Nominet

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Type: Private, Not-for-profit
Industry: Registry
Founded: UK, 1996
Founder(s): Willie Black
Headquarters: Minerva House,
Edmund Halley Road,
Oxford Science Park,
Oxford, OX4 4DQ England
Country: UK
Employees: 115 (2010)
Website: nominet.org.uk
Twitter: TwitterIcon.png@nominet
Key People
Russell Haworth, CEO

Eleanor Bradley, Chief Operations Officer
Gill Crowther, Director of HR
Simon McCalla, Chief Technology Officer

nTLDStats
TLDs: 2
Registrations: 41,374

More Info: nTLDStats

Nominet maintains the registry for .uk domain names, managing over ten million domain names.[1] It is also the registry operator for the .wales and .cymru GeoTLDs.

Nominet Trust

Nominet has launched a charitable foundation, the Nominet Trust,[2] as it has been creating a profit surplus on its ordinary operations since 2003; its constitution forbids it from distributing surplus funds to members in the manner of a commercial company paying dividends, and so it turned to charitable activities as a means of running down the excess funds. In September 2008, Nominet's board made an initial donation of £5m to its charitable offshoot,[3] which will support "education, research and the funding of suitable projects for the benefit of UK internet stakeholders". Since its founding, the trust has raised and invested over 10 million pounds in 170+ projects that have aimed to help the disadvantaged and strengthen communities.[4]

In October, 2011, Nominet held auctions of short .co.uk domains, which brought in over 3 million pounds for its Nominet Trust.[5]

Nominet Trust is a sponsor of ISOC's Next Generation Leaders Programme, which is an academic program, launched in 2010 in conjunction with the DiploFoundation, intended to further the skills of promising Internet professionals and individuals working in Internet governance.[6]

March, 2012 marked the single largest funding round for Nominet Trust, bringing in over 2 million pounds that is to be distributed over 13 projects and other participations.[7]

One supported project is "Make IT Happy, Make IT Safe", which is a resource outreach program to make available lesson plans for teachers to educate on computer and Internet safety and capabilities. There is a country-wide contest that involves creating an infographic.[8]

New gTLDs

In April 2016 it was announced that Nominet had been chosen by Minds + Machines as registry services provider[9]

Nominet announced in November, 2011 that it was becoming a registry operator for new gTLD ventures.[10]

Nominet has been chosen by the Welsh government to provide the registry functions for .cymru and .wales in ICANN's New gTLD Program. The company contracted Beaufort Research in order to discover what their stakeholders would like done with the Welsh TLDs. They released a questionnaire, with questions relating to policy, pricing and perceived demand.[11]

In September 2011, the city of London's official promoter, London & Partners, announced it was seeking proposals to run a .london GeoTLD. Nominet intends to respond, saying that they would run the space on a not-for-profit basis and turn the profits around to worthy causes, as the Nominet Trust already does.[12] Other bids are expected from other English companies, such as CentralNic. Minds + Machines went on to win the project.

Language Issues

In October, 2012, Nominet was criticized for using poor Welsh grammar and structure on its website for the Welsh TLDs. One Welsh tech blogger alleged that Google translate or a similar program to create the text. Nominet had previously promised to expand beyond its English-centric presence and establish an office in Wales with Welsh speakers.[13]

History

The .uk ccTLD was first used during the 1980s, and at that time a voluntary group called the Naming Committee managed the registration of .uk domain names.

By the early 1990s, commercial companies started to sell domain names to customers. As demand for domain name registrations grew, it became clear that a voluntary group could no longer cope with the volume of registrations being requested. A new organization was needed to manage the .uk ccTLD and, as a result, Nominet UK was formed.

There was discussion about what type of corporation the registry should be. The options to set it up as a profit-making company or a charity were rejected, and Nominet was established in 1996 as a private, not-for-profit company, limited by guarantee.

Nominet began registering domain names on August 1st, 1996, and is now officially recognized by the UK Government as the manager of the .uk ccTLD.[14]

Nominet has been involved in proposals to cut off the Internet access without due process for UK citizens when determined necessary by law enforcement.[15] They have since responded to criticism and opinions submitted by concerned citizens and domain owners by limiting the powers of the police to order domains to be shuttered in its new, proposed changes to Nominet policy. The changes, proposed in November, 2011, were aided by the work of an "issue group", which was compromised of police officers, policy experts, academics, and technical experts. The proposed changes would state that only those sites that pose an immediate and significant risk to the public would be shut down without a court order or without notice to the registrant. Serious cases of botnets, phishing and fake pharmaceuticals sales are all considered illegal activities that pose an imminent risk. Other illegal activities, such as severely racist material, would need a court order to proceed, and Nominet would also allow time to alert the registrant and allow them to respond.[16]

