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Nominet to release one-letter domains

Kevin Murphy, March 8, 2010, 18:00:58 (UTC), Domain Registries

Nominet, the .uk registry, is thinking about releasing previously restricted domains for registration, including one and two-letter domains and domains that match existing TLDs.

If the scheme goes ahead, it would mean hundreds of domains such as com.co.uk, mobi.co.uk and de.co.uk, which contain strings currently used at the top level, could be auctioned off.

Essentially all ccTLD strings would be made available, as well as previously reserved gTLD strings. One and two-letter strings would also be released under .me.uk, .net.uk and .org.uk.

Nominent is thinking about barring com, net and org from the release for stability reasons, due to the way some browser search tools automatically append .co.uk onto a .com they fail to resolve.

The program would first open for applications from trademark holders – there’s a suggestion that 2002 would be the latest cut-off date for when the mark was applied for – before public auctions open.

Crucially for domain investors, .me.uk names would only be available to individuals. Non-profits would get preference for .org.uk and companies for .co.uk.

Nominet said it is considering a Dutch reverse auction for .me.uk names and a standard sealed bid auction for the others. Profits would be funnelled into Nominet’s charitable foundation.

This of course, is all pie in the sky until the organisation has received stakeholder feedback. Nominet is running an open consultation until June 8 this year.

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