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.uk launches with Stephen Fry as anchor tenant

Kevin Murphy, June 10, 2014, 11:23:53 (UTC), Domain Registries

Nominet has launched its controversial .uk service, enabling Brits and others to register directly at the second level for the first time.

It did so with an endorsement from quintessential uber-Brit, gadget nut, Apple slave and national treasure Stephen Fry and a marketing splash including a .uk domain apparently visible from 35,000 feet up.

This sign has been placed in one of the main flight paths into Heathrow. Readers flying in to London for ICANN 50 later this month might want to ask for a window seat.

Nominet

Actor/author/comedian Fry was the first to be given a .uk today. He’s switched from stephenfry.com to stephenfry.uk as a result — the .com is already redirecting to the .uk.

He said in a blog post:

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. 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 length of time poor students and tourists have to queue to get an Abercrombie and Fitch polo shirt for example, but nonetheless it has been a nuisance these twenty years or so.

His involvement has helped the news hit many of the major daily newspapers in the UK today.

This is how to launch a TLD.

Fry’s friend Prince Charles was given princeofwales.uk last December, among 69 domains previously under .gov.uk that the government requested receive special treatment.

While new .uk addresses are available to register now, you won’t be able to immediately register one that matches a .co.uk unless you’re the owner of that .co.uk.

All .co.uk registrants have been given five years to decide whether they want the .uk equivalent, which carries a £2.50-a-year fee ($4.20), assuming a multi-year registration.

That’s the same as a .co.uk. Assuming .uk gets good uptake and that most registrants will keep their .co.uk names for the foreseeable future, Nominet’s accounts could be in for a significant boost.

Owners of .org.uk or .me.uk names only get the free reservation if the matching .co.uk is not already registered. Otherwise, they have to wait five years like everyone else.

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Comments (7)

  1. @Murphy,

    “Fry’s friend Prince Charles was given princeofwales.uk last December, among 69 domains previously under .gov.uk that the government requested receive special treatment”.

    This is what I meant when I observed that the IANA (functions) should never leave a democratic domain, where everyone is considered equal; it should never be administered where kings, queens, and princes hold sway above their fellows. Nobody should have first bite at the apple because of bloodline. Period.

    It’s undemocratic, and unacceptable.

    • Kevin Murphy says:

      Actually, the reason Charles was transitioned away from .gov.uk was precisely because he’s *not* a member of the government.

  2. If he is not a part of government, then he should not be “transitioned”, he should be made to get in line, and buy his own domain name, if he wants it.

    But the truth of the matter is that, not only is he a part of government, he is the government. He in fact heads the “privy council” that meets secretly with the prime minister every two weeks, he is de facto individual that must give ascension to bills passed by parliament; he is head of a duchy; whereas he has no electoral mandate, he is in charge of virtually everything in that country.

  3. Calvin says:

    Actually South Africa has co.za (or web.za and a couple others)…..

    • Correct, but it was the last country in Europe to get a short TLD, so about time. Btw this infographic shows how .uk registrants can change domain name for their website uk-domain.europeandomaincentre.com

  4. Joe says:

    .com will still dominate the market, for some time to come I believe. I don’t think website owners should rush to transfer their .co.uk domain to .uk, afterall .uk needs to build some traction with mainstream consumers. Anyone who own a .co.uk that was purchased before 28/10/13 will have an automatic right to buy the matching .uk So I can’t see any larger brands being effected.

    http://blog.names.co.uk/2014/06/new-uk-finally/

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