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Shorter UK Domain Names On The Horizon

November 21, 2013

From sometime next year, UK registrants will be able to register shorter domain names under the nation's extension.

Currently, businesses registering a domain name for their enterprise have to run with .CO.UK and it's a similar story with other UK designations; but soon registrations under the second level, .UK, will be possible.

The new option could have caused a bunfight among current registrants and domain name speculators. However, the .UK option will be available on a first come, first served basis only with names that do not have an equivalent .CO.UK or .ORG.UK already registered.

Where either of those extensions are already registered, those parties will have 5 years to register their .UK equivalent. In a situation where the same name left of the suffix has been registered under .ORG.UK and .CO.UK by two different parties; the existing .CO.UK registrant will get first dibs.

Nominet, the .UK registry operator, intends announcing a definitive launch date for the shortened extension by February 2014. All existing name extensions will remain available after the rollout.

Nominet has been running the .UK registry since 1996 and also oversees the .wales and .cymru domains.

The .UK extension is one of the most popular ccTLD's (country code Top Level Domains) in the world. According to the most recent Verisign Domain Name Industry Brief, .UK ranks no. 3 (the .AU ccTLD is currently ranking at number 9).

Another country that recently announced a similar shortening is New Zealand. InternetNZ  has approved a proposal to allow second level .NZ names to be registered. Who will be first past the post between .NZ and .UK remains to be seen - a final policy implementing the .NZ proposal will first be subject to public consultation next year.

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