Who are Nominet?
Founded by five people in 1996, Nominet undertake the management of the .uk domains and registry. From .co.uk to .org.uk or ltd.co.uk, if you want a UK ccTLD then these are the guys! The organization was founded in May, 1996 after the 'Naming Committee' became unable to deal with the massive amount of people who wanted to register UK domains.
Although you have to pay to register for .uk domains, it is a non-profit company that is only limited by guarantee that you will have full access and command of any British domains that you register as .uk.
Who owns Nominet? Nominet is owned by the shareholders or members - who are mainly registrars and ISPs, but also law firms, company formation agents, the police, and specialist consultants. However, members are not able to access any of the profits that are earned by Nominet.
Since Nominet was one of the first ccTLD operators working on a professional basis, it quickly became the model for many other operators across the globe. One of the main differences between Nominet and its replica operators, is that those who want to purchase .uk domains do not do so by approaching Nominet directly, but instead can do so by using a registrar.
At the last public count in August of 2008, Nominet held the registration of over seven million dot UK domains, which ranked it as the fourth largest top level domain in the world. Outside of simply handling the claims for UK domain names, the company also deals with disputes that arise with a Dispute Resolution service (or DRS).
One particular innovative aspect of the dispute resolution service is that it is a free service designed with the intention of providing mediation to clients. It is able to do this based on its status as a non-profit organization.
Since Nominet is a non-profit organization that has enjoyed a surplus since 2003 it launched a foundation for charity known as the Nominet Trust. The trust is focused on looking for recipients of its donations, with the first payout made to a charity that promotes education and projects that will benefit those that use the Internet in the UK.
Soon Nominet will also operate the UK ENUM registry as well as the UK domain name registrations, which should also aid in building up a bigger surplus of available cash