Registrants of .uk domain names that haven’t yet secured their second level domain have less than 3 months to decide. If they don’t take up the option by 25 June, registrants will see their second level domain name released to the public.
When Nominet, the .uk registry, introduced second level registrations in June 2014, they introduced a 5 year ‘Right of Registration’ period to allow third-level domain registrants time to consider whether they would like to register their second-level equivalent.
Under the rules introduced for the launch of second level .uk domains, those with .co.uk registrations before midnight on 28 October 2013 were given 5 years to decide whether to register the corresponding .uk ending as well as, or instead of, their existing registration. If a .co.uk was not registered at that time, rights would have passed to the .org.uk then the me.uk domain. Registrants can check if they have rights here.
After the deadline closes, all previously reserved but unregistered domains will become generally available in July.
“We have given registrants a long period of time to consider their options,” said Eleanor Bradley, COO, Nominet. “As the deadline approaches, an advertising campaign will remind rights holders that time is running out. For some companies, they will really want to secure the shorter domain, for their own use, now or in the future, or to guarantee nobody else can use it. They need to take action quickly to avoid missing out. Others are happy with the domain they have, and don’t want to register or use another. It’s important to stress to those people that the existing domain will continue as normal, and no action is required.”
Of the original 10 million domains who had their rights reserved in June 2014, there are now 3.2 million domains that have not registered the corresponding shorter .uk equivalent. Over 2 million .uk domains have been registered.
As of the end of February 2019 there were 9,749,100 third level and 2,272,134 second level .uk domain names, totalling 12,021,234. And in the first 2 months of 2019, among new registrations, third level registrations outnumbered second level registrations by around 6 to 1 – 244,253 to 40,552.