.co.uk -> .uk transition

Finally we have the news and it is a champagne day for all .co.uk holders who had to live for more than a year in a state of worry, as their .co.uk holdings could have been devalued if .uk was granted to other registrants.

The other topic which is very interesting for domain catchers relates to this new policy:

Anti-gaming measures: To prevent the gaming of uncontested domains in Nominet-managed Second Level Domains other than .co.uk, we have decided to set a cut-off date of midnight on 28th October 2013, the day before our decision to proceed with SLDR. The registrants of these uncontested domain names are eligible for the Right of Refusal on the related .uk domain. Any .co.uk domain names registered between the cut-off date and launch where there is a pre- existing uncontested domain in a Nominet managed Second Level Domain do not accrue a right of refusal to the .uk domain name. But any new co.uk registrations from the cut-off point will get a Right of Refusal to the corresponding second level if there is no pre-existing registered third level equivalent name.

I had a good think over what this means and why it is needed. Here is my interpretation:

Nominet announced new .uk domains giving exclusive rights to existing .co.uk owners to apply for .uk. But what happens if there was no .co.uk registered but there was .org.uk/me.uk/ltd.uk/..etc 3-rd level domain? Yes – exactly – it means that someone could be very quick to scan & grab .co.uk after today’s announcement and prevent existing “uncontested” 3-rd level domain owners from applying for .uk domain. So this restriction is in place to prevent this happening.

What happens to .co.uk domains caught after the ‘cut-off date of 28 October’? I believe they are not affected and still receive the right of first refusal (i.e. right to get .uk). This is because the corresponding .org.uk/..etc/ domain was not “uncontested” on the cut-off date, because .co.uk was registered at that time.

Your thoughts are welcome :)

UPDATE #1: I’ve read through Q&A section at http://www.nominet.org.uk/how-participate/policy-development/IntroducingSecondLevelDomains/qanda :

There seems to be a almost exact question & answer:

Q: What happens if the domain with the rights to .uk, among the non-co.uk clashes, drops between 28th Oct 2013 and launch?

A: The right to the .uk is lost.

But if my interpretation of “among the non-co.uk clashes” is correct, then this relates only to clashed non .co.uk domains. Say, .org.uk and .me.uk existed on 28th October, so .org.uk had a right to .uk. Then .org.uk drops before the launch and it loses it’s right to get .uk.

.co.uk seems to be getting much priority, which is also evidenced by the question whether .org.uk registered before .co.uk after 28th of October gets the right to .uk. No, it doesn’t and late coming .co.uk gets it instead.

What I’d like to have Nominet clarify among these Q&A: – What happens if .co.uk domain name which was qualified for the rights to .uk (as of 28th October) drops after 28th October and later (before the launch date) is registered again? As other suffixes were not eligible for their .uk right as not “uncontested” on 28th October, would re-registration of .co.uk which had rights to .uk restore it’s rights to the .uk?


Hi Denys,

Thank you for your email.

If a .co.uk domain name qualified for the rights to the .uk domain
name on the 28th of October and was subsequently cancelled, the rights
to the .uk domain name are lost. However, if the .co.uk is
re-registered prior to the launch, the rights are then given to the
registrant of the .co.uk.

This is an issue that has already been raised by a few parties and
further clarity in the ‘Questions & Answers’ section on our web site
will be made available shortly.

If you have any questions, please do contact me on 01865 332244 or by
email at matthew.garnham@nominet.org.uk.


Matthew Garnham Second Line Support

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  • Gary

    A dropped name could be interpreted to have lost the contesting status as Nominet state that domains must remain registered up until the launch date for current .co.uk owners (pre 28th October 2013) to keep the right to register the .uk version – so validity can change between now and the launch date, it remains to be seen if this will apply to drops or not (sorry my point is not definitive, just worth noting)

  • Assetdomains

    It will be nice if this is the case I’ve read over that section a number of times and feel it needs a little more clarification from Nominet

  • domainlore

    Gary, your point is worth checking. If .co.uk existed pre 28th October, then other 3rd-level domains were not “uncontested” to receive right of refuse. I haven’t seen where Nominet states that .co.uk must have no interruptions in registration between the cut-off date and before the launch. But if there is such a clause (even though there are no valid reasons to impose such restrictions – it wouldn’t fit “anti-gaming” described purposes), then the right of refusal supposedly is not granted to anyone.

  • Assetdomains

    Further reading from the question and answers page seems clear cut existing
    other third levels take the domain.



    any rights conferred on new .co.uk domains registered after the 28th October
    2013, but before the launch date?


    Yes, so long as the string
    wasn’t registered in another suffix on 28th October 2013, in which case that
    other suffix will get the right to the .uk over the subsequent .co.uk
    registration. However, if that other suffix is then cancelled between 28th Oct
    2013 and the launch date, the .co.uk registered inside the same period will get
    the right to the .uk.
    I guess if a drop considered a new registration are catches loose out

  • domainlore

    I just posted an UPDATE taking into account those questions & answers.

    This particular answer you refer to addresses only a part of what interests us, because it assumes that “a new .co.uk” was registered which did not exist on 28 October – exactly the measure I am talking about in this blog post to prevent “gaming” of existing 3rd-level holders where .co.uk did not exist.

  • AaronClifford

    I spoke to Nominet about this exact thing today and they confirmed to me that:

    If a .co.uk is registered after the 28th October 2013 it will only get right of refusal if there are NO other contesting domains (.org.uk,.me.uk etc).

    I asked pretty much the exact questions above. The dropping and re registration after the 28th would only be given right of refusal again if there are none other registered in the other extensions.

    I also asked that if a .co.uk was registered after the 28th October and then during the five years if both the .org.uk and .me.uk drop and are registered (or not again), who has the right of refusal?

    They confirmed that the .org.uk would have right of refusal and if they choose not to take the domain and the others expire the .co.uk would have no rights to the name despite being the oldest/only name registered.

  • domainlore

    I think some members of Nominet staff could be as confused as we are! I wouldn’t accept the answer as 100% reliable unless it is coming from the very person who wrote this definition of “uncontested” domains and added this rule in order to prevent “gaming”, because I do not think that the original intentions were to disrupt catching, but rather to prevent some grabbing .co.uk’s of “uncontested” (i.e. where .co.uk didn’t exist before) domains.

    But if they are saying that a .co.uk dropped after 28/10 and re-registered does not inherit the right, then by their definition of “contested/uncontested” non-co.uk domains, neither any of those should be getting their right, as there was a .co.uk existing on the “cut-off date” which received that right. If it was not renewed and lost it’s right, they are not saying anywhere that the right from expired domain passes down the chain.

  • AaronClifford

    It certainly needs to be clarified, what the lady did say (and she clarified with others whilst on the phone) was that this is a “guide” to what is going to happen and that the full details will be released sometime in Feb 2014.

  • domainlore

    I just received answer from Nominet which is published as “UPDATE #2” above.