Second Level Registrations And Other Changes Coming To .UK

Posted in: Domain Names at 21/11/2013 10:47

There are major changes to the .uk ccTLD are coming in 2014 including registrations at the second level, enhanced security, a revised Registrar Agreement and a proposed Data Quality policy is open for comment, the .uk registry, Nominet announced yesterday (20 November).

The change that will catch the public's eye is registrations at the second level which will mean registrants will be able to register theirname.uk as well as the existing theirname.co.uk.

"In an industry that is seeing an unprecedented level of change with the upcoming introduction of over a thousand new top level domains, we're hard at work to ensure innovation in .uk keeps UK web users and businesses ahead of the curve," said Nominet CEO Lesley Cowley.

"At the same time, we're holding ourselves to a higher standard - expanding the choices available to our customers, upping the bar for security, data quality and the way we engage with our registrars to ensure everyone registering, managing or visiting a website with a domain ending in .uk can be proud to be part of a strong, trusted community."

The change to add second level registrations will occur in the northern summer of 2014. Over ten million existing .uk customers will be offered the shorter equivalent of their current address, with five years to decide whether they want to use it in addition to, or instead of the domain they already have.

To deal with disputes in the small number of cases where different registrants may have registered, for example, the .co.uk and .org.uk domain, the shorter domain will be offered to the .co.uk registrant.

The wholesale price, that is the price charged to registrars, for the new domains will be £3.50 per year for single year registrations and £2.50 per year for multi-year registrations. This is the same price as a current co.uk domain, ensuring the cost of a domain name will remain a very small proportion (around 1.5% for a small business) of the cost of being online.

All Nominet's existing domains (.co.uk, .org.uk, .net.uk, .me.uk, .plc.uk, .ltd.uk and .sch.uk) will continue to run as normal.

Nominet is planning a major programme of communication and outreach with its customers to ensure people are aware of the changes, and intends to announce a definitive launch date by February 2014.

Another ccTLD, .nz, has also announced plans to introduce registrations at the second level in 2014.

In other changes, Nominet announced that in Q1 2014 they will be launching new tools to help registrars further enhance the security of their domain portfolios, including a domain-locking tool to protect high value domains from social-engineering attacks.

From Q2 2014, registrars will be offered the opportunity to adopt additional security controls when accessing Nominet's registry systems, to give the domains they manage a stronger second line of defence against hacking.

Nominet is also exploring ways to work alongside others in the internet community to help businesses address the increasing challenge of cyber-security and take advantage of opportunities to build a trusted online presence.

Work is underway to develop a tool aimed at helping anybody who has a .uk web presence identify when security-related issues are adversely affecting their domain, with a view to encouraging the take up of additional website security features.

.UK Security
A separate initiative is exploring how Nominet can work alongside others in the internet community to offer practical help to small businesses concerned about cyber-security.

Nominet has also developed a data visualisation and analysis tool to assess the behaviour of the domain name system. This has already helped prevent a global exploit of the domain name system and Nominet hopes to deploy this technology in a number of ways to help keep the internet safe.

Registrar Agreement
Another change is to the Registrar Agreement. A final draft of Nominet's new Registrar Agreement has been published with amendments based on consultation feedback. These include a new, clear policy regarding Nominet's commitment and expectations around data quality, as well as a decision not to introduce tag fees at this time.

Registrars and other interested stakeholders are invited to submit comments by 20 December 2013. The final version of the agreement is expected to be agreed in early 2014 and registrars will then be given 30 days notice before it comes into force.

Data Quality
As part of their ongoing commitment to raising the standard of information held for .uk registrations, Nominet's proposed data quality policy has been published[pdf]. It sets out data quality requirements and commitments for Nominet and its registrars moving forward.

Anyone interested in this issue is invited to give their feedback on the proposed policy by 20 December 2013. Feedback will be published (where permission has been granted) in the New Year.


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