Registry Services - Frequently Asked Questions

The domain name system (DNS) helps users find their way around the internet. Every computer has a unique IP address which is a long string of numbers, hard to remember. DNS allows strings of letters to be used instead; much easier to navigate and much more memorable e.g. www.nominet.uk

A domain name registry manages top-level domain names. They create domain extensions, set the rules for that domain and work with registrars to sell domain names to businesses and consumers. Nominet is the internet registry for the UK Domain Family such as .co.uk, .uk and .org.uk and other gTLDs including .pharmacy, .bentley and .wales.

You can become your own registry by securing your own TLD.

A domain name registrar is a commercial organisation which manages domain name registrations and sells domain names to end users. A registrar must be accredited by ICANN to sell generic TLDs like .com or .net.

A registrar will often offer additional services needed to run a website such as hosting, email and support.

A TLD is simply the name for letters to the right of the dot in your website or email address. There are two main types of TLDs.

Country Code Top Level Domain (ccTLD) – these are only used for a country, sovereign state, or dependent territory such as .uk, .de or .ca.

Generic Top Level Domain (gTLD) – more general purpose, there are a number of types:

  • A gTLD is either a dictionary word or abbreviation of three or more distinct characters, the most common of these are .com or .net
  • DotBrand gTLDs, where brands or companies own their own gTLD, e.g. .bentley, .bbc, .bradesco , .gucci, .barclays
  • Geographic gTLDs aimed at serving different regions, e.g. .london, .bayern, .wales, .paris
  • Professional gTLDs, catering for different professions, e.g. .marketing, .lawyer, .accountant, .photography

The application process is managed by the Internet Corporation of Names and Numbers (ICANN), the non-profit corporation responsible for controlling the gTLD namespace. As a private-public partnership, ICANN is dedicated to preserving the operational stability of the internet; to promoting competition, achieving broad representation of global Internet communities and developing policy.

The new application window is likely to open in 2021, however the final details have not yet been released. At some point before then we will find out if a limit is to be applied. During round one there was no limit to the number of TLDs an organisation could apply for, however an application fee was levied for each submission.

The leading organisations with TLDs ready to use as of 2 August 2016 are Amazon and Google, closely followed by brand protection agencies who will often submit applications on behalf of clients.

In 2012 Nominet directly applied for 2 TLDs: .wales and .cyrmu. We also provided application support for several clients who applied for TLDs including .bentley, .bbc and .comcast.

Other round one applicants include: Microsoft, Kerry Trading Co., L’Oreal, Jaguar Land Rover, Johnson & Johnson, the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China and the Commonwealth Bank of Australia.

A registry service provider is an operator that helps registry owners manage their TLDs. They offer the infrastructure necessary to make sure the TLD stays online and can help with customer queries.

When applying for a new TLD it is essential to appoint a registry service provider to help with the technical part of the application. Nominet falls into this category and offers these services to a variety of different extensions, including .comcast, .bbc, .bentley.

The new application window is likely to open in 2021 so final details have not yet been released, including the pricing structure. As soon as this information is released we will publish it. You can also sign up to our email service to make sure you receive the latest TLD news quickly.

Although the new application window is likely to open in 2021, it’s worth thinking about your internal processes now, whether that’s considering your market sizing for new generic or geo opportunities, or thinking about how your new .brand TLD will be used.

We would be happy to talk you through the securing of a new domain extension and how it will be beneficial for your business.

More information can be found on the ICANN website and we will also publish articles as information is released.

Brand TLDs enable you to have your own dedicated online space for your brand(s) or company name; simply apply to use your brand to the right of the dot. Many organisations are already doing this and you can too. Make sure your customers’ focus is on your brand.

Owning the legal rights to your brand name might not be enough to claim your TLD. For example, if your desired TLD is also a surname or generic word others could put in a claim. For example, one reason Philips might have applied for its dot brand name could be to prevent it going to claims from individuals with the ‘Philips’ surname.

By submitting an application, all claims for your chosen TLD will be considered.

No, this is not possible as ICANN does not accept reservations or pre-registrations based on trademarks.

There are no plans for ICANN to introduce a notification system, however a list of applications received will be published by ICANN after the submission period closes.

A generic TLD is simply a dictionary word or abbreviation of three or more distinct characters. Generic TLDs have been classed as such for historical reasons, to distinguish them from country specific TLDs such as .uk or .de.

There are specific technical rules which apply to all proposed gTLD strings, for example, an application for a string composed entirely of numbers would be rejected. Applicants for a gTLD that is a geographic name must also meet additional requirements. See the section on Geographics.

Currently there is no process for reservations or pre-applications and there is unlikely to be one. ICANN, the non-profit corporation responsible for generic TLD applications, does not endorse third party organisations to do this. Be aware of organisations who claim they can.

A geo domain extension is a form of generic domain tied to a geographical region; examples include .miami, .wales and .bayern. This is different from the traditional country codes such as .uk, .de, .ca which are the two-letter identifiers reserved for countries, sovereign states, or dependent territories.

Any public or private organisation can apply for a geographical TLD, however they are likely to need the backing of the governments or public authorities in the area for the application to be authorised.

During the first round of applications there were some specific rules identified when applying for a geographical generic name. ICANN ensured appropriate consideration was given to the interests of governments or public authorities in that place. Applications for country names and country codes (as per ISO 3166-1 standards) have not formed part of the generic TLD process to date.

However, the following are considered with support or non-objection from the relevant governments or public authorities:

  • Capital cities
  • City names
  • Subnational place names
  • UNESCO regions
  • Cost reduction
  • Proven systems
  • Peace of mind
  • Efficiency improvements

Registered domains will experience no downtime. We will work with you on a detailed transition plan tailored to your needs. Any registry system downtime will be agreed and communicated to your channel in advance.

We run the UK Domain and successfully launched .uk. We have 25 years’ experience running one of the world’s largest domain name registries.

In the largest industry transition, Nominet moved 26 TLDs to its systems in a phased, meticulous fashion.