Following our recent article on new gTLDs, Nominet has approved plans to offer a new form of ".uk" domain name address ("domain").
From the summer of 2014, shorter .uk domains (for example, ashfords.uk) will be available alongside the existing ".co.uk" and ".org.uk" domains. This is the biggest modification and expansion of the .uk namespace since it began in 1985.
There are over ten million existing uk domains (including .co.uk, .org.uk, .net.uk, .me.uk, .plc.uk, .ltd.uk and .sch.uk). The current registrants of those domains will be offered the corresponding ".uk" equivalent of their existing registration(s), before they are made generally available. Current registrants will be given a five year reservation period to decide whether to adopt the new ".uk" domain in addition to (or instead of) the domain(s) they have already registered.
A unique ".uk" domain (i.e. a domain name that that does not have an equivalent ".co.uk" or ".org.uk" etc registration) will be made available to registrants on a first-come, first served basis.
The five year reservation period will allow a business to pick an appropriate time to adopt the new domain to suit their business. For example, when the business changes its brand, signage or stationery, thus saving the business from incurring unnecessary expenditure.
More logically, businesses should register their new .uk domain immediately and operate the .uk domain as a landing page until such time as they decide that it should become the business' focal website address (if at all).
For domains where there is competition between existing registrants (e.g. where one registrant owns the .co.uk domain and another user owns the .org.uk address), the ".uk" domain will be offered to the .co.uk registrant.
The new ".uk" domain will be sold at the same price as current .co.uk domains (£3.50 for a single year registration and £2.50 per year for a multi-year registration).