2014 will see a whole bunch of new Top Level Domain extensions (TLD’s) available for customers to register, alongside their existing .co.uk, .com or .org domains etc.
Nominet has promised further details closer to the release date (as yet, unconfirmed), but we do know that the .uk version will be released soon and if you already own .co.uk, .org.uk, .me.uk, etc. then the new .uk version will be automatically reserved for you for up to five years to prevent cyber-squatting.
For example, as the BBC owns the domain bbc.co.uk, first refusal on the bbc.uk domain will be offered as a matter of course. Although final costs are yet to be confirmed, we expect it will be identical to registering a .co.uk domain name, but we’ll keep you posted when we get more information.
You may wish to just sit on your new .uk domain and not actively use it (to protect your trademark or identity) or you may wish to use it as your new primary domain name. There are a few draw-backs if you choose to change your domain extension, (these also apply if you’re thinking of changing your whole domain name) so if you’re considering it, ask yourself the question “Why?” What is your reason for changing your website address? Unless you’ve changed the name of your organisation and your existing domain no longer makes sense, here are several reasons why we recommend that you don’t:
- Search engines often discredit, or at least “sandbox” new domain registrations in an attempt to stop new “spam” websites from appearing in search results. Domains that are established for at least a year seem to hold more credence in results; a general rule being, “the older the better”
- You will lose the value of all the other sites that link to your domain name; changing will render those links invalid and will require you to rebuild them
- Search engines don’t like mirrored websites and may penalise your rankings if you have multiple websites that have identical contact but several addresses
There are already a few misleading offers being sent out to people for securing .uk domain names and if you receive any offer, you should check the small print carefully. Nominet has released a statement on misleading .uk registration offers that we recommend you read.