Nominet (who run the .uk name space) are opening up the second level of .uk domains, which means you will start seeing domains used for web sites and email addresses and so on that end .uk without the usual .co.uk or .org.uk or the like. This is happening on Tuesday.
For example, the domain revk.uk will be mine.
It was never really clear why they are doing this apart from adding confusion and making more money for registrars. Nominet itself is a non-profit company, but its members are registrars that make money from domain registration (like we do). So diluting the domain space to allow domains ending .uk makes more money for us all. The down side is it means yet more confusion for normal people. Even now the owner of a .co.uk and a .org.uk domain can be different.
Of course, we have the issue of who gets first choice of the new domains. One proposal, which made perfect sense to me, was the oldest of any of the third level domains gets first choice. This would have meant A&A getting aa.uk as we had aa.net.uk before any other third level aa.something.uk domain. It would have also meant that I personally would have got windows.uk as my windows.me.uk domain pre-dates windows.co.uk. But sadly the rules are not such.
The rules allow someone, at a specific deadline, with a .co.uk to have the corresponding .uk domain, or if there was a unique third level domain that was not .co.uk. Well, that is how I understand it. Basically, if you do a whois on the domain you want, it will confirm which of the existing third level domains is entitled to it, and they get several years to take that up. Some would argue this basically means anyone with a .co.uk domain have to pay again for the .uk version.
Whatever I think of the rules and the way it has been done, it is now happening, and from Tuesday you will be able to get a .uk domain.
I was rather pleased that a friend of mine, today, asked for a domain and none of the .uk third levels existed with that name (surprising these days). So he has registered the .co.uk version now, so that he can be sure of getting the .uk version on Tuesday.
I have updated the control pages (clueless) for domains on A&A to have a "Check .uk" button. This does a whois lookup and confirms if you can have the domain. If you can, it does a one-button copy of the existing domain and tries to register. Bear in mind that this will not work until Tuesday (there is a warning on the page). It remembers the outcome and shows a "Reg .uk" if you can register. So you can check today and tomorrow, and actually register the domain come Tuesday if you want. Once Nominet open the registrations we'll be testing this to make sure it all works as planned. Thankfully the domains matching existing registrations are reserved for some years, so no mad rush.
There will be things to watch out for though. Someone has registered some interesting .co.uk domains, thereby securing the second level domain. E.g. 0rg.co.uk, 1td.co.uk. Some already existed such as c0.co.uk and Itd.co.uk. These will all allow some interesting look-alike domains, such as something.0rg.uk and something.1td.uk, which will cause some confusion and could be used for scams.
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