Nominet, the UK domain name registry, has launched new “.uk” domain names, giving individuals and businesses an opportunity to use a “shorter, sharper” domain name extension.

Until now, the UK has been one of only a few countries that did not permit registrants to register domain names directly under “.uk” and instead required domain names to be registered at the third level (using “.co.uk”, “.org.uk” etc.).

While new “.uk” domain names are available to register now, “.uk” domain names that match an existing unique “.co.uk”, “.org.uk” etc. domain name will be reserved for a period of 5 years (until 10 June 2019) for the registrant of this domain name.

If there are conflicting “.co.uk”, “.org.uk” etc. domain names (for example, where Registrant A owns example.co.uk and Registrant B owns example.org.uk), priority will be given to the registrant of the “.co.uk” domain name.

The “.uk” extension is already proving extremely popular with individuals and businesses with Nominet announcing that more than 50,000 “.uk” domains were registered on launch day (10 June 2014). The “.uk” extension has therefore beaten the launch day sales figures for all of the new extensions that have been launched to date as part of ICANN’s new gTLD program.