Latest news of the domain name industry

Recent Posts

Nominet to overhaul .uk registry, turn off some services

Kevin Murphy, January 31, 2024, 17:43:39 (UTC), Domain Registries

Nominet has opened a public consultation on its plans to modernize the .uk domain registry, which will involve increased standardization around international norms and turning off some older services.

It’s an extensive consultation — 37 proposals and 92 questions spread over more than 50 pages — aimed mainly at the registrars that will have to update their systems to integrate with the new registry. But registrants will also be affected.

The plans would see changes to Nominet’s underlying registry platform that would alter how renewals, proxy registrations, grace periods and transfers between registrants and registrars are handled, and the retirement of the current Whois system, among many other items.

Nominet reckons its proposals will help it save money on ongoing maintenance and software licensing as well as eventually simplifying things for its member registrars.

The company currently runs two registry platforms in parallel: the old UK registry and the newer EPP registry, which is based on the latest technical standards and compliant with ICANN requirements.

It runs its gTLDs, such as .wales and .cymru, as well as its dozens of back-end clients, on the newer system. The plan is to shift .uk over to the newer RSP platform too.

The proposal also calls for Nominet to align with ICANN’s plans to stop requiring registrars to operate Whois services a year from now, replacing them with the newer RDAP standard, which provides the same functionality.

Other older, less-used services, such as the Domain Availability Checker, would either be retired or replaced with EPP-based equivalents.

There’s a lot to absorb in the consultation documents, but at first glance it strikes me that large international registrars that already integrate with dozens of registries probably don’t have much to worry about; smaller, .uk-focused registrars with fewer resources may show some resistance due to the amount of development work likely to be required.

But Nominet says that it is taking this into account with its timetable, saying: “If the changes go ahead, we will give considerable advance notice to Registrars to allow time for development activities”.

The consultation is open for the next three months, punctuated by five explanatory webinars.

Tagged: ,

Comments (4)

  1. John Smith says:

    Just perhaps it’s time for the UK Gov to re-tender .UK and truly see if Nominet could retain backend services in what is now a very competitive market. Not entirely sure they offer any value at this stage in .UK’s lifecycle & am sure all of Nominet’s little side projects do nothing more than stroke their egos and pump up their vanity at the expense of registrants and registrars.

  2. Joe King says:

    Does anyone still buy .UK domains? Amidst Nominet’s grand plans to modernize the .uk domain registry, one can’t help but wonder about the real benefits, especially when compared to the ever-reliable .COM or other non-country-specific TLDs. After all, turning off older services and increasing standardization sounds like a perfect diversion from addressing the real issues.

    Mr. Smith certainly hits the nail on the head regarding the cyber side hustle. It’s almost admirable how Nominet, in its pursuit of ‘modernization’ and aligning with ICANN’s plans, seems to have conveniently overlooked the need for competitive procedures to ensure actual value. And let’s not forget the impressive amount they reportedly spend on hotels near their offices – because clearly, that’s what really matters in domain registry management, right?

    It’s fascinating how their numerous side projects, much like their love for upscale accommodations, appear to be more about stroking egos and inflating vanities than genuinely benefiting registrants and registrars. With their proposed changes, one wonders if the smaller, .uk-focused registrars will just be collateral damage in Nominet’s quest for ‘modernization’ and self-congratulation.

    • Rubens Kuhl says:

      In large markets such as UK, Germany or Brazil, the local ccTLD is dominant while .com and others are 2nd class TLDs. Your portfolio preference might not match customer preference in those markets.

      • Helmuts says:

        Well said, Rubens!

        It is simple, for a UK company to signal local presence: they need to be on the or .UK domain (ideally owning both ccTLDs).

        Businesses still register domain names; nothing has changed, and the market remains stable.

        As for investors, these markets are always known for being highly volatile 🙂

        There’s nothing to worry about, and Nominet is a very solid and technologically strong entity.

        Have a great weekend, everyone! H

Add Your Comment