British businesses may gain the option of registering straight .uk web addresses as well as .co.uk addresses, under proposals made by the country's domain name registry, Nominet.
Nominet opened a consultation into its 'direct.uk' proposals on Monday, saying the new scheme would allow for shorter addresses — these would be so-called second-level domains (SLDs), equivalent to the '.co' in '.co.uk'. The registry also said the new addresses would come with extra security features such as malware scanning.
"We want to provide a really safe and secure place for British businesses to work online," Nominet operations chief Eleanor Bradley said in an introductory video. "[Direct.uk] would come with a series of features that we think would add to that safety and security."
Some of the security features already come with .co.uk addresses, such as DNSSEC, which works against URL spoofing. Registrants for .uk addresses would also need to prove that they are based in the UK, although Nominet has held back from spelling out what kind of evidence would be needed.
The new addresses would be more expensive than .co.uk addresses, which have a wholesale price of £5 per two years. The plain .uk addresses would have a wholesale price of "sub £20 per year", Nominet said, with registrars free to add whatever markup they wish.
According to Bradley, the opening up of the new addresses would provide "an opportunity for all the new businesses coming online to have a suitable domain name that accurately reflects their businesses".
The consultation will run until 7 January.