WEB REGISTRAR Nominet kicked off the .uk generic top-level domain (TLD) for UK individuals and businesses on Tuesday.
The launch of the .uk TLD brings the UK in line with other countries that already have a "shorter, sharper" TLD domain, such as Germany and France, which have .de and .fr, respectively.
Nominet said that upwards of 10 million existing domain name holders will be given first dibs on the shorter TLD, and have five years to choose whether or not to use it. So, for example, if you own a .co.uk domain name, Nominet will hold it for you to prevent web squatters from getting it first and subsequently charging you a premium for it.
Domains that aren't already reserved can be picked up now, and cost the same as a longer, .co.uk suffix, with Nominent charging £2.50 for one year and £2.50 for multi-year registrations.
You'll find that stephenfry.uk is, sadly, already taken, with the UK TV personality being named the first to own a .uk domain.
Nominet COO Eleanor Bradley told The INQUIRER that the company expects the .uk domains to help businesses of all sizes boost their digital presences in the UK and attract potential customers at a more local level.
"Alongside being shorter and simpler, some businesses may decide that a second-level domain name offers a better brand signalling opportunity for them. It's sharper and snappier and for some, less 'corporate' and immediately connected to the UK as a geographic or cultural entity," she said.
"As search engines and apps are making domain names less about finding a website and more about brand signalling, this is an increasingly important consideration for businesses," she added.