Proposed changes to ‘.uk’ domain name registration periods

United Kingdom
On July 5 2011 Nominet, the registry for ‘.uk’ domain names, announced that it was considering the possible introduction of variable registration periods (VRPs) for domain names. The registration period for ‘.uk’ domain names is currently fixed at two years.
Further to a mounting number of requests to open up the registration period, Nominet's Policy Advisory Body decided that it would be advisable to consider the introduction of VRPs. The Policy Advisory Body then put forward its recommendations, which the Board approved, including that, subject to pricing principles being agreed, single and multi-year registrations could be introduced for ‘.uk’ domain name registrations.
Another factor to consider when deciding whether to introduce VRPs is how they work in other top-level domains. For example, in extensions such as ‘.com’, ‘.net’ and ‘.org’, a demand was noted for both shorter and longer domain name registration periods, with around 90% of registrations being for a one-year term, although there was also interest in longer registration periods by some registrants in order to increase the security of their registrations.
With the potential introduction of VRPs, a pricing structure would need to be considered in parallel to factor in not only the different time periods, but also the administration of a more complex domain name registration and renewal system.
Further to consideration of the abovementioned points and based on discussion with various stakeholders, Nominet has put forward a number of proposed potential options concerning the introduction of VRPs. Feedback received in relation to these proposals will be taken into consideration by Nominet when deciding whether to eventually make any changes to the registration system for ‘.uk’ domain names.
David Taylor and Sean Kelly, Hogan Lovells LLP, Paris

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