UK internet registry operator Nominet has promised to listen to feedback on its proposed plan to revamp the distribution of expiring .uk domains, but refused to accept a petition that called for the first-come, first-serve policy to be retained for expiring domains.
The petition, signed by over 100 member organisations, was put forward during an online meeting between Nominet's staff and members earlier this month.
According to The Register, Nominet's general counsel Nick Wenban-Smith refused to accept the petition from an opposing group, saying there was already a formal mechanism in place for member organisations to respond to the consultation.
The petition's main organiser, Andrew Bennett, told The Register that he subsequently notified the chairman of the Nominet's board about the petition.
Bennett was promised that the the board would "take note of" the petition.
The contentious issue emerged last month, after Nominet opened a new policy consultation on expiring domains. It stated at the time that it wants to introduce a more transparent process for notifying registrars and the wider public when an expired domain name is available for re-registration.
Nominet also said that it is considering different methods for releasing highly desirable expired domains that are sought by multiple parties.
The consultation asked member organisations to submit their input on two areas:
- Whether domains should be made available for re-registration throughout the day at a specific point in time, based on the time stamp for the original registration, or be released at specified single point in time
- Whether to alter the way in which hotly contested domains are released. Nominet suggested that two viable methods could be registry auctions or economically controlled access to expiring domains
However, many member organisations criticised Nominet's plan, with some saying that a decision had already been made. It was also said that Nominet wants to run the auction process so that it could keep millions of pounds earned through auctions.
In a blog post, Eleanor Bradley, Nominet's COO, later tried to explain the organisation's proposed new process:
"Nominet has run the registry of the .UK Domain for over twenty years, but things can't stand still. By making changes when necessary, we ensure that .UK remains competitive and both trusted and popular with businesses and consumers when choosing where to make their home online.
"We have heard from those who feel strongly that it is not Nominet's business to run auctions and pay-to-play is preferred or the status quo should remain. We've also heard from registrars in the secondary market in favour of a form of auction on the basis that this will let them decide the value they are willing to pay for a domain name rather than the price being set by another dropcatcher," she added.
"We have also heard ideas for alternative approaches. All the feedback received will feed into our decision on the ultimate approach.
"In the end, I know our ultimate decisions are unlikely to satisfy everyone. But I am confident that by inviting as many inputs to our thinking as possible to inform how we evolve the .UK Domain will ensure it continues to best serve those who rely on it."
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