Nominet celebrates 10 millionth domain name

United Kingdom

Nominet, the registry for ‘.uk’ domain names, has announced that it has registered its 10 millionth domain name under ‘.uk’, enhancing the extension’s reputation and ensuring its position as the world’s second-largest country-code top-level domain (ccTLD). In a lucky publicity coup for the owner, the 10 millionth domain name was ‘swarvemagazine.co.uk’.

The ‘10 million’ milestone was reached as a result of strong growth over the last two years, and was an ideal moment for Nominet to announce that it was planning a major investment in the ‘.uk’ brand and that a campaign, including a dedicated ‘.uk’ website, would begin in May of this year. Registrations under ‘.uk’ have in fact increased tenfold since 2000, when there were one million domain names registered, which shows just how far Nominet has come since registrations first started 27 years ago.

The campaign coincides with the introduction of multi-year registration periods for ‘.uk’ domain names that will come into effect from May 1 2012 and will allow for domain name registration periods ranging from one to 10 years.

Further to the announcement of the 10 millionth domain name registration, Nominet CEO Lesley Cowley said:

The cumulative impact of the 10 million domains in the registry is huge; it acts as the hub for millions of businesses and for e-commerce activity in the UK. We’re committed to ensuring that ‘.uk’ remains the number one choice for British businesses.”

Nominet also recently published the latest edition of its quarterly overview of the domain name business, which sets out some interesting facts and figures about the ‘.uk’ ccTLD. For example, the 20 most-frequently used words in ‘.uk’ domain names are used over 1.1 million times, with the top 10 occurring 700,000 times. At the top of the list is the word ‘service’, followed by ‘home’ and ‘shop’. There is only one geographical location in the top 20: ‘London’, with over 83,000 occurrences. ‘School’ and ‘hotel’ rank highly at 12 and 13. As well as the word ‘business’ itself, there are a number of business-related words in the top 20, including ‘solution’, ‘property’, ‘media’, ‘wedding’, ‘electric’, ‘training’ and ‘print’. Interestingly, ‘centre’ (as opposed to ‘center’) is in the top 20, perhaps indicating that domain names registered under ‘.uk’ predominantly use the UK English spelling of words, rather than the US spelling.

In certain instances, the words used in domain names can be seen as a mirror of UK society and its fashions and trends. For example, use of the term ‘chef’ in domain names increased from 356 in 2002 to 3,210 in 2012. In 2001 there were only two domain names using the term ‘cupcake’, but it is now used in over 4,500 domain names. Similar growth can be seen in terms related to industry sectors such as travel, finance and gambling.

Over the past 10 years, the year-on-year growth in use of the names of English cities has been consistent. In 2012 the total figure had grown to 333,028 across all 50 English city names. London was still first, representing over 20% of the total. Manchester (17,315) was the second most popular city, followed by Bristol (17,315) and Leeds (13,190). England’s second city, Birmingham, was only fifth in domain name terms with 12,366 mentions. The city with the highest growth factor over the past 10 years was Liverpool, with a growth factor of 21.9% between 2001 and 2012. Interestingly, York and Bath showed very high volumes at 21,000 and 20,000 respectively, but these figures were reduced by more than 50% when New York, Yorkshire and generic bathroom terms were filtered out.

Not surprisingly, vowels are the most frequently used characters in ‘.uk’ domain names, with the letter ‘E’ being the most popular. The letters ‘J’, ‘Q’, ‘X’ and ‘Z’ are used the least, and the letter ‘S’ is the most frequently used first letter.

David Taylor and Jane Seager, Hogan Lovells LLP, Paris

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