After a five-year "right of registration" reservation period, there are now less than three months to go before second level .uk domains become widely available.
Nominet is reminding anyone with a third-level domain (.co.uk, .org.uk, .me.uk, .net.uk, .plc.uk or .ltd.uk) that they have less than three months left to secure the shorter second level (.uk) equivalent, before it is made available to the public.
The deadline closes on 25 June at the end of a five-year right of registration period established by Nominet in June 2014 to allow third-level domain registrants plenty of time to consider whether they would like to register their second-level equivalent.
Those who registered .co.uk website addresses before 28 October 2013 were given five years to decide whether to register the corresponding .uk ending as well as, or instead of, their existing registration. If a .co.uk was not registered at that time, rights were passed to the .org.uk then the me.uk domain.
After the deadline closes, all previously reserved but unregistered domains will become generally available. Of the original ten million domains who had their rights reserved in June 2014, there are now 3.2 million domains that have not registered the corresponding shorter .uk equivalent.
"We have given registrants a long period of time to consider their options," said Nominet coo Eleanor Bradley "As the deadline approaches, an advertising campaign will remind rights holders that time is running out. For some companies, they will really want to secure the shorter domain, for their own use, now or in the future, or to guarantee nobody else can use it. They need to take action quickly to avoid missing out. Others are happy with the domain they have, and don't want to register or use another. It's important to stress to those people that the existing domain will continue as normal, and no action is required."
It is a feature of the domain name system that the same set of characters before the dot - known as the string - can appear in names with different suffixes and be registered by different people.
Eleanor Bradley added; "In the vast majority of cases, very similar domains co-exist with no problems. But for the rare cases where someone is abusing their domain or using it for illegitimate purposes, we have safeguards in place so action can be taken swiftly."
Written by Rachel Miller.