs in having to add yet more duplication and so on elsewhere).

        I would wager that the majority of .uk's sold will be to the same people who have the variant now. And those that aren't registered will remain unregistered and unloved in both. Like they are now.

        I'd also be prepared to wager that a huge % of .com names registered by a company are also registered by the same company in if they do, or think they might do business here whever possible. Which means they'll also add .uk too - so that's 3 variants now and most of the time they don't go to different sites either, so it's completely pointless but necessary because consumers don't really know .com from and if they even type the address (see (a)) they wont' know which to expect.

      3. J.G.Harston Silver badge

        the benefit is to your internet community who need to type it in


        Search Engine!!!!!

        1. Spoonsinger

          Re: WHO THE HELL TYPES IN URLS??????

          well if you have p2pbsm.<something> and another level allows p2pbsm.<something else> those search engine results will be polluting your original domain search result, (and therefore marketing budget), with the upstarts domain - probably malware - results.

          Unless you own it - which is what they are counting on to finance their fancy yacht trips - probably.

  4. batfastad

    At least

    At least they're asking current owners of the corresponding 3rd level domains first. They could just have made it a total free for all.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Think brand protection in UK namspace is bad, hang on to your hat

    Incoming alternative registries:,,,,,,,,

    1. Lee D Silver badge

      Re: Think brand protection in UK namspace is bad, hang on to your hat

      Well, there are already millions of alternatives you could register anyway.

      If you're "Marks & Spencers", yeah, this is more that you might have to potentially shut down but the fact is that anyone jumping on your domain to do ANYTHING related to retail with is going to fall foul of your lawyers anyway. What address they used it hardly relevant if they are playing on a trademark in bad faith. And if they wanted to do that, they could easily do it in a million other domains and even in the .uk existing domains anyway.

      Fact is, if you go to anything other than, it probably won't be the real Facebook (although they have registered / claimed quite a few of the typo domains by the look of it). You've been able to mistype and get confused for decades but with bookmarks, address books, search engines, and the like the actual domain is pretty irrelevant now.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Every registrar meeting that I know about had informal polls which resulted in about 80% registrars rejecting the proposal.

    BIS /Garret review in 2008-2009 investigation into the take-over of Nominet by some members was looking on the wrong direction, it's been taken over by a very small group of execs and a few V large members for their own profit.

  7. DaLo

    Domain Squatters

    So domain squatters who hold onto get given another one for free that they can readily sell on as well, holding a company to double ransom?

  8. 's water music

    Not Moving

    Did Nominet really deploy the homonym "stationary" in their press release, or is that Reg special sauce?

    And can you spot the traditional error in this pedant's post? I won't be able to for at least eleven minutes.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Is it really a big deal that you can be rather than

    Guess domains like will be interesting as will become

    1. Ralph B

      > Guess domains like will be interesting as will become

      Equally interesting will be seeing the current owners of and fighting for the right to have Neither of them have any put any web presence on their current domains, but I can imagine they might be able to find a use for

  10. Ol'Peculier

    Well, the owner of the corresponding domain I look after hasn't used it for years, but as it's Aviva I'd be up against I'm not expecting to grab the .uk - not that I particularly want it anyway as there are thousands of backlinks pointing to my org site anyway.

    Total waste of time.

  11. Jamie Jones Silver badge

    You've got to be kidding....

    With the current Icaan 'top level domain' fiasco, I'd thought of nominet as the sane and stable member of the family

    How wrong I was.....

  12. No Quarter

    How about they give the .uk domain to existing owners of the equivalent domain.

    1. jubtastic1


      Because mama needs a new car that's why, what are you, some sort of hippy?

  13. J.G.Harston Silver badge

    The WHOLE POINT of domain names is that they're supposed to be semi-invisible. Who on earth remembers the telephone number of their local pizza shop? You use a phone directory. Similarly, who on earth (expects to) remember the URL of a web site? You use a web directory service - otherwise known nowadays as a Search Engine.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "The WHOLE POINT of domain names is that they're supposed to be semi-invisible." What a load of old tosh and I don't suppose you use email anymore!

