London businesses can start bidding on new generic top-level domain [gTLD] names from tomorrow as the .london gets ready for its official launch.
The gTLD has already provoked strong interest in the capital with over 100,000 registering for more information with the likes of Fortnum & Mason, West Ham United Football Club and the London School of Economics all expressing a public interest in using one of the domains.
“There is enormous interest in Dot London right across the capital, not just from high-street brands but also the small businesses that are the lifeblood of London’s economy. London leads the world in technology and our businesses are among the most dynamic and innovative anywhere, so it is no surprise so many see Dot London for the great opportunity it is,” said Mayor of London Boris Johnson, according to The Register.
.london’s launch hasn’t escaped the notice of Internet trademark specialist Matt Sammon from legal firm Marks & Clerk and his worry is that domain name squatters could take advantage of the new domain names if businesses aren’t quick to act.
“It will allow businesses to associate their name with an iconic city brand, but will also give room to domain name squatters to take advantage by buying up .london addresses using other companies’ names,” Sammon told The Register. “Avenues exist for businesses to defend their trademarks without having to actually buy a web address. Whether or not a business is based in London, it can pre-empt abusive registrations under the .london domain or any other of the new domains by registering its details with ICANN’s Trademark Clearinghouse."
ICANN, the private company tasked with dishing out the gTLDs that .london is a part of, first began the gTLD expansion back in June 2011 when it approved a plan to allow any word to be used as a gTLD and increase the number from the 22 that were originally available.
The first domains were delegated out in October 2013 and the suffixes went live in January 2014 when the number of gTLDs grew from 22 to 29, and the total of 1,937 new gTLDs have been appearing on a weekly basis ever since.