Due to the ongoing release of new gTLDs (generic top-level domains), we've been keeping our clients and blog readers up-to-date with the most recent and relevant domain developments. Today brings an exciting opportunity for UK-based businesses, with the release of the new first-level .uk domain extension.
From today, shorter .uk domains (e.g. yourdomain.uk) will become available for purchase via Nominet. There are over 10 million existing UK domains, most commonly found with the TLDs .co.uk, .org.uk, .ltd.uk, .me.uk, .plc.uk and .sch.uk. If your business operates online with one of these, you may be wondering how you will be affected.
What happens on 10th June?
Don't panic, the launch of the new .uk domain service does not alter any existing domains - these will continue to function as normal. Domain holders will have the added opportunity to purchase the shorter .uk version of their existing domain.
For the majority of .co.uk, .org.uk, .me.uk, .ltd.uk and .plc.uk domain owners, the equivalent .uk domain name will be automatically reserved for you. This domain will remain reserved until 10 June 2019, providing that the domain remains registered. After this five-year period, the .uk domain will become publicly available for purchase by someone else. Alternatively, if businesses decide that they do not want the .uk extension, they can notify Nominet and the domain will be listed for another individual or brand to invest in.
If there is an instance where there is more than one UK domain extension associated with a domain name - such as, yourdomain.co.uk and yourdomain.net.uk - Nominet has set up the rights look up tool, to allow brands to check which party has the right to automatically register for the new .uk domain.
Why choose .uk?
When you consider that the UK boasts the second most popular country code top-level domain (ccTLD), it's clear that this is a considerable change for the UK namespace. The popularity of short extensions have been demonstrated by other countries, most notably within Europe where Spain (.es), France (.fr) and Germany (.de) are just some working examples of the shorter domain in action.
Reasons for choosing .uk include:
- 81% of British internet users preferred .uk over .com. and .uk when searching or buying online.
- Short and memorable domain name.
- Offers a greater choice when choosing a domain.
- Protects your brand and business.
- Reinforces your UK presence.
- Opportunity for businesses to purchase a domain they may have missed out on previously.
- Allows businesses to expand their domain portfolio.
Of the release of the new .uk domain extension, Nominet say,
.uk focuses the attention firmly on your website name - exactly where it should be... it provides a new space for you to create your online identity, build your online business or launch your online community in the ever-changing digital world."
Due to the auto-reserve system, the new .uk name spaces are likely to be snapped up quickly. To find out more about how a .uk domain can benefit your business, visit Nominet's dedicated .uk site.