Nominet, which runs one of the world’s largest internet registries and manages over nine million domain names, has proposed changing the rules of domain name registration for, and domains to ensure that each company is entitled to a unique domain name. The change is intended to also reduce the potential for abuse.


Under the current rules, any characters that cannot be represented in the Domain Name System (DNS), such as “&” or “@”, are ignored. This means that it is possible for more than one company to be entitled to the same domain name, as company names are sometimes differentiated only by the addition of characters such as an ampersand.


To resolve this, Nominet is proposing to amend the rules to align them with the procedure used by Companies House in order to determine if a proposed company name is the same as one already on the companies register. Under the proposals, any characters that cannot be used in the DNS would be converted to text rather than being deleted.


Whilst the proposal would indeed eliminate the problem of characters simply being deleted, it could well bring additional problems where companies differentiate themselves by using, for example, “&” instead of “and”. Converting “&” to “and” may therefore still lead to more than one company being entitled to the same domain name.