Nominet, the UK's top-level domain name registry, has decided to scrap its plans to go forward with a new service offering a “secure” .uk domain.
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The registry was planning to offer the secure .uk domain at around four times the cost of domains with the existing suffixes .co.uk and .org.uk.
In a blog post, Nominet stated that while shorter domain names were considered desirable, they may confuse consumers.
Feedback from a board meeting stated that respondents welcomed the idea to make .uk sites more secure and harder to hack, but many disagreed with the proposed approach, suggesting that standards should be raised across the whole of the namespace.
One proposal to make sites more secure was by making them Domain Name System Security Extensions (DNSSEC) signed. This idea was supported, but including “trust mark” stamps to indicate security levels of sites was not.
The news comes just several weeks after digital rights campaigners, businesses and charities criticised the plans. They said Nominet's plans would give it a monopoly over trust and security in the UK domain space.
The Open Rights Group (ORG) and a coalition of children’s charities said there were a number of problems with Nominet proposals.
"This would be something of a commercial coup for Nominet and registrars. They would be the primary winners from the proposals,” the ORG said in a statement.
The walled-garden approach would inevitably undermine other domains, such as .co.uk, and could undermine the market for online security services, it said.
Nominet stated in its blog post that it would "explore whether it is possible to present a revised proposal that meets the principles of increasing trust and security and maintaining the relevance of the .uk proposition in a changing landscape," with progress to be reviewed in June 2013.