Dot rollout – hundreds of new domains hit the streets

By Nick Holmes on August 7, 2014
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Filed under Domain names

Reblogged from Legal Web Watch July/August 2014.

It's sobering to reflect that 20 years ago most businesses, even big businesses, didn't know the first thing about the nascent internet. McDonalds had not yet even registered McDonalds.com.

There followed a domain name land rush and, ever since, domain names have been big business, with choice dot coms in particular commanding high resale prices.

In the UK .co.uk has been the domain of first choice. But .com and .co.uk are no longer the only games in town.

Dot uk

As from 10 June, Nominet, who already administer the second level domains .co.uk, .org.uk etc, have been open for registrations of "shorter, sharper" top level .uk domain names (ie mydomain.uk rather than second level domains like mydomain.co.uk etc).

The rules for registration are largely the same as for existing .co.uk and .org.uk domains except that a physical address for service in the UK is required.

If you had at 10 June a .co.uk registration, the new .uk equivalent domain will have been reserved for you for free up until 10 June 2019 as long as your domain remains registered (failing a .co.uk, .org.uk, .me.uk, .net.uk, .plc.uk or .ltd.uk in order have the right of registration). You can check who has the right of registration to a particular .uk domain name using the Rights Lookup Tool.

Hundreds of new gTLDs

While .uk is an existing country code top level domain (ccTLD) which has now been brought into service for second level domain registrations by the general public, hundreds of brand new generic top level domains (gTLDs) have now also been delegated following an application process which saw registrars paying hundreds of thousands of pounds for the right to administer their chosen domains.

These new domains are coming into operation on a rolling program which started in February and is now mid-way through. There are generally two or more phases to the launches of each domain:

  • Those trade mark holders who enter their trade marks into ICANN’s Trademark Clearinghouse (TMCH) will always have first dibs
  • A priority period is available for qualified applicants, depending on the individual registrar's criteria
  • Registrations are then open to general availability, though qualifying criteria may still apply.

Many of the new domains reflect regions and cities:

The .london launch began on 29 April 2014 with a priority period which ended 31 July for, firstly, TMCH registrants and, second, other London-based businesses, organisations, and individuals. Following a pause whilst these priority applications are evaluated and registered, .london will open for general availability on 9 September when anyone will be able to register for any available .london domain name on a first-come, first-served basis.

.scot is being launched in three phases running from Pioneers (live) and priority registrations (open) through to general launch on 23 September. According to The Scotsman, the Glasgow-based not-for-profit outfit Dot Scot Registry (DSR) paid more than £300,000 for the licence for .scot. Demand has been so great that the firm believes it will be in profit within the first year and has promised to donate surplus money to new small businesses.

Launch dates are still awaited for .wales. And as for .eng, we're still at the campaign stage!

The full list of new domains ranges from from .abogado through .guru and .ninja to .zone. A handy site for browsing and reviewing the list is iwantmyname, though head over to ICANN for the official lowdown.

A couple that will be worth law firms' attention in particular are .llp and .partners. Stake your claims now!