Jackson Hts., New York, December 4, 2013 - Last month Nominet, the operator of the .uk registry, announced that it had adopted a new TLD architecture and will begin selling second level domain names in June 2014. To date the .uk TLD, like 60 other country code TLDs, has been structured around contextual 2nd level domain names. So if you wanted a .uk domain name for Wonderful Widgets Ltd., you’d likely have looked for WonderfulWidets.co.uk. Everyone in the United Kingdom knows that a domain name ending in .co.uk is a company. In addition to .co.uk, they know what to expect from .org.uk, .net.uk, .me.uk, .plc.uk, .ltd.uk and .sch.uk.
- Context is my favorite advantage. To Brits a domain name ending in .co.uk is a company, one ending with .sch.uk is a school, etc. Might this lead us to a really intuitive city where people understand they can get useful info at pizza.restaurants.harlem.nyc?
- Pricing flexibility. The operator of the 2nd level Harlem.nyc “zone” can offer third level names to civic organizations at $5 a pop, or resident names, YourName.Harlem.nyc, for $2. As opposed to the standard industry flat rate of about $15-20.
- Local economic development arises when you train local web developers, lawyers, accountants, etc. to be name resellers (registrars) to broaden their business while retaining names revenue in the ‘hood.
On the negative side…
- Contractor and city revenue would likely be reduced in the short term. (But I’d argue localization would foster public buy-in and long term success. A contract renegotiation would be required.)
- There will be a learning curve and training costs.
- To Americans accustomed to the .com world this will initially seem odd, old school, so there’s the fear of the new.
While a change of architecture to mirror that used by the Brits has some ups and downs, I’ve come to support the broad development of the 3rd level. And in support of my position I had the success of our good neighbors to point to (10,0000,000 names registered). UNTIL LAST MONTH. Now I’ll need to argue that Nominet has made a wrong decision. And so my cry “Say it ain’t so .uk.”