Nominet has officially made shorter .UK domains available on Tuesday, celebrating the launch with a 10,000 square foot sign at London Heathrow Airport that reads ‘welcometothe.uk.’
Among the first registrants to opt for a .uk domain is British comedian Stephen Fry, who switched from a .com to a .uk.
“It’s only three harmless key-presses, you may think. A year or so back I wrote that it seemed to me annoying and lax of the British internet authority (if such a body ever existed, which it didn’t and doesn’t) when domain names were being handed that they were so inattentive and their eyes so off the ball,” Fry wrote in a blog post announcing the switch. “How come Germany could have .de, France .fr, South Africa .za, Italy .it etc etc etc? And we poor British had to have the extra exhaustion of typing .co.uk. Three whole keystrokes. It doesn’t stack up to much when compared to other howling injustices in the world.”
The release of .uk has not been without its challenges, after being met with some resistance by stakeholders last year who were concerned that the release could be confusing to existing registrants and that the .uk domains were overpriced, initially expect to cost around £20 per year.
Currently, there are more than 10 million existing UK domain holders. They will be offered first choice on the shorter equivalent of their current address, with five years to decide whether they want to use it in addition to, or instead of, the domain they already have.
It seems that out of the gates domain registrars GoDaddy and 34SP.com are offering competitive special prices on .UK domains. GoDaddy has .uk domains starting at £4.99 per year while 34SP.com has .uk domains for as low as £2.50 per year for a limited time. Nominet is charging £3.50 for a single year and £2.50 for multi-year registrations.
“The new .uk is for people who want a short, memorable domain with the popular and trusted .uk ending. We know this combination appeals to our tech-savvy, digitally-engaged population,” Eleanor Bradley, COO of Nominet said. “When asked if they wanted .uk to be an option alongside. co.uk, 72% of businesses questioned said yes. The UK is the world’s most internet-based major economy and it’s certainly one of the most active and fast-changing too – 67% of our current registrations are less than five years old. We can’t wait to deliver this addition to the UK namespace and continue to build its contribution to the UK’s digital economy.”