The Great Dot UK Scam

As we look forward to the huge time savings gained by typing .uk instead of, I wonder if it really benefits anyone other than the registrars and their wallets.

For years our domain name choices were limited but easy. Local business? Global business (or just want to look it)? .com

Claim Your Land!

Of course, with a limited number of TLDs (Top Level Domains) there can only be one and new options like and soon popped up. Which did nothing but show that you were there second.

Over time more TLDs have come along, some clever (.london has been popular) but some downright confusing – many a .co owner has been asked “did you miss the “m” or the “.uk” off the end? Unless they really were based in Colombia.

I’ve written about how having a brand can be more important than “exact domain matching” before, and Google has tried to reduce the effectiveness of domain names in ranking too.

So what about .uk?

Back in June 2014, Nominet launched the .uk domain. Ostensibly with the aim to open up far more availability of names. So, the second widget maker in Whitstable can now register

But it’s not that simple, is it? That’s really annoying for the owner of – they don’t want their competition grabbing a domain almost identical to their own. So Nominet thought of that, and reserved .uk equivalents for anyone who has the (or etc) until 10th June 2019.

So the benefit to us website owners is pretty much zero. We can either claim our .uk (more money) or let the fastest competitor or domain squatter have it next June.

Meanwhile, the registrars’ tills are ringing

Ultimately, the only people benefiting are Nominet and the registrars, because for every they have sold, there’s a good chance the same person is going to buy .uk just to protect it. A nice way to double your income.


And then some have gone one further and got really sneaky. Like 123-Reg.

123-Reg have been emailing their users the fantastic news that they have reserved the .uk for them for free. Hurrah! Except…

  1. You already had the rights reserved for you for free until June 2019
  2. You may have wanted to exercise your rights with a cheaper registrar (123-Reg charge £9.99+vat to renew, my favourite Namecheap £6.98 with no vat)
  3. Who knows what happens to unclaimed domains come June 2019? 123-Reg own that domain from then on.

So, should I register my .uk domain?

I really want to say “don’t bother”. Having two domain names will not improve your search ranking. Your existing website should outrank a new site and if you have a trademark on the name it cannot be used anyway. Any competitor could just be taken to court for “passing off” as you.

But who really has time for that?

Am I going to register Damn right I am.

But I’m going to wait until June 2019 – until then, the money can stay in my pocket, thank you.

You can find out if you have the rights to your .uk domain by clicking here.

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2 thoughts on “The Great Dot UK Scam”

  1. But if another company registers the same domain at .uk and could be confused with yours, in the same industry, then they can be legally challenged as passing off and so businesses have protection already. Its not feasible to register .london, .biz, .whatever to protect your domain name, you should not have to.

    1. 100% agree. Should update this post really, as I never did bother to register my .UK – some bright spark has, but if they want to throw their money away to Nominet…

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