When generic top-level domain names (gTLDs) launch this year, businesses, organizations and individuals will have a wider range of options when registering web addresses.
At present, they are restricted to a narrow pool of just 22 gTLDs – such as .com, .net, .org and .info – plus a range of country code top-level domains (ccTLDs).
Since 2010, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) has permitted the registration of internationalized domain names which use other languages, such as Cyrillic, Greek and Arabic.
But for the time being, the majority of these two-letter ccTLDs use the traditional Latin script, which has been utilized by domain names since the birth of the internet.
Whether or not the launch of new gTLDs leads to reduced demand for ccTLDs remains to be seen, but based upon figures from the UK, internet users are continuing to appreciate their worth.
The ten millionth .uk domain name was recently snapped up by Steven Northam from Hampshire, England, when he registered swarvemagazine.co.uk.
Nominet described the landmark as a “mega milestone” for the internet in Great Britain, explaining that, when it assumed control of the .uk registry in 1996, there were just 26,000 domain names using the ccTLD.
Lesley Cowley, chief executive of the not-for-profit organization, explained that .uk registrations have been increasing at a rate of ten per cent over the past two years.
This is despite the impending launch of gTLDs, which will offer a wider range of options for those registering domain names and creating websites.
“It shows the very healthy growth of the UK internet – lots of new businesses getting online and buying what is often their first domain name,” she told the BBC.
Ms. Cowley suggested the launch of gTLDs will be a good thing for all concerned, despite the competition it will provide to the .uk ccTLD.
“There is a benefit to consumers and businesses to having a choice,” she added. “People will still go for .uk if that is the most appropriate suffix for them.”