Strict registration will prove sites are operating within UK and subject to trading laws
Nominet has proposed a change to the way websites are named that will give consumers a clear signal on which sites are truly based in the UK.
Plans for a new domain for UK-based websites will indicate that a site has offices and staff here, bringing them within the reach of consumer-protection laws. Nominet hopes this will boost confidence in online retail and services.
Nominet, which manages internet domains for the UK, has launched a consultation into a new '.uk' domain, which would sit alongside the current '.co.uk' domain. This would enable companies and people based in the UK to register shorter domain names such as www.computeractive.uk.
Unlike .co.uk addresses, which have very few registration restrictions, the new .uk addresses will be tightly regulated.
Anyone wishing to register a .uk web address will have to provide Nominet with a geographical UK service address so the registry can contact them. It is also proposing monitoring all .uk websites for malware and suspending infected websites.
Domain name registration company 123-reg said that .uk would give people more confidence when visiting a website.
Richard Winslow, head of domains at the company said: "For the normal internet user, it will help them identify that the site they are visiting is indeed a UK-based business, rather than a business from any country that purchased a .uk domain."
Winslow also said that the greater cost of .uk domain names should ensure that they are only registered for legitimate purposes.
Nominet has said that people and businesses wanted greater assurances when shopping online. It argued that .uk will create a "trusted online home" for British businesses.
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