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Update on Direct.uk

Following our Board meeting yesterday, we are not proceeding with our original proposal on ‘direct.uk’ but we will respond to feedback by looking at whether a revised proposal will address issues raised in the recent consultation. 

We received extensive feedback from a wide range of stakeholders including formal and informal responses.  We listened and carefully considered all the points made.  All responses were available to the board, along with a report on the feedback that contained a summary of responses and analysis of the data.

It was clear from the feedback that there was not a consensus of support for the direct.uk proposals as presented, with some concerns cutting across different stakeholder groups. Although shorter domains (e.g. nominet.uk rather than nominet.org.uk) were considered desirable, many respondents felt that the release mechanism did not give enough weighting to existing registrants, and could lead to confusion if they could not obtain the corresponding domain.

The objective of raising trust/security was welcomed, but many disagreed with the proposed approach, suggesting that standards should be raised across the whole of the namespace. On individual security features, there was qualified support for options such as DNSSEC, but scepticism about whether the proposed trustmark would be effective. There was significant support for address validation, though some would like us to do more, and others would like us to do the validation process differently. There was clear support that the sale of domain names should be only through registrars who could meet a level of service and data quality.

As a result, we are going to explore whether it is possible to present a revised proposal that meets the principles of increasing trust and security and maintaining the relevance of the .uk proposition in a changing landscape.

Over the coming months, this work will explore:

  • A revised phased release mechanism based largely on the prior registrations of domains in existing third levels within .uk and in which contention between different applicants for the same domain name should be reduced or eliminated.
  • Measures to improve security across the whole of the .uk namespace. This would include increased focus on encouraging the adoption of DNSSEC.
  • A firm focus on registrant verification and some form of UK presence.
  • Further investigations into the impact on the SME sector.
  • An appropriate pricing model.

The Board plans to review progress at their June meeting, where they would decide whether there is an alternative option that addresses the concerns raised in the consultation.  This would be subject to further consultation prior to any final decision being made.

Should the new shorter .uk suffix be introduced, Nominet has committed to continuing to support the existing third level domains (e.g .co.uk).

While we need more time to work on the details of the revised proposal or release mechanism, in light of the high level of interest in this issue, we wanted to let everyone know our proposed next steps as soon as possible.

We would like to thank all those who took the time to give their views. 

© Nominet 2012-2014