Stephen Fry Becomes First To Switch To 2nd Level .UK Domain

Posted in: Domain Names at 10/06/2014 18:44

British icon and tech enthusiast Stephen Fry became the first person to make the switch to a .uk domain name as Nominet began to allow second level .uk registrations.

Blogging on his new site, he writes: "Fret no more, people of Britain. The day of .uk is upon us. And team -- as with all things -- is proud to be ahead of the curve, or at least cresting it. is launched today with a fanfare and an unfurling of the Union Flag."

UK domain registry Nominet is rolling out the world's largest welcome sign - reading '' - at Heathrow airport to mark the biggest change to the UK internet infrastructure since it began.

Visible from as high as 35,000 feet (10,700 metres), and measuring nearly 10,000 square feet (930 square metres), the welcome sign is positioned on the approach to the main runway at London Heathrow airport, to greet those arriving. 40% larger than the 'Hollywood' letters, and hundreds of times the size of the traditional British welcome signs that frequent motorways up and down the country, the sign took ten men over eight hours to put in place.

But it is Stephen Fry that is the public face of the launch of .uk registrations. The television presenter and actor is calling it "The New Adventures Of Stephen Fry" and made the change from a .com to a .uk address, after having expressed his hatred of the domain at great length over the years.

"Fret no more, people of Britain. The day of .uk is upon us. And team -- as with all things -- is proud to be ahead of the curve, or at least cresting it," he said.

"It's only three harmless key-presses, you may think. A year or so back I wrote that it seemed to me annoying and lax of the British internet authority (if such a body ever existed, which it didn't and doesn't) when domain names were being handed that they were so inattentive and their eyes so off the ball.

"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 Three whole keystrokes. It doesn't stack up to much when compared to other howling injustices in the world. The length of time poor students and tourists have to queue to get an Abercrombie and Fitch polo shirt for example, but nonetheless it has been a nuisance these twenty years or so."

Nominet has conducted research into the preferences of internet users that found three quarters of British internet users prefer sites ending in .uk when searching or buying online, the introduction of '' will allow businesses a more succinct web address, comparable to what is available internationally in the likes of Germany's .de and France's .fr.

When presented with a series of new domains, such as .company, or .london, sites ending in .uk remain the first choice for 93% of internet users. Those opting for a brand new .uk will benefit from being part of this trusted, popular namespace that is overwhelmingly preferred by Brits, while embracing the shorter option.

"We're delighted that Stephen Fry has chosen .uk, given that he's known for being an early digital adopter," said Eleanor Bradley, Chief Operating Officer of Nominet. "We wanted to welcome him and everyone else to the brand new .uk domain in a big way - so why not do it with the world's biggest welcome sign?"

"The new .uk is for people who want a short, memorable domain with the popular and trusted .uk ending. We know this combination appeals to our tech-savvy, digitally-engaged population.

"When asked if they wanted .uk to be an option alongside., 72% of businesses questioned said yes. The UK is the world's most internet-based major economy and it's certainly one of the most active and fast-changing too - 67% of our current registrations are less than five years old. We can't wait to deliver this addition to the UK namespace and continue to build its contribution to the UK's digital economy."

Nominet expects the new domain will appeal to tech-savvy entrepreneurs and start-up businesses wishing to tap into positive 'brand UK' attributes, such as tech start-up Lowdownapp - switching from a .co - and independent craft lager company Saint Lager, who will be switching from a .com to

Over ten million existing UK domain holders will be offered first choice on the shorter equivalent of their current address, with five years to decide whether they want to use it in addition to, or instead of, the domain they already have. Nominet will be contacting these customers to ensure they're aware of their opportunity to exercise this right.

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