When I first wrote about the new ‘.uk’ top-level domain, there didn’t seem to be a mad rush for us all to register one, because the date when availability became unrestricted was still five years away. Now there’s only four weeks to go.
To recap, back in the Dark Ages, most countries were allocated a simple two-letter top-level domain for their websites, like .de or .fr. Here in the UK, some administrators decided that we’d do things differently, and the function of websites would also have to be declared in the domain name, using the addition of a second-level domain such as ‘.co’ or ‘.org’. To begin with, there was no ‘.me.uk’ (not that it’s ever been used much), so individuals who were nothing to do with companies still had to use .co.uk. People spent years complaining, until eventually, nearly 20 years late, the folks in charge of the UK internet domains decided that we could all have just .uk after all. Like everyone else.
In order to avoid problems, existing .co.uk and .org.uk domain name holders were given reservation rights over the .uk version of their domain for five years. So if you own a .co.uk domain, at any time in the past five years you’ve been able to register the .uk version and use that instead. I suspect most commercial organisations have bought their domain, but from the looks of things, most of them haven’t used it. I guess if you are a company, there’s no great drawback of having ‘.co’ in your domain name, and no pressing need to change. But the option has been there.
Now the reservation period is coming to an end (on 25 June 2019), and from 1 July, anyone can register any available .uk domain. You may not think anyone likely to want to register the .uk version of your company’s .co.uk domain, but for £10/year, I think it’s daft not to grab something that’s so closely related. I’d have thought it natural then to redirect requests for the .uk domain to the .co.uk version, but it’s interesting that the three busiest .co.uk sites (google.co.uk, amazon.co.uk and bbc.co.uk) don’t do this. I assume they have registered their .uk domain, but we’ll find out soon enough if they haven’t.