UK domain name .uk turns 25

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UK domain name .uk turns 25

Ian Grant

The .uk domain name turns 25 on Saturday.

With more than 8.5 million domain names registered, Nominet, the national registry, is the world's fourth biggest.

Nominet research shows that 77% of British consumers preferred to use a .uk rather than a .com when searching for information online. Nine out of 10 small businesses choose .uk rather than .com as the domain for marketing their business, it said.

Nominet chief executive Lesley Cowley said the registrar was trying hard to keep .uk a trusted domain in cyberspace.

"We are all working to ensure that .uk continues to be developed efficiently, effectively and most of all, responsibly," she said.

Nominet is a not-for-profit company limited by guarantee. It has members, not shareholders, pays no dividends and its charges cover running costs. Anyone with an interest in the internet may join more than 2,800 Nominet members from all areas of the internet industry.

The controversial Digital Economy Act, passed earlier this year, gave the secretary of state ultimate control of Nominet, despite its years of successful autonomous operation and a fierce lobbying campaign to stay independent.

"We are looking forward to working closely with the internet community to uphold the trusted reputation of .uk and to continue to make the internet a safer, more trusted place for all," Cowley said.

As well as keeping the .uk register and resolving disputes such as cybersquatting, Nominet runs the DNS infrastructure that keeps .uk working. This is the technology that locates the computer in the internet, that hosts the website or e-mail system you look for when you type in a web address or send an email to an address that ends in .uk.

It also runs the Tier 1 registry for UK Enum, a service that combines telephone numbers and the Domain Name System to simplify the way telephone calls over the internet work. Enum lets callers know if you can receive VoIP calls, allowing them to make free calls over the internet.

Key milestones include:

1985: First registrations of .uk

1996: Nominet set up to manage the .uk domain name space, 26,000 registrations on the register

February 2000: One million registrations

May 2006: Five million registrations

Today: There are now more than 8.5 million .uk domain registrations.


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