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.UK domain names could become simpler & more complicated at the same time

.UK domains
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UK businesses might be able to get their own special .UK top-level domain in the near future, according to proposals by the organisation, Nominet, responsible for the management of the UK’s national domain extension.

Along with the familiar .CO.UK, .GOV.UK, .ORG.UK, and .POLICE.UK domains Nominet wants to introduce a simplified version of the CCTLD – simply .UK.  So rather than using example.co.uk a company could opt for example.uk.  Nominet has begun a consultation period to see if there is significant interest in the creation of such a domain extension.

If introduced the .UK domain would be designated for businesses with a “verified UK presence.” Nominet argues that such a requirement of .UK domains would reinforce the “overall security and stability of the .UK domain name space.”

If the system is approved .UK domains would be granted greater security features, such as, “routine monitoring and notification to registrants of viruses and malware, as well as a digital signature known as DNSSEC which minimises the risks of a domain name being hijacked.”

But they would also have increased responsibilities to ensure that their domains don’t host malware – any domains that do could be suspended if they fail to secure their sites fast enough.

The proposals are controversial; writing in Domain Industry & Internet News Blacknight’s CEO, Michele Neylon, says that malware issues can usually be solved by the site owner and the registrar/hosting provider.

Nominet’s CEO, Lesley Cowley, said .UK would boost the British online economy; “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. 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 consultation period for the new .UK ccTLD will close on January 7 2013.  The proposal comes as ICANN furthers its plans to release generic top level domains.

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Piers Dillon Scott
Piers Dillon-Scott is co-editor of The Sociable and writes about stuff he finds. He likes technology, media, and using the Oxford comma (because it just makes sense).