When Nominet decided to make second level .uk domain names available, they implemented a 5 year “Right of Registration” period for existing third level .uk (co.uk, org.uk, me.uk etc.) registrants to claim their corresponding second level domain. This rights period ended in June. Unclaimed second level domain names were then scheduled for release.
Of the original 10 million domain names with “rights”, there were around 1.8m that the rights holder didn’t exercise their rights to and which Nominet have begun a process to release these domain names.
At the end of the first week of releases, where domain names were released in daily batches, almost 41,500 new .uk domains were registered which still left over 1.7 million to go.
Nominet released some statistics on the most popular requests and not unexpectedly the most popular requests were for short domain names and dictionary words, with the odd place name. The most contested was a single letter domain, z.uk, with 80 registrars trying to register it when it was released. The remainder of the top 10 list of most contested domains was law.uk, k.uk, wedding.uk, job.uk, yes.uk, voice.uk, camping.uk, big.uk and manchester.uk.