London businesses have been warned they have just one week left of priority registration for the new .london web suffix, ahead of its wider launch on Thursday.
London & Partners reported an influx of applications for the .london domain names ahead of the end of the "priority period" for local brands this week.
The .london domain initially went on sale in April from numerous registrars including GoDaddy, Fasthosts, 1&1, and 123-reg. During the first three months London-based organisations were given priority status over general applicants. This is now ending.
The new domain names are designed to let organisations tailor their online offering to a more specific set of clients. For example, it will let institutions such as museums or local restaurants mount specific, targeted advertising campaigns or market more detailed region-specific deals.
London & Partners said the launch has been successful and numerous big-name city brands and organisations including The Landmark London hotel, Royal College of Art, ZSL London Zoo, Fortnum & Mason, the London Symphony Orchestra and Metro Bank have applied for .london addresses.
The firm said it has also seen high interest in terms connected with the housing and entertainment markets. It reported receieving 30 applications for the properties.london address and over 40 for nightlife.london.
Senior associate at international law firm Taylor Wessing, Louise Popple, argued that, while early adoption figures are positive, once the grace period for local businesses ends the .london rollout could be abused by web domain squatters.
"The launch of Dot London is an exciting opportunity for anyone with a connection to the city. Going forward, it should be possible to search just amongst .london websites, which – in the crowded internet space – will be a significant bonus for London businesses.
"But it does open up the possibility of abuse. Brand owners with a strong London connection would be wise to register their brand as a .london domain, even if only to avoid the risk of cyber squatters. Registering domains tends to be much cheaper than fighting to recover them."
The mayor of London Boris Johnson urged local businesses to take advantage of the remaining priority period and adopt .london address as soon as possible.
"London is the best place in the world to come and live, work and relax so it's no surprise that's reflected in the most popular new .london web addresses. Until Thursday we are putting Londoners at the front of the queue for new domain names so I would urge everyone in the capital who wants one to come forward to grab the opportunity."
The .london domain is one of many web suffixes launched this year. Nominet launched the .uk domain in June. The .uk addresses proved a hit with businesses and Nominet reported receiving applications from more than 50,000 firms within 24 hours of launch.
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