One to watch - the shorter .uk domain name
Shorter simpler .uk domain names were introduced back in June of 2014, but most UK business owners still haven't heard of them. That will change.Four in five people in the UK have a preference for websites ending in .uk so it's hardly surprising that the vast majority of UK businesses use UK domain names.
By far the most popular choice currently is a .co.uk domain name. Nominet neatly sums up its attraction in three words: Established. Commercial. Trusted.
There are other options such as .org.uk which Nominet says "covers everything that is not-for-profit in the UK" although its use is not currently restricted to non-profits. A few businesses, unable to secure the .co.uk version of their chosen domain name, have plumped for a .org.uk domain name, but in truth, it looks less than professional to use a .org.uk for a commercial venture and should be avoided.
The same is true of .me.uk domain names. Their intended use is for individuals - for personal projects like a blog or family page - and to see a business using one smacks of amateur hour.
There is a fourth option, however, that is perfect for business: .uk.
First introduced in June, 2014, with far less fanfare than might have been expected, the shorter simpler .uk domain names represent the biggest shake-up in the UK domain space since the beginning of domain names.
On paper, at least, the .uk has the potential to replace .co.uk domain names as the premier choice for UK businesses, if for no better reason than they are shorter.
The reasons it hasn't happened to date are two-fold:
1. Most people are still unaware of .uk's existence (even the BBC completely missed their launch back in 2014)
2. Literally millions of the best .uk domain names are reserved for those who own the exact match .co.uk version - although only a fraction have been registered
There are signs that things are changing however.
We are seeing the .co.uk and .uk domain names being listed separately in increasing numbers on secondary domain name market places, even when both are owned by the same individual or business (not unsurprisingly since they are, of course, distinct domain names, each with their own value).
There have also been a number of four and five figure .uk domain sales including Shopping.uk which sold for £45,000 in July, 2019.
The Brandwise verdict?
Don't underestimate the future of .uk domain names.
At present, a .co.uk domain name is generally the best option for British businesses, but that could change very quickly indeed, if and when .uk domain names gain critical mass in terms of both registration and use. If a big player like eBay or the BBC, for example, switched to .uk from .co.uk, it would make a huge difference.
To hedge your bets, our advice is to secure both the .co.uk and .uk versions of your chosen domain name where possible. Not only will this give you two options going forward, it will prevent a competitor using one or the other.
But if the .co.uk is long gone and the .uk is available, buying it could bree a very smart move, not least when the shorter version gains traction in the market place.In terms of search engine optimisation, there is no difference.
.co.uk and .uk are distinct domain name extensions and as such we list the .co.uk and .uk version of domain names separately on Brandwise if both are for sale on this platform. However, if both versions of a domain name are listed on Brandwise, we will offer you a great deal if you wish to buy both. Please contact us for more details.