Have you heard about the new .london domain yet? Web addresses ending in .london will be up for grabs on April 29, offering businesses and other organisations the chance to become, say, Google.london rather than Google.co.uk. Or LondonlovesBusiness.london, in our case.
As it happens, it’s just been announced that a whopping one in four small businesses are likely to register a .london web address, according to research from YouGov. That tots up to almost 220,000 businesses – and that’s not even accounting for the medium and large-sized companies yet.
Of the 220,000 small businesses that said they’re likely to get a .london domain, almost half (48%) of the businesses that said they’d probably get a .london address because they’re proud to be a London business.
Others were more commercially-minded about the idea: 41% said a .london web address would help them get customers, and 27% said it would help generate more sales.
Mayoral agency London & Partners is operating Dot London Domain, the company that will offer the new .london address. There will be a three-month priority period from April 29 when Londoners and trademark holders will be given priority in reserving a new .london web address. (See note below and find out more about how to apply at the bottom of this article, and at www.mydotlondon.com.)
We caught up with Gordon Innes, CEO of London & Partners, to find out more.
Q. Other than being findable online and helping sales, how else can a .london address help businesses?
A lot of SMEs have struggled to get a short memorable domain name that really tells story of their business and products and services, or their association with London.
The reason that ICANN [the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, which issues new domains] has issued this programme is because .com, .co.uk and the other domains like that have become so clogged up.
.london offers a new opportunity to SMEs and other businesses to get your name out there, get your branding out there, to reach customers more effectively, for them to find you most easily, and to be associated with the most dynamic, vibrant city on the planet.
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Q. How can our readers make sure they get the .london address they want?
We’ve tried to make this as easy and as fair as possible for London businesses. What we find when these types of auctions [of new domains] open is that those companies really keen and eager will probably come quite early to take up and request the bit of online real estate they’re looking for.
We’re expecting quite high interest early on in the initial three-month period, and we’ll be pushing out information, communications and marketing right throughout that period and in the run-up to it, to make sure as many business as possible know about the opportunity.
Q. So should London businesses have their clicking fingers at the ready on April 29?
We won’t allocate .london addresses on a first-come-first-served basis in that three-month period. We will wait until the end of the three months, then we’ll take all applications into consideration and allocate names in that time.
So you have the whole three-month window to be assessed, then you’ll find out [if you’ve got the address you wanted] at the end of July.
Q. When can you go live with your .london address?
At the end of July, after the three-month priority period.
Q. How expensive will a .london domain be?
.london domains will be sold through existing registrars, like GoDaddy, 123-reg and 1and1, and many others. So you go to your existing registrar already, many of whom are marketing .london very heavily as it’s one of most popular new domains.
So they’ll set the retail price, but we forecast that during the priority three-month period the [.London addresses] will come at a slight premium, so probably around £40 to £50. That will then probably drop by about £10 to £20 after the priority three-month period.
Obviously there will be premium names that will be sold at a premium, such as www.insurance.london and so on.
Thanks for the info Gordon.
Further info on getting a .london address:
Information on the new .london domain is available online at www.mydotlondon.com
.london web addresses will go on sale on April 29, making London one of the first cities in the world to launch its own domain. It will mark the start of a three-month period when Londoners will be given priority in reserving a new .london web address. Trademark holders will also have priority in securing their .london domain. In order for businesses with trademarks to fully take advantage of the three-month period offered by London & Partners, they must first enter their intellectual property into ICANN’s Trademark Clearinghouse. (This is the only way they will be given priority over other businesses for requested domain names.)
London & Partners has set up a subsidiary, Dot London Domains Ltd, to operate the new registry.
.london will operate on a commercial basis and any surplus profits will be re-invested for the benefit of London.