Stephen Fry became the first Briton to switch to a “.uk” domain as the nation took advantage of a new national web address.
The change means businesses and individuals can drop the “.co.uk” and “.com” suffixes from their web addresses and use the simpler “.uk”.
Nominet, the not-for-profit business that is responsible for running the .uk internet infrastructure, introduced the change as part of an expansion of permitted web addresses.
Fry urged his 6.9m Twitter followers to follow his example and create their own “.uk” personal domains. “How come Germany could have .de, France .fr, South Africa .za, Italy .it etc etc etc? And we poor British had to have the extra exhaustion of typing .co.uk. Three whole keystrokes,” Fry blogged.
Acknowledging that “It doesn’t stack up to much when compared to other howling injustices in the world… nonetheless it has been a nuisance these twenty years or so. stephenfry.uk is launched today with a fanfare and an unfurling of the Union Flag.”
Fry advised businesses with branches in Berlin and Miami that that “you will soon be able to own mycompany.berlin and myccompany.miami and so forth. All these generate new IP numbers which so far show no sign of giving out, despite the billions in use.”
The change allowed one of the shortest, and possibly most expensive web addresses in the world, to go on sale for the first time - www.x.uk.
Insurance entrepreneur Simon Burgess hoped to sell the address for around £10m, which would be the highest price ever paid for a UK web address.
Nominet believes that three quarters of British internet users prefer the shorter, sharper “.uk” to “.co.uk.” when shopping online.
Nominet called “.uk” the “domain for a generation of digital pioneers, it is the modern domain for the future – UK values with a global reach.”
A rapid take-up of the new domain is expected, which will cost £5 to retain for two years. Ten million UK web domain holders given five years to decide if they want to take “.uk” instead of or in addition to their current address.