We’re now in the second week of releasing over 1.8m previously reserved .UK domains.
First, a bit of history for those not following .UK domain news closely.
In June 2014, Nominet opened up the second level of the .UK Domain, supplementing the existing third level domains (co.uk, org.uk, me.uk etc.) with the new, shorter .uk domain names to give more potential registrants the opportunity to be part of the namespace.
Conscious that many existing domain name holders might want to register the corresponding .uk, we reserved the rights to certain .uk domain names for a period of five years for those existing registrants. When this came to an end, the unregistered .uk domain names were released on a first come, first served basis, in daily batches.
With this process now underway, we are coming to the end of a busy period of activity aimed at ensuring these domains were made available in an orderly fashion. In the first week, over 41,000 new .uk domains were registered.
It was paramount that our systems could withstand a period of intense activity, so a parallel registration system was necessary. We found the testbed stage to be extremely valuable, helping us tweak our systems to ensure everything ran smoothly when we went live.
Choosing a way to allocate finite resources, in this case registration attempts per minute, was always going to be difficult. We knew we couldn’t please everyone but, when it came to the launch, we were pleased to see the breadth of registrars that took part, and that all business models were represented and were successful in securing some of the domains they wanted.
z.uk was the most contested domain of the week, with 80 registrars trying to register it on Friday at 2pm. As everyone in the industry is aware, it is a millisecond or two that makes the difference when domains are under such intense competition. Looking at the top 10 list, it comes as no surprise that shorter domains, and dictionary words, attracted the most interest.
This process has given us many numbers and metrics, which create a snapshot of the release so far.