UK businesses could start using a shorter .uk web address from summer 2014 after Nominet unveiled the new domain space. This will mean addresses could appear as V3.uk, rather than V3.co.uk, for example.
Nominet said the new domains will be available on a first-come, first-served basis from launch, but existing .co.uk domain owners will be offered a five-year holding period during which they can decide if they want to purchase the .uk version of their domain.
The cost will be £3.50 per year for a single domain or £2.50 per domain for multiple registrations. The existing .co.uk and .org.uk web suffixes will continue to exist as normal, Nominet confirmed.
The chief executive of Nominet Lesley Cowley told V3 the decision was made after feedback from the industry showed many businesses wanted a .uk domain.
“We’ve been out of kilter with the rest of the world for quite some time so having a shorter, snappier domain will fix this,” she said.
Cowley added that with the five-year grace period for the new domain offered to existing .co.uk owners, firms had plenty of time to consider how they would rebrand under the new domain, if required.
“People said it was fairer if those with the .co.uk domains had first dibs, and you have five years to ponder if you want it as we didn’t want to force people into any rebranding.”
The move comes amid a much wider shake-up of the domain space with .london now up for grabs and set to launch in summer 2014, as part of a huge release of around 1,000 new bespoke domains being overseen by the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (Icann).
With .uk now due to be available as well, Cowley urged firms to consider how they will represent themselves online in the future.
“It’s good for businesses to think about their online presence and ensure it is memorable for customers so you can be found easily on the web. With the range of choice that is going to be on the cards next year we would encourage people to think carefully about this,” she added.
This is one of several domain-related activities to hit the headlines in recent weeks, with Yahoo putting a raft of high-profile domains up for sale, such as sandwich.com, after it discovered it still owned them.
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