Publishers in the UK are readying themselves for a 50% rise in the cost of and .uk domains following an announcement from Nominet, the official registry for UK websites.

A decision to increase the annual fee of £2.50 to £3.75 has been met with criticism, not only due to Nominet’s status as a non-profit organisation but because of a change in its terms which will allow any future hikes to pass without approval from members. 

But some of Nominet’s partners have already leapt to its defence, claiming the rise to be reflective of recent changes in the domain space.

A statement from domain registration service 123-reg says: “It is important to remember that domains are international. While it is down to local discretion to regulate domains, in a globalised world, it would be a mistake not to align pricing and offerings with global standards.”

“Nominet is making changes to its offerings to be on par with international registries – a move that will ultimately provide more support and promotions for registrars and, in turn, their customers.”    

User impact

The changes, set to come into effect in March next year, will mark the first time that the annual charge for .uk domains, which includes, and addresses, has been altered since 1999.

Effectively, a company looking to sell a domain to another company would face having to pay £9 for two years’ of registration as opposed to £6, once VAT is included. This of course may have an impact on the price charged to the end user.

Touching on the impact for people that want to set up their own websites, Nominet CEO Russell Haworth highlights that retail prices for domains are set by individual registrars. 

“We’re committed to running a first class service for .uk registrants, including our renowned customer service, and we’re doing more than ever before to ensure the .uk space is a safe and trusted home for all. But costs have risen considerably since we last changed the price, and we need to compete in a promotion-driven industry,” he added.

For and against

Elsewhere it’s claimed that users will gain additional benefits for parting with a small amount extra each year.

“The price change is small when put in perspective but there will be strong benefits created with the additional funds,” states 123-reg. 

“Realistically, the increase amounts to approximately the same as buying a cup of takeaway coffee, once a year. But the change will allow registrars to invest in increasing security layers to protect businesses and individuals and provide additional services.”

Despite this, a petition has already been set up to argue against something which could increase “again next year, and year on year” considering Haworth’s intention to review progress on an annual basis. 

The group says that an “unilateral price increase like this” is down to Nominet removing the Hutty Clause’ Article 19A in 2010, which would have meant that 75% of Nominet members had to vote in favour of a price change.