      If you'd said search engine companies and browser makers have been working at making domain name semi-invisible, you might have a point.

    2. Red Bren

      The whole point?

      I thought the whole point of domain names was to be the memorable link to the unmemorable and potentially changeable IP number. DNS is the directory service. Once I've googled a company to discover its URL, I don't keep googling it.

      And I used to know off by heart how to dial the phone numbers of the local take-aways and taxi firms, but I couldn't tell someone the number if they asked me, I'd have to dial it for them.

      1. J.G.Harston Silver badge

        Re: The whole point?

        "I thought the whole point of domain names was to be the memorable link to the unmemorable and potentially changeable IP number. DNS is the directory service. Once I've googled a company to discover its URL, I don't keep googling it."

        Yes, once I've Googled a company, MY COMPUTER remembers the URL, not me. I don't type in the URL, the computer does that for me by the magic of something called Bookmarks, the computer version of a phone number notebook.

        1. Red Bren

          Re: The whole point?

          Yes, once I've Googled a company, MY COMPUTER remembers the URL, not me.

          I have the misfortune of using more than one computer and I can't necessarily transfer my bookmarks between them, but I still don't necessarily re-google my favourite sites. Unless there's a stupid hyphen in the URL that I can never remember where it goes. So there's a time and place for either method.

    3. Gavin King

      The emphasis should be on the semi-; if nothing else, it saves a modicum of effort and time to enter the URL directly. This mayn't be important with fast internet connections, but often we don't have such things. It also means that should the search engine break, or not work with the browser being used --- I have had this happen at least once not too long ago (the re-directs would fail half-way through; don't know why and it seems to have resolved itself) --- one is still able to use the internet.

      And incidentally, in lieu of a pizza place, the number for my local fish and chip shop is 432-0207, from the top of my head. A meal there for whoever can figure out where it is.

  14. Red Bren

    Can I have

  15. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

    A novel proposal

    People are already used to remembering telephone numbers for companies

    There is no ambiguity in a number, no "all one word" or no it's not sex-change it's "s-exchange"

    I propose a system where a simple set of say 4, 2 or 3 digit numbers could replace a website URL.

    And one day when the internet is available on phones we will be able to enter the website companies directly with a simple numerical keypad in our pockets. Comments to please

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: A novel proposal

      The only phone number I can remember is my own and 0891 50 50 50 due to watching too much late night television in the 1990's.

      1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

        Re: A novel proposal

        Too young to remember "01 811 8055" then ?

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Protection Racket

    Nice domain you have there. Would be a shame if your rival purchased the .uk version. You'd better stump up then.

  17. Richard Cranium

    More to it than that. Suppose a Google search returned and,,, which one would you click? Hopefuly not the third but then if you are in the UK you'd because you anticipate more likely to be governed by UK legislation, in-country shipping will probably be cheaper and faster, prices will be pounds not dollars, no risk of import duties, the site more likely to use English (the .de site is in german)

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Trying to look for the positive aspects...

    At least they ditched most of the proposals from their first attempt at offering naked .uk addresses. That looked like drinks all round for Nominet and Registrars, little or no benefit to registrants but enormous scope for registrants to face a load more expense.

    The owners rights are respected, if only for 5 years, and the cost of the second registration isn't going to break the bank.

    I've not read all the bumph so I don't know but it would be good if naked .uk names were only available to registrants with an established UK presence.

    Also I've not yet read what happens with new registrations - If I buy will I need to buy or do I get 5 years to decide, and what about if I do it the other way round? If I were to wait 5 years and find hadn't registered could I buy it? Even if I could I have a suspicion I might hear from their lawers but if the domain were perhaps the domain name for my uncommon surname the guy who has wouldn't be able to afford the lawyers, and would probably have a weaker case anyway.

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