Fasthosts finally promises to stop pushing unwanted .uk domains onto irritated customers

Six years of No gets heard - but only because of legal jeopardy

UK domain registrar Fasthosts has finally promised to stop pushing unwanted .uk domains onto its customers, six years after the scheme was first launched.

In an email to long-suffering registrants this week, the registrar attempted to make light of its years of emails on the .uk equivalent to their internet addresses by acknowledging “we’re going to accept that fact that you just don’t want it.”

Clouds hang over map of the uk

With a million unwanted .uk domains expiring this week, Nominet again sends punters pushy emails to pay up


“From the 7th of September we won’t email you ever again about making it yours,” the registrar promised before making one last-ditch effort to get people to basically pay double for the same name:

“BUT if you do have a last-minute change of heart and want to keep it, just email us at or call our domain team. It’ll be all yours and we’ll stop banging on about Rights of Registration - forever."

The .uk domains were launched in June 2014 by registry operator Nominet, despite people questioning why they were needed at all. In order to push the policy through, Nominet agreed to a five-year period where existing domain owners had the rights to register their .uk namesake.

The right to register expired last year, but so convinced were some registrars that people would suddenly see the light (or be fooled by ambiguous emails implying that their real domain was about to expire), that some companies registered the domains on behalf of their customers for an additional year past that time. And then hounded customers with emails to try to get the sale.

Just... one... more... year...

When they finally, finally expired, operator Nominet then joined in, sending more renewal notices to customers, even though the company remains fully aware that in nearly all cases none of those customers had ever asked for, or even wanted, the name in question. It had been added to their account without their permission or knowledge.

But, six years later, registrars are now not only having to pay to renew names but are on shaky legal ground. Up until now they had chosen to interpret Nominet’s rules in a way that allowed them to keep registering .uk namesake domains and bugging the holders to buy them.

And Nominet repeatedly turned a blind eye: no doubt the £4 for each domain registered factored into its approach. But there is now no legal backup for the shady practice, and so registrars have no choice but to let the potentially valuable domains go.

In the meantime, and never missing an opportunity to suck money out of the .uk registry for its own dubious forays into commercial markets, in July, Nominet then attempted to take over the expiration market, worth millions of pounds a year, before it was beaten back by incensed members.

Public benefit?

Incidentally, Reg reader Carl Heaton has kindly shared some graphs he produced comparing Nominet’s remuneration to itself compared with the money that it has given to public benefit over the years: Nominet remains, despite all appearances, a non-profit, public-benefit member organisation by law.

But back to Fasthosts, which has long played loose and fast with the rules. “We finally got the message,” the email from Fasthosts to customers this week started. “After two years of nurturing [] We’re going to accept that fact that you just don’t want it."

If Fasthosts was an ex-boyfriend, it would have had a restraining order taken out against it years ago, in this hack's opinion.

Special thanks to Reg reader Chris Willoughby for the tip.®

Other stories you might like

  • Experts: AI should be recognized as inventors in patent law
    Plus: Police release deepfake of murdered teen in cold case, and more

    In-brief Governments around the world should pass intellectual property laws that grant rights to AI systems, two academics at the University of New South Wales in Australia argued.

    Alexandra George, and Toby Walsh, professors of law and AI, respectively, believe failing to recognize machines as inventors could have long-lasting impacts on economies and societies. 

    "If courts and governments decide that AI-made inventions cannot be patented, the implications could be huge," they wrote in a comment article published in Nature. "Funders and businesses would be less incentivized to pursue useful research using AI inventors when a return on their investment could be limited. Society could miss out on the development of worthwhile and life-saving inventions."

    Continue reading
  • Declassified and released: More secret files on US govt's emergency doomsday powers
    Nuke incoming? Quick break out the plans for rationing, censorship, property seizures, and more

    More papers describing the orders and messages the US President can issue in the event of apocalyptic crises, such as a devastating nuclear attack, have been declassified and released for all to see.

    These government files are part of a larger collection of records that discuss the nature, reach, and use of secret Presidential Emergency Action Documents: these are executive orders, announcements, and statements to Congress that are all ready to sign and send out as soon as a doomsday scenario occurs. PEADs are supposed to give America's commander-in-chief immediate extraordinary powers to overcome extraordinary events.

    PEADs have never been declassified or revealed before. They remain hush-hush, and their exact details are not publicly known.

    Continue reading
  • Stolen university credentials up for sale by Russian crooks, FBI warns
    Forget dark-web souks, thousands of these are already being traded on public bazaars

    Russian crooks are selling network credentials and virtual private network access for a "multitude" of US universities and colleges on criminal marketplaces, according to the FBI.

    According to a warning issued on Thursday, these stolen credentials sell for thousands of dollars on both dark web and public internet forums, and could lead to subsequent cyberattacks against individual employees or the schools themselves.

    "The exposure of usernames and passwords can lead to brute force credential stuffing computer network attacks, whereby attackers attempt logins across various internet sites or exploit them for subsequent cyber attacks as criminal actors take advantage of users recycling the same credentials across multiple accounts, internet sites, and services," the Feds' alert [PDF] said.

    Continue reading

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2022