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Nominet mulls killing off the .co from .co.uk

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Nominet is seeking Brits' views on its proposals for slightly shorter .uk domain names with some layers of security thrown in.

The non-profit company, which controls the .uk domain registry, hopes to introduce a new service for businesses called direct.uk that could, by ditching the .co and the .org from .co.uk and .org.uk, offer snappier domain names registered at the second level.

Currently, .co.uk is the most popular suffix used by British companies online followed by .org.uk. As things stand, anyone wishing to use .uk domains can only do so by registering them at the third level.

Nominet wants to change this - paving the way for domains such as theregister.uk - and weave "the most comprehensive package of security features available" into the web name service.

It is looking at verifying that web address registrants are based in the UK, and scanning websites every day for malware. Nominet is mulling over using the DNSSEC protocol that digitally signs domain name look-up requests, allowing web browsers to alert punters if they visit a hijacked site.

As of today, the company isn't trying to force businesses over to .uk domains and away from the pervasive co.uk suffix. But it's likely that down the line, Nominet may expect firms in Blighty to sign-up for shorter domain names. It said:

We are proposing that it would be a new and different service that would sit alongside the already known, respected and trusted options such as .co.uk, .org.uk and me.uk that will remain as an accessible, flexible and vibrant domain name spaces.

This proposal is obviously significant for anyone involved in the .uk namespace, which is why we are consulting to ensure we take all views into account.

Anyone interested in airing their views on Nominet's proposals can do so via this website. The consultation process ends on 7 January, 2013. ®

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