At the end of last year Nominet, the non-profit organisation responsible for the administration of UK domain names, began the process of releasing short domain names that were previously restricted.
These short domain names include single letters and numbers, such as 1.co.uk and d.co.uk, and two-letter domains. With the obvious commercial and SEO potential of such short web addresses, there has been a huge amount of interest from some of the biggest companies on the net.
Those with legitimate trademark claims, as well as unregistered rights to specific letters and abbreviations have already had first dibs on the new domain names in Nominet's 'Sunrise' phase. Domain names which have already been snatched up include aa.co.uk, bp.co.uk and 3.co.uk. No prizes for guessing which UK companies snapped them up.
Now, the remaining two and half thousand short domain names are on offer. Nominet's 'Landrush' phase began on 23rd May and ends on 15th June. Of the single number and letter domains, 19 remain and competition is expected to be fierce. In instances where there are more than one applicant for a specific domain name, an auction will be held. According to the Financial Times, Google is putting in a bid for g.co.uk, while T-mobile's parent company is after t.co.uk.
So what's in a (short) name?
Well, aside from being easily memorable and potential branding gold, these super short domains can be very useful SEO in some cases. For example, if your company is commonly associated and marketed with certain initials (as with the Automobile Association example given above), then you can be sure that when potential customers search for your company via your initials then they will find your site and not be directed towards something irrelevant, or worse, a competitor.
If any of your core services or products are commonly referred to with a generic two letter acronym (such as PC or HR), the SEO benefits may also be significant. Just be prepared for a ferocious bidding war.
If you fancy putting in a bid for one of the short domain names on offer, take a look at the Nominet website to find out when and how you can join the bidding at nominet.org.uk
Are you looking for that all-important domain name to drive your business forward? Talk to your SEO agency for more information.
Jonathan Celeste invites you to join the rest of his clients at the top of the Google mountain with a Search Engine Optimisation campaign from Onit solutions