Pros and Cons of Launching Domain Names Directly Under .UK

NOTE: This page is also available as a PDF document for ease of reference.


At the moment, domain names in UK can only be registered at the third level, that is under or Nominet is proposing to open up registrations at the second level, directly under .uk, meaning domain names such as will become available for the first time.

This would represent a radical change to the current structure of the UK internet, which has served UK businesses so well over the last two decades.

Nominet has put forward a proposal outlining one way .uk might be rolled out. While it is important to respond to their proposal and its consequences, a fundamental question needs to be addressed first: "Should we have a .uk at all?"

In other words, what are the potential rewards, and what are the inherent risks that would stem from the introduction of .uk (regardless of the way it was introduced)?

This question needs to be looked at separately, since the specifics of Nominet's proposal only apply if .uk is actually to be introduced. To that end, the pros and cons of the "concept of .uk" are laid out below.


  • Simple and logical
  • Easy to remember
  • Shorter than and potentially more visually appealing
  • Gives a stronger sense of national identity
  • More desirable than (for all the reasons above)
  • Puts the UK on a par with other countries
  • Makes more domain names available
  • Allows people to register desirable names that they missed out on previously
  • Added revenue for Nominet and its partner registrars

CONS OF .UK (vs .UK)

  • The system ain't broke - don't fix it!
  • The current system is effective and well understood
  • No technical reasons to change the current structure
  • 3,000,000 businesses already marketing web addresses
  • Multiple organisations with the same name coexist at the same level (,,,,, etc.) - no extension is superior to the other
  • Using .UK and .CO.UK alongside each other for businesses creates confusion
  • Businesses will be forced by the fear of confusion to acquire and maintain both registrations, regardless of cost
  • Higher annual renewal fees (2 domains rather than 1)
  • Astronomical rebranding costs for UK plc to change cards, stationery, website etc.
  • High marketing costs to inform customers about the confusion
  • Increase in phishing attacks, and higher probability of success because of confusion
  • Misdirected emails intended for end up at an unrelated .uk name
  • Potential privacy breaches, loss of trade secrets etc. because of emails gone astray
  • Technical setup costs for running two domains and redirecting emails and traffic
  • Loss of confidence in as .uk takes off
  • Push from all organisations at the third level to be present at the second level i.e. organisations will also want to be at the .UK level, as will schools, etc.
  • All or nothing decision - no new domain extensions (e.g. or can be launched in future to meet new market demands


If, after reading the above, you believe that .uk should not be introduced, you need to communicate that view loudly and clearly to Nominet before it's too late. Once the .uk genie is out of the bottle, there's no way to put it back in again - we will all have to face the consequences.

If you estimate that the benefits outweigh the negatives, then you should also be aware that there are fundamental flaws with the process Nominet has put forward to allocate .uk domains. You can find out all about this here.

What next?

Time is running out... To find out more about Nominet's proposed introduction of .uk, and how your business is likely to be affected, please download the position paper. You can also click here to go back to the main page

If you own a domain name, you NEED to see this document or risk losing any chance of getting the corresponding .uk! You have been warned...

Introduction of .uk - Don't Do It: A position paper


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