Recent Developments

In November 2011, Nominet suspended over 2,000 domain names that were identified by Metropolitan police as belonging to people engaged in fraudulent retail activities. This is the third year it has been doing this pre-Christmas crackdown on illegal retail practices. It worked with the appropriate registrars and notified the individuals in advance that there domains were being suspended as they were in breach of contract with Nominet.[17]

In January 2012, it was announced that single-year .co.uk domains would cost more than multi-year registrations. The new policy, which is to begin in May, allows registration from anywhere from 1 to 10 years. The prior policy only allowed registration in two-year blocks. Now, a single year will cost £3.50 British Pounds, and a multi-year is to cost £2.50.[18]

In January 2013, Nominet filed a Defamation suit against the owner of the domains "that.co.uk" and "avoid.co.uk", which not only act as Nominet complaint sites but openly and directly attack its CEO, Lesley Cowley, with the goal of having her replaced. Nominet filed the suit noting that it was against harassment and victimization of its staff.[19]

Second and Third Level Domains

Nominet has historically only allowed the registration of a domain at the third level, so, example.co.uk, they have 15 second level extensions, such as:

There are a total of 15 SLDs after Nominet created judiciary.uk in November, 2011. Some of these extensions are reserved for special social sectors, such as the judiciary SLD.[20]

In October 2012, Nominet opened a 3 month comment period to gauge public interest in opening registration at the second-level, thereby making example.uk a registrable address. Some of the proposed differences include: a higher price, £20 instead of £2.50; verification of actual UK-residence and contact information; the possibility of mandatory DNSSEC; and possible, limited registrar accreditation or selection.[21] ICANN regular, and CEO of Irish registrar Blacknight Internet Solutions Ltd, Michele Neylon immediately logged a number of complaints with the proposals, which he sees as being "heavily influenced" by the law enforcement requests being made during ongoing discussions at ICANN over the Registrar Accreditation Agreement.[22] Many of his complaints can be seen here.

In February 2013, Nominet returned to say that it was not taking any immediate action on opening up to second-level registration, but that the idea was not abandoned wholesale. They are planning to respond to the feedback and revising their proposal to meet concerns. It will be researching how to give current registrants priority when delegating second-level .uk names, and how to improve the security of the entire namespace rather than just update anything at the second-level.[23]

In June 2013, Nominet resurrected the proposal, stating that owners of Third Level Domains would be allowed the rights to the Second Level Domain. Matching names at the third level would be resolved by awarding right of first refusal to the older registration.[24]

Awards

  • Webby Awards, ' People's voice best website, corporate communications' - 2015
  • Women in IT Awards, 'Security champion of the year' - 2015
  • Sabre Communications campaign winner - 2013
  • Council of European National Tope Level Domain Registries (CENTR), 'Security Award' - 2013
  • Sunday Times Top 100 Best Companies To Work For in the not-for-profit sector - 2012.
  • Best Companies Ltd., 'One to watch' - 2011
  • Thames Valley Business Magazine Awards, 'Best Place To Work,' Winner - 2009.
  • Oxfordshire Business Awards, 'Customer and Staff Care', Winner - 2009.

Freedom of Information Act

In September 2012, Nominet was accused of previously taking measures to evade the U.K.'s Freedom of Information Act. The apparent acts took place in 2008, when an employee of Nominet intentionally used personal email accounts, and recommended deleting old emails, to avoid having to submit to any public communication inquiries made possible by the FOIA. The correspondence in question seems to be related to restructuring efforts to the governance of .uk, which was sought after by a section of the general public. If the correspondence is real it may go on to show that the government coordinated with Nominet to restructure the company and its governance in a more mutually beneficial manner.[25]

Nominet Chair, Baroness Rennie Fritchie, denied that the company conspired to restructure .uk governance, which resulted in an independent review, a restructuring of Nominet’s board, and powers for the government to take over the running of .uk being included in the Digital Economy Act of 2010. Nominet and Baroness Fritchie have stated that there was no such plans or outreach on behalf of Nominet regarding the restructuring, and that all efforts began on the part of the government, British Telecom, and the Confederation of British Industry.

However, she did recognize and apologize for the use of personal email accounts and correspondence which suggests that personnel should use such accounts to avoid the FOI Act and delete sensitive correspondence.[26]

References

External links