If you’re a small business owner in England, Wales, Scotland, or Northern Ireland, you’re going to want to pay attention to this. Nominet (http://www.nominet.org.uk/) is going to begin allowing registration of .uk domains. Previously, the Nominet registry only permitted .co.uk, .org.uk, and .me.uk domain names to be registered. Beginning June 10, 2014, the registry will permit registration of the shorter .uk domain.
If your business already has a unique domain at any of the other .*.uk extensions, then the shorter .uk will be reserved for you until June 10, 2019. Should your domain expire/you decide not to renew it, you will lose the first priority rights to own the shorter .uk version. A “rights lookup tool” is available at http://www.dotuklaunch.co.uk/rights-lookup-tool in order to check if you own the rights to your version of the .uk domain, since it is possible for two different companies or individuals to own the same domain at different UK extensions (such as if google.co.uk and google.org.uk were owned by different businesses).
According to Nominet, 81% of people prefer .uk domains when searching or buying online. Though .co.uk has become the first point of reference for UK-based businesses, the new .uk promises to bring large growth potential, as it is shorter and easier to remember. It also takes attention away from the extension and focuses it on the name of the domain, which is crucial for businesses and organizations.