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Short domain land-rush coming to .uk

bj.me.uk could be yours for a tenner

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Nominet is to make thousands of super-short .uk web addresses available for as little as £10 each in a "land rush", due to kick off next month.

The .uk manager will release 2,640 previously reserved one- and two-character .co.uk, .org.uk, .net.uk and .me.uk domain names, starting 23 May.

Many single-letter and single-number addresses, such as 1.co.uk and x.co.uk, will be made available, along with hundreds of double-character domains.

If you're a deodorant company, this is your chance to pick up bo.co.uk. Doctors could apply for dr.org.uk. If you're feeling frisky, bj.me.uk is also up for grabs.

The full list can be downloaded, in PDF format, here (15-page PDF/396 KB).

Nominet said that interested parties will have from 23 May to 15 June to pay a £10 application fee, which will enable them to bid on the domains. Uncontested domains will be allocated 23 June.

Any domain with more than one application will head to an auction, which begins 20 July, with the proceeds being given to the charitable Nominet Trust.

Apart from a handful of two-letter domains that were registered prior to Nominet's formation, such as bt.co.uk, it's been impossible to register anything shorter than three characters since 1996.

Short web addresses are considered to be high-value assets. Interest among domain name speculators is likely to be high, so competition could be fierce.

A couple of hundred of these short domains have already been allocated to trademark-holders under two recently concluded "sunrise" periods.

B&Q is now the proud owner of bq.co.uk, and Yahoo! has added y.co.uk to its portfolio.

Half a dozen domains from contested sunrise applications have already been sold at auction – aa.co.uk was won by American Airlines and e.co.uk was sold to E! Entertainment Television, for example – raising almost £24,000 for the Nominet Trust.

If any of the 2,640 available domains are still unclaimed by 27 June, they will be released on a first-come, first-served basis via the usual channels. ®

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