News from Nominet on the future of UK domains

Earlier this week, I had the pleasure of sitting down to lunch with some of the Nominet Staff, including CEO Lesely Cowley and board member Gordon Dick.

As well as a very nice meal in Malmasion, the opportunity to catch up on new Nominet initiatives within the .UK domain world was well worth it, and  I’d like to highlight just a few of these here…

Renewal Campaign
As some of you may have seen, Nominet are currently involved in a clever marketing campaign, aimed at .UK domain owners, reminding them of the importance of keeping your domain renewal up to date, and generally looking after your domain to ensure it’s not lost.  Their dedicated site and associated marketing is great news..  anything that helps domain users better understand the importance of keeping their contact details up to date, and knowing when their domains should be renewed etc should help stop the many domains that are lost every year because people simply “forget”.

Register a UK domain for 1-10 years
Finally, Nominet will shortly allow the registration of UK domains for anywhere between 1 and 10 years, bringing consistency with Global domains (such as .com).  For us this is a positive step forward…  Customers who wish to give anothe rlayer of protection to their domain can secure it for 10 years at a time, minimising the risk of losing it every 2 years at renewal time.  The 1 year option is also great…  It means that finally we can offer “annual hosting accounts”, and have the UK domain match up with the renewal date (instead of the current situation of the domain being every 2 years, and the host account every year).

2 character Domains
Nominet also confirmed that they are currently looking into the process of making available the limited number of 2 character uk domains (at the moment, a UK domain must be a minimum of 3 characters in length).  So for example – we’ll be hoping to get  This whole idea (although a good one) opens up a whole new can of worms regarding how it”s managed, who get’s first pickings, the prices for these (since demand will be so high) etc…  There’s talk of auctioning them off, with the money going to charity, and I’m expecting that if this is the route they take – the end-price will be well into the 10’s of £1000’s for each one of them – some going for much higher!  Maybe we won’t get our after all….

Some other general chat between Nominet members focussed on the role that “small players” have in the domain industry..  While it’s impossible for small companies to match the crazy “domain names for a penny” offers that some of the Domain Giants can offer, everyone agreed that smaller companies by their very nature offer a better personalised service, both in terms of other value added services, and also customer support.  There’s even a call for Nominet to offer “accreditation” to members who can show and continually demonstrate a high standard of service across all areas related to domain registration – and I would agree that this is a good step forward, increasing consumer confidence and proving that just because we don’t give domains away for 1p, there’s a LOT more to choosing who to register with than just price alone.