Nominet announces the introduction of second level .uk domain names

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Nominet announces second level .uk domain names

Nominet has recently announced that they will be going ahead with the introduction of the second level .uk domain names – so for example havenswift-hosting.uk will be available – this is expected to happen during the Summer of 2014 and the pricing for these domains will be the same as for all other .uk domain available through Nominet.

How does this affect existing .uk domains and .uk domain holders

All existing .uk domains will continue to run as normal with no changes at all.   Current holders of any type of other .uk domain (such as .co.uk, org.uk etc) will have the equivalent .uk domain reserved for them for five years from the date of release and can register that domain instead of or as well as the same .uk domain during that time.  There are a few rules to be aware of with regard to who will have the .uk domain reserved for them

  1. All domains that were registered on the 28th October 2013 where there was no other corresponding third level domain registered. So for example havenswift-hosting.co.uk was registered on that date and there were no registrations for other .uk domains such as havenswift-hosting.org.uk or havenswift-hosting.ltd.uk
  2. Where there are two or more domains with the same string:
    • the registered owner of the .co.uk will be offered the .uk equivalent, and
    • where there is no .co.uk, the registered owner of the .org.uk will be offered the .uk equivalent.
  3. All .co.uk domains registered after 28th October 2013 and before the new domains are launched (as long as there is no ‘clash’ with any domains meeting the criteria above).

Nominet say that from their records, over 96% of all registered domains will have the equivalent .uk domain reserved for the registered owner.  For the remaining less than 4% of domains where two or more people own different suffixes, then the owner of the .co.uk will be given priority.

Why are Nominet creating the second level .uk domain

Nominet has undertaken extensive consultation from current registrars, current domain owners and also consumers and report that a large majority in each category thought it was a good idea.  There have been a few, very vocal, disagreements that this is the right thing to do, mainly based around the argument that businesses are going to feel that they have to purchase the new domain in addition to their current domain in order to protect their online identity.  While that argument may turn out to be true, and Nominet did extensive research around this very question, unless you own and actively use, and therefore want to protect, a very large number of domains, the additional cost per year is minimal.  Another argument against this is that Nominet and the larger domain registration companies are going to benefit extensively from the new business.

The main supporting arguments for going ahead with this are that there are already a number of second level domains (both generic and country specific) and that the UK should offer the same, and especially with the upcoming release of hundreds of new TLD’s (the first of which have now been released), consumers are already going to have a very large choice of new domain name extensions.

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There Are 7 Comments

Peter Steer on 10 Dec, 2013

I’m definitely in the camp that believes this is a cynical revenue generating move by Nominet. What benefit is there to existing domain owners, who are now faced with the choice of paying for another domain or leaving them exposed to a potential threat to their brand ownership?
Scamming is not the sole reserve of criminals these days.

Havenswift Hosting on 10 Dec, 2013

While we dont think there is any disagreement that revenue for Nominet will go up as a result of this, they have said that it isnt a driving factor for them. One other accusation that has been levelled is that much of the pressure for new domain extensions (not just the .uk one from Nominet but all of the new TLDs) is actually coming from the larger registration companies who have far more to gain from these being introduced.

In a direct quote Nominet have said :

“While we must be a sustainable business in order support and invest in the .uk namespace, we are achieving this already and potential revenue is not the driver for the decision to introduce second level domains.”

Nominet is a not-for-profit distribution organisation with a public purpose agenda.

Nominet also explored the concerns that businesses would feel compelled to buy the .uk equivalent of their .co.uk website in order to prevent anyone else from having it – ‘defensive registration’ – They said that this was something that “we take seriously and we explored the intentions of a sample of our customers to help us consider this further.”

38% said they are not likely to register .uk.
16% said they would register the .uk, drop their current primary domain and transition to the .uk within a year (3% say they’d do this over a longer timeframe)
20% said they would add the .uk to their repertoire, and transition to it as their primary domain within a year (10% would do this over a longer timeframe)
12% said they plan to register, add .uk to their repertoire, but wouldn’t use it

Nominet have published extensive consultation documentation feedback received on their website.

Iona Manley on 10 Dec, 2013

So Nominet will reserve .uk for us for 5 years and before time’s up, we should buy it?
Are nominet going to remind us to do this, or do we need to make a note?
What are the benefits of transferring to .uk as a primary domain – is it seen as “better” in some way?
I don’t really get “the need” for new domain name extensions. If the “company name” has gone, the consumer would need to think of a new unique company name (to end with .co.uk – or whatever extension.)
All this does for small businesses online is raise their annual outlay! We once had most available extensions for our business but this prooved a costly exercise. It all adds up! Someone consequently bought our .com extension and now wants thousands for it (cybersitting?) – Something we’d be forced to consider if our business grows well.
If there weren’t all the different extensions to worry about “securing” – (to secure your online brand) – the additional funds could be far better spent getting there in the first place!
That’s my take – but I have an impending feeling!!!

Iona Manley on 10 Dec, 2013

That picture is not me btw! He’s Steve!

Havenswift Hosting on 10 Dec, 2013

Hi Iona

There is no requirement to buy the equivalent .uk domain and each registered owner of a current .co.uk needs to make the decision themselves whether it makes business sense to register the equivalent .uk domain within the five year period which will be starting sometime Summer 2014. It is a relatively small cost on a yearly basis in comparison to other on going costs but many people do see it as an unnecessary additional cost which they are being forced into

There is no information yet whether Nominet will be sending reminders towards the end of the five year period although they have promised comprehensive communication directly and through registrars like ourselves.

According to research that Nominet have published, it seems to indicate that people prefer the .uk domain as it is shorter although we dont see that as specifically being better. There are no apparent benefits from an SEO basis so we believe that many people will simply purchase the .uk domain to protect their online identity and not bother to change which domain extension they use.

With over a thousand new domain extensions being released over the next few years, the whole domain market is changing. However, many of these are very specific (ie .hotel .pub .plumber etc) and not likely to cause the same potential confusion as two different sites running on a .co.uk and a .uk domain url.

Iona Manley on 15 Dec, 2013

Its not just the new .uk domain, its all the other possibilities also! Someone can easily nick your online presence purely down to nominet et al, wanting to make more money.
I don’t think its very fair that the internet companies allow a company name to be hijacked in this way – whether its .com, .co.uk, .uk, .pub, .pubquiz (probably coming soon!) – and so on.
It’s like we have to out smart all the time, bat them away by getting there first, when we should all be allowed to concentrate on our businesses, safe in the knowlege our business name is taken and therefore secured.

Havenswift Hosting on 15 Dec, 2013

It is obviously possible to register a worldwide trademark which goes a long way to protecting your rights but this along with registering multiple domains or protecting those rights through court or litigation is huge and the reserve of large companies. There are no simple answers but it is impossible to not allow registrations by others as you would like for a number of reasons.

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