This is a guest post by Eleanor Bradley, COO at Nominet, and reflects Nominet policy
In June 2014, Nominet launched a new shorter domain ending, .uk. This new domain became a part of our .UK domain family joining .co.uk, .org.uk and .me.uk. Thousands of great UK businesses are already using .uk domains, and over two million .uk domains have been registered since launch.
At the time of the launch, we decided that registrants of existing .co.uk domains (registered before 23:59hrs on 28th October 2013) would have five years to decide whether they wanted the corresponding .uk domain name. For example, the registrant of ilovedomains.co.uk would have five years to decide, and if they chose to, to register ilovedomains.uk alongside, or instead of, their existing domain. Some domains in the wider .UK family (.org.uk, .me.uk) were also made eligible if the .co.uk equivalent did not yet exist at the time the rights were calculated.
The deadline to take up any reserved rights on .uk domains is fast approaching and ends on 25th June 2019 at 06:00 BST (UTC+1). On this date, the decision period closes and any associated rights to corresponding domains that have not been registered will cease.
From 1st July 2019 these domain names will then be released, and anyone can register them. There are currently 3.2 million domains, out of the original 10 million who had their rights reserved in the summer of 2014, which have not yet registered the equivalent .uk domain.
What does this mean for you?
If you registered a .UK domain before 23:59hrs on 28 October 2013, it’s worth checking to see if you have the rights to the .uk equivalent. You can read the right to reserve guidelines here. If you do have the rights and would like to register the equivalent .uk domain, your registrar (in this case, GoDaddy) will be able to help you with the process. Remember, it is entirely up to you whether you take up the rights, you don’t have to register your reserved .uk domain but if you don’t someone else may.
Reasons why you might want to register your reserved .uk domain
Some businesses like to register equivalent domains for brand protection purposes, or to host landing pages for marketing campaigns. Other businesses simply set up a redirection from one domain to the other.
If you’re happy for someone else to register and use your equivalent .uk domain however, you don’t need to do anything, although it is helpful to be aware that it will become openly available to the public in early July.
We have answered some frequently asked questions around reserved .uk domain names on our website and have listed some of the top ones below. If you have any specific questions regarding your domain, contact your registrar.
How do I check if I have a reserved .uk domain?
If you have registered your domain with GoDaddy, you can find out more about checking if you have a reserved .uk domain here. If you have any questions their customer support team will be able to help.
How can I register my reserved .uk domain?
Please speak to your registrar to take up your .uk rights, please note this needs to be done before 06:00 BST (UTC+1) on 25th June 2019.
What happens if I miss the deadline?
If you don’t register your reserved .uk domain before 06:00 BST (UTC+1) on 25th June 2019, the domain will become publicly available from 1st July 2019.
What about my existing domain?
A reserved .uk domain doesn’t affect any existing domain registrations. If you don’t register a reserved .uk domain, your existing domains will remain the same in all aspects (use, renewal, etc.)
How can I register a reserved .uk domain that I don’t have the rights to?
If you’re interested in registering a .uk domain that is currently reserved, it will become available to register (if the rights aren’t taken up) from 1st July 2019. If you have your eye on a particular domain we’d recommend talking to your registrar (in this case, GoDaddy).
I registered a .co.uk domain in the last five years, do I have a right to register the .uk equivalent?
Only domains registered before 23:59hrs on 28th October 2013 have rights to equivalent .uk domains. However, if the .uk domain is currently available you can register it as normal through your registrar.