Posted on: 22/11/2013 @ 11:57am by Dave Burton
It has been decided by Nominet, the organisation who manage UK domain names including .co.uk and .org.uk that they intend to launch the top level .uk domain for registration, following a similar move by their French and German counterparts.
The move had previously been shelved over concerns that it could be both confusing and costly to businesses that may feel compelled to secure the new addresses in addition to their current CO.UK domains.
What is a domain name?
Whether you realise it or not, you use them every time you use the internet. Domain names are the human readable website addresses that we all take for granted when we browse the internet. These are used to make website addresses, which would otherwise be a series of number separated by dots (IP addresses), easier to remember.
Domain names come in all shapes and sizes including the most popular .COMs and .CO.UKs to the lesser used .TVs and .MOBIs.
There are 2 kinds of domain names: top level domains like .com which only have a single dot and secondary level domains, which usually denote which usually end in the country to which the website resides (e.g. .uk, .fr or .us).
So why all the fuss?
It is expected that by introducing the new .uk domain, up to 10 million customers will be affected. While nobody would be compelled to purchase the new domains which would run alongside the existing .co.uk and .org.uk domains (among others), it is expected that many companies will want to secure the alternative version of their existing domain names.
While the price of the new domain name would be considered pocket change to most businesses who can expect to pay approximately £3.50 a year (plus VAT), some see it as a purely money making move for Nominet who are likely to make vast amounts of money from businesses wishing to secure alternatives to their current domains from rival companies and frausters.
Nominet has, however, tried to placate sceptics by increasing the time customers will have to secure the domain name before it is offered up to the general public to 5 years.
Nominet have conceded that their is a theorectical risk that the new domain names could cause confusion to the general public.
It is feared that the general public may be at an increased risk of sending emails to the wrong domain name by omitting part of the domain name itself. However, since the introduction of the .co top level domain name a few years ago, the confusion does appear to be minimal.
Other proposed domain changes
Other big changes have already been or are in the process of being made to the way that website addresses are managed including the increase in available top level domains from the current 22 to over 1,400.
Some of the new addresses could include domains like .camera, .singles and .london. Changes have also been recently introduced include the introduction of non-latin characters including chinese and arabic characters.
What do you think about this change? Would you feel compelled to buy the new domains or would it not affect your website?