What the end of the reservation period for .uk domain names means for your business
In June 2014 NOMINET made ‘.uk’ domain names available, which was meant as a shorter companion to ‘.co.uk’. Nominet initially rolled this out only to businesses and individuals that owned the full ‘.co.uk’ domain. To register a website ending in ‘.uk’ you’d have to already own, or purchase, the full domain.
However, these domain names were not reserved forever. Domain owners had 5 years to register their ‘.uk’ domain variant, else it would be released for anyone to buy.
It has now been 5 years since the domain variants were introduced, and in many cases websites with the full domain were registered before June 2014. In short, that means a lot of new ‘.uk’ domains just became available.
What does this mean?
Well, it means that if you registered your full domain before 2014 and you did not register the variant, anyone can now buy that domain variant.
Why is that bad?
As the domain variant is available for anyone to purchase, the buyer can put whatever website they want behind it – which could damage your brand. Any visitors to your ‘.uk’ website will associate that website and content to your brand, and that may not always be a positive thing.
I registered my domain after 2014, am I okay?
If you registered your domain after 2014, you weren’t included in Nominet’s right to register scheme. So the domain variant may have been available from when you registered your full domain.
Do I need to do anything?
If you don’t already own it, we suggest purchasing the ‘.uk’ domain variant for your site. Luckily this shouldn’t be too expensive, and most domain registrars will let you set up a simple redirect to your ‘.co.uk’ site.