From 9th September 2014, Dot London domain names will again be available for registration, available on a first come, first served basis.
The move forms part of a wider initiative from ICANN (The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers), the not for profit organisation that looks after web addresses on the Internet.
Stuart Fuller, director of commercial operations at NetNames, the online brand protection specialist, comments on the general availability of the .London domain name: “The general availability of the .London domain name will help maintain the city’s position at the forefront of the global digital economy. A .London web address gives businesses the opportunity to take advantage of the capital’s powerful ‘brand’, something that many luxury and beauty labels, such as Rimmel London, have been doing for years.
“The .London suffix is now available to all on a first come, first served basis. Businesses looking to capitalise on London’s international brand power and strengthen their internet presence will therefore need to act quickly in order to secure the domain names of their choice. According to recent NetNames research, over half (55 per cent) of UK businesses have or are planning to invest in geographic domain names, with 97 per cent stating that the new domain names will enhance their existing online strategy. Ultimately, businesses should start to prepare for the change that is happening to web addresses and look to purchase those domains that will add business value.”
Well recognised brands are also creating their own top level domains – this includes some household names such as .BMW, .Nike, and .Google.
For the first time, generic International Domain Names (IDNs) launch, which are gTLDs that contain non Latin scripts – such as .شبكة, meaning ‘.web’ in Arabic.
There are also a new set of generic top level domains – .ink, .photography, .wiki and .club are just a few examples of new gTLDs people can use over and above the likes of the normal .com.
Applicants had to pay a $185,000 (£118,800) fee to take part in the application process. They also face a minimum $25,000 annual renewal charge to keep their suffix once it has been granted.
Critics have attacked the plan, noting the costs involved and the fact that bodies in the first batch to be processed may gain an unfair advantage.
NetNames, identifies new online risks for internet users and brands. When asked how they expect the launch of thousands of new web address endings, such as .london, .shop and .sport, to change the internet in the next five years, 40% of consumers believe it will make it a more dangerous place – over double the amount who feel that it will be safer (17%).
These concerns were mirrored by businesses, with 92% of companies surveyed recognising risks with the introduction new generic Top Level Domains (gTLDs).
Watch the promo video for .London here: