Nominet withdraws plans to seize control of expired .uk domains

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Nominet, the .uk domain name registry, has backtracked on plans to seize control of expired domains after encountering pushback from its members.

The organization had proposed reforms that would see expired .uk domains auctioned off by the registry itself, as opposed to being hoovered up by members and sold on to consumers or individual businesses.

By this model, several millions of pounds in revenue that would have fallen into the pockets of members would instead make its way directly into Nominet coffers.

The change was designed to introduce industry-wide standardisation and address issues with the waitlist model used by other registries, whereby parties interested in taking on a soon-to-be-expired domain can declare their intent to purchase and receive first preference.

However, Nominet has been forced to withdraw its plans to shift to an auction model after a consultation process made clear that many stakeholders were displeased with the change.

.uk domains

Of the circa 12 million .uk domains in existence, between one and two million typically expire in any given year - and roughly 20% of these domains are then adopted again within 12 months of expiry. 

However, the debate at hand hinges on a smaller proportion (roughly 10,000) of highly valuable and hotly contested domains, which Nominet members have traditionally competed over.

While the proposed auction model was said to be supported by select parties, including members of the drop-catching community, the consensus among consultation participants was that the registry was stepping beyond its remit.

Despite conceding on this particular point (after initial resistance at executive level), Nominet claims it will still pursue change of some variety.

“We remain of the view that some change is not only beneficial, but necessary. While many contributors and commentators felt the status quo should be retained, this would mean the current incentives to circumvent our acceptable use policies (AUPs) would remain,” wrote Eleanor Bradley, MD Registry and Public Benefit at Nominet.

“There is no direct, practical way to address collusion or circumvent system rules, so some change is required. Addressing this issue, raised by concerned members was a key driver to our proposals.”

According to Bradley, the registry will take time to consider a new proposal, which will be discussed at its next AGM on September 22.

Via The Register

Joel Khalili
News and Features Editor

Joel Khalili is the News and Features Editor at TechRadar Pro, covering cybersecurity, data privacy, cloud, AI, blockchain, internet infrastructure, 5G, data storage and computing. He's responsible for curating our news content, as well as commissioning and producing features on the technologies that are transforming the way the world does business.