Shorter .uk web addresses to join .co.uk and fight malware

Domain name honcho Nominet proposes shorter domains ending in .uk instead of .co.uk, complete with extra security features.

British websites could be about to cut the co. The body in charge of web addresses here in Blighty proposes shorter domains ending in .uk instead of .co.uk -- for a price.

The scheme, known as direct.uk, is being tried out by British domain name wallahs Nominet, allowing British individuals or companies -- or anyone with interests here in Britain -- to specify their own URL with .uk on the end. CNET.uk, for example, or Samsung.uk, or whywontitstopraininginthe.uk.

Nominet is holding a three-month consultation on the .uk address. The new shorter Internet domain names would run alongside .co.uk, .org.uk, me.uk and other existing domains, but would cost more: about £20 per .uk address per year, as opposed to the current £5 fee every two years for a .co.uk address.

For the money, a company would also get extra security features such as daily scanning for malware, and DNSSEC digital signatures to prevent your site being hijacked by wrong'uns. When you visit a .uk site, you'll not only know it's safe from hijiacking and malware, but you can also be reassured it's a genuinely British website.

Meanwhile the cash raised is earmarked to go into an independent trust that will invest in improving Internet access and security.

The scheme is separate from plans for new top-level domain names across the whole Internet -- plans made by US body ICANN, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers.

ICANN wants you to have any letters you like after the dot, creating hundreds of other top-level domains -- and charging £15,000 for the privilege. Nearly 2,000 companies have applied for new addresses, including .McDonalds, .Amazon and .Apple. Generic names such as .football have been claimed by multiple applicants and will be dished out to the lucky winner by ICANN.

The first new addresses are expected to arrive online early next year. Maybe .London will be one of them?

Do you think new Internet addresses are good for business, or confusing for Internet users? Tell me your thoughts in the comments or on our Facebook page.

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