I have copied this information from my free domain checker tool at dotUKwinner.com but I feel it is info that should be read by as many people as possible who have an interest in the .uk namespace. This guide is independent.my own interpretation and I am expressing no view either way on if I agree with the proposal or not.
On the 1st July 2013 Nominet, the not for profit company who are responsible for the registration of the majority of .uk extensions, announced a second consultation of their plan to allow registration at the second level of the .uk ccTLD. Previously the majority of UK registrations had been mad at the third level; i.e. somedomain.co.uk with the somedomain being the third level, co being the second level and uk being the first.
So Nominet’s proposal is that they will allow under most circumstances users to register under the second level; i.e. somedomain.uk
There are a number of reasons explained in the consultation documents linked below as to why Nominet think this is necessary, with one of the primary being the increased competition to come from the generic top level domains such as the widely covered .london
A important part of the consultation is surrounding the release mechanism of the .uk extension, the normal release schedule of a new extension involves a number of stages with trademark owners getting first preference, then there is usually some auctions of premium domains and then a land-rush where it is every man, woman and child for himself. As .uk is not a new extension as such there has been some discussion since Nominet’s original consultation as to who would get rights of first refusal on any given .uk. This is particularly of interest where the same name has been registered by a number of different people as a .co.uk, .org.uk and me.uk (and possibly the less used .sch.uk, .net.uk, .plc.uk and .ltd.uk).
Within the fist consultation there had been suggestion that the interested parties could enter a auction to see who would take the .uk, however this has now been removed from the version 2 and the current suggestion is that the oldest of the Nominet managed registrations getting first refusal the .uk with the others being able to register an interest in case the oldest does not choose to take the domain up within the suggested 6 month period. Whilst there is no detail as to exactly how this will happen the process will probably all be dealt with online and there will most likely be no postal communication.
The current suggested fee for a .uk is £5 per year, wholesale, a .co.uk currently is £3.50 for the same.
what this tool is here for is to enable you to assess which domain will “win” the .uk if the scheme goes ahead under the current proposal, it currently ignores .sch.uk domains as further clarification is required as to what date Nominet have as recorded as the registration date. Additionally Nominet are proposing to reserve approximately 150 domains for organisations who have lost their domains under the recent .gov.uk shake up. Finally there is probably going to be some difference with the 2 letter domains that where auctioned by Nominet a few years ago. One all these issues have been clarified I will update the tool.
I would actively encourage anyone reading this to take some time to read the proposals on Nominets site and if you feel you have something to add take part in the consultation, which ever side your views lie.
Read more @ Nominet .uk Consultation