There is a proposal by Nominet to allow the registration of second level UK domains, i.e. something.uk rather than something.co.uk, etc. It is a simple idea in principle and consistent with the fact top level domains are opening up, but is it sensible.
I have to say, I checked the nominet site and found Q&A on this, and all sorts, but not the actual detailed proposal. I only checked for a few minutes, but still - why is this not clear?
Firstly, and I am far from the first to point this out, there are separate issues here. Nominet are proposing that the second level domains also come with a load of "security" and "trust' checks that try to give consumer confidence in these domains. The issue of trust in domains and better checking of registrant details is a separate issue from opening the .uk domain to direct registrations.
So, first issue - opening .uk to second level registrations: To be honest I am in two minds on this. I like shorter domains (says someone with the domain e.gg) but I see the issues with diluting the existing registrations and ensuring everyone with any commercial name to protect has to now register yet another version of their domain. There is some sense that a "name" can be global (like, starbucks) and so warrant a top level domain or can be UK specific like us (AAISP) and warrant a .uk domain, but duplicating what we have now is just more work and confuses consumers even more.
If we do open second level domains we need a sunrise period and auction like the two letter .co.uk and so on, but i would think a GB trademark registration should take priority over a non GB registration as we are talking UK domains here. We also want a price just high enough to stop the main domain squatters but be commercially sensible, e.g. £50 not £5 or some such. That's my view, if we think it is sensible anyway. If .uk is for commercial use one would think perhaps .co.uk owners get first choice of .uk, but then surely more restrictive .plc.uk and .ltd.uk and .net.uk should come before them?
The separate issue is the checking of domains in some way to engender trust. This seems odd for any registrar. The idea of adding security is odd. I can slightly see a new domain space demanding DNSSEC perhaps - that simply helps technical improvements in the quality of DNS and is not really an issue. I can see some merit in confirming contact details but I am not sure any postal service is sensible. The postal one could be done by a public enforcement - e.g. anyone reporting invalid contact details gets first refusal to take the domain when deregistered for having invalid details, perhaps. That is my somewhat controversial idea there, but the risk of simply losing a domain would ensure good contact details and the benefit of winning a domain would encourage public scrutiny of contact details for free. Probably possible to work around somehow.
There is an idea of virus scanning a domain. Now this seems crazy for a registry to even consider. Domains and web sites are not the same thing. A domain can be used for any number of things not a web site. There is merit in some verifiable independent checking of a web site but is this the role of a registrar. It is an idea to consider, but not a Nominet issue, surely.
I hear they are also trying to stop selling third level domains which has to be nonsense and unenforceable. I hope to find the definition of this but it is mad.
So, my plan it to try and get my hands on the actual proposal and pull it to bits properly.