Tomorrow is a key deadline for .London domain names.
The .London domain name is launching, and it’s very different from previous domain name launches.
I reached out to Antony Van Couvering with Minds + Machines to learn more about the .London launch. One key thing to note: the London Priority Period, which ends tomorrow, is actually open to everyone. People in London will get priority, but this is your first chance to claim domain names regardless of whether you have a direct connection to London.
DNW: .London is running a simultaneous sunrise/Londoner priority/Landrush phase that ends Thursday. Explain how this works and who gets priority over others if more than one person orders a domain name during this period.
Van Couvering: The idea is to give priority to people in London, but be open to everyone. To give Londoners priority over people from outside London, and to give people with rights to a name priority over those who don’t. Deciding what defines a Londoner is tricky, but certainly living in London counts. The way it works is that anyone can apply during the London Priority Period (April 29 – July 31, 2014), and then who gets a name is decided in the following order:
1. Sunrise registration (trumps everything)
2. If you live in London and your applied for-name either matches a trademark (if you’re a business or organization) *or* a variation of your personal name (if you’re applying as an individual)
3. If you live in London and your applied-for name doesn’t match either your trademark or your personal name
4. If you live outside of London, you have last priority
Both an applicant’s address and their claim of rights is validated by a dedicated team. That’s an expense, but one we think is well worth it. The full set of rules and validation criteria are available online (pdf).
The way the London Priority Period is set up that in the event that there is more than one application for the same domain name, priority goes to rights holders, then to Londoners, then to everyone else.
DNW: Because of their status as “world cities”, a lot of people will compare .NYC and .London. .NYC is taking a different approach than .London with regards to who can register domain names. .NYC will always be closed to anyone outside of New York City; .London is open to everyone (after the initial priority for Londoners). Why did .London decide to take this approach?
Van Couvering: Precisely because what makes a Londoner is not simply geography. If someone is born in London, is he or she a Londoner? What if they work in London? Furthermore, London is a global city and is open to people from all over the world. All of this is reflected in the rules — priority to people who live in London, but open to everyone.
DNW: What has been the biggest surprise during this first phase?
Van Couvering: How quickly the word got around. When I travel to London, and I mention what I do, I frequently hear “Oh, I heard about that!” from taxi drivers, waiters, people in pubs. Probably this has something to do with the great pioneers we’ve lined up, which are a mix of well-known brands (Fortnum & Mason, London Symphony Orchestra, West Ham United) and smaller businesses (The Commitments show in the West End, or the All Stars Collective, a group of accomplished musicians). A full list of the .london pioneers is here.
We’ve seen a really great distribution of applications across all walks of London life, and we’re excited that this is going to be one of the larger TLDs without resorting to huge discounting or buying up our own names, as has been rumored in other TLDs. It looks as if .london is really being embraced by the people who live there. To me, that’s success.
DNW: What is your goal for .London registrations a year from now?
Van Couvering: The goal is to have .london be the first choice for a domain name for anyone or any business with a connection to London. We think that’s achievable.