Just as the internet begins to face the introduction of “generic top-level domains”, Nominet, the UK domain name registry, has announced a proposal to introduce a new service, known as direct.uk. Targeted at businesses, it will focus on increased security, including verification of registration addresses, monitoring for malicious sites and digital signatures to reduce the risk of the site being hijacked. The domains would be identified with a ‘.uk’ suffix (as opposed to ‘.co.uk’).

Should the new service go ahead, it will be important for businesses and owners of domain names with other suffixes to consider registering for the ‘.uk’ equivalent as well. The proposal is for a phased release, giving owners of registered trade marks priority, followed by holders of unregistered trade marks, before the service is opened up to all.

While some have suggested that priority should also be given to registrants of the equivalent ‘.co.uk’ domains, this is not currently within the Nominet proposal. It remains to be seen whether it will be incorporated before launch.

Nominet is currently seeking feedback on its proposals; the consultation ends on 7 January 2013. If they go ahead with the service, it is likely that domain registrations will begin towards the end of 2013.