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Becoming a Nominet Member and Tag Holder
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Nominet UK is governed in accordance with a set of rules, called Articles of Association, that were agreed at the time that the company was incorporated in 1996. (For further details see http://www.nominet.org.uk/nominet/arts.html).

Nominet is a not-for-profit company, and it is limited by guarantee. As a result, the company does not have shareholders, but instead is made up of a constituency of members (called the Steering Committee) who are given voting rights and have a degree of control over the way the company is run.

It also has a Council of Management (CoM) that is the equivalent of a Board of Directors. The CoM is responsible for making strategic and policy decisions and for the actions of the company. The CoM is made up of two executive directors, and four non-executive directors who are elected on a bi-annual basis by members of the Steering Committee.

Membership Policy

Nominet encourages all Internet users to register Domain Names through its members, but does not recommend one member over another. Any direct enquiry that is received for a Domain Name registration is referred to the list of members that is found at http://www.nominet.org.uk/members.html.

Anyone with an interest in the Internet may become a member of Nominet UK by paying an initial joining fee and an annual subscription charge. The most active members are Internet Service Providers (ISPs), although members include local councils, marketing companies and intellectual property lawyers.

Members receive a quarterly newsletter, the option to subscribe to on-line discussion groups and are also eligible to receive a discounted rate for Domain Name registrations (by becoming a Tag Holder).

The views of members are given careful consideration by the management of the company. A Policy Advisory Board (PAB), consisting of eight elected members of the Steering Committee, two members of the CoM and five appointed external organisations, was set up in 1999. The role of the PAB is to make recommendations to the CoM; it aims to harness the voice of the membership and have a direct input into policy formulation.

Reduced Registration Fee

It is important to note that Nominet members do not automatically benefit from a discounted price for Domain Name registrations. In order to receive the discounted rate members must also apply for a 'Tag' and their own credit account with Nominet.

Tag Holders are able to process Domain Name applications through Nominet's automated registration system (called the Automaton). They are given a unique Pretty Good Privacy (PGP) Key which acts like a PIN number on a credit card: it allows the automated system to identify who the Tag Holder is, and grants them permission to proceed with an application.

Only Tag Holders (and not members without a Tag) are entitled to use the Automaton: it involves a minimal level of human intervention and means that Domain Names can be registered in a matter of seconds.

Applying to become a Tag Holder

In order to become a Tag Holder, a completed Tag application form must be submitted to Nominet together with trade references and bank details. Once the references have been verified Nominet will issue a covering letter confirming the details of the Tag, along with a formal contract that must be signed and returned by the authorised signatory.

Once the above process is completed, the applicant will then be referred to Nominet's customer support department in order to set up their PGP Key. When this has been activated, the Tag Holder can then start to process Domain Name applications through the Automaton.

Registering a Domain Name through the Automaton

When a Tag Holder makes an automated request for a Domain Name registration they have to send an e-mail message to the Automaton. The Tag Holder is verified by their PGP Key that is used to sign the application. The Automaton is then able to process the Domain Name registration automatically and the corresponding charge is sent to the Tag Holders Account.

Tag Holders are also able to use the Automaton to cancel Domain Name registrations, for example those that have been made in error, as long as the Domain Name has not been paid for. If the Domain Name registration has been paid, Nominet requires the written authority of the Registrant in order to cancel the Domain Name. Importantly, no credit will be issued for paid Domain Name cancellations.

What happens after registration?

Tag Holders are sent a consolidated invoice at the end of every month covering the registrations that have been processed by the Automaton. Tag Holders who are members of Nominet are charged a reduced registration fee (for the current fee levels, see http://www.nominet.org.uk/fees.html). In some instances, Tag Holders request that invoices are sent directly to their customers. In this case, Nominet will charge the full fee for the Domain Name registration to the customer and the discounted rate does not apply.

Finally, it must be borne in mind that each Domain Name registration involves entering into a legal contract. When registering a Domain Name on behalf of a customer, Tag Holders are acting as their customer's Agent and are binding them to Nominet's Terms and Conditions. Tag Holders have a legal responsibility to make their customer aware of Nominet's Terms and Conditions.


Membership of Nominet UK is growing rapidly as an increasing number of organisations are taking advantage of the explosion in Internet use. However, in order to benefit from reduced registration fees members must become Tag Holders of the company.

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