London-based businesses looking to add a bit of local flair to their online presence will from today be able to register for a new .London domain.
However, many companies and organisations that want to reserve the new addresses will still have a three-month wait (known as the 'Sunrise period') to see if their applications have been successful, with the first new websites set to launch in July.
Originally announced in February, the .London domains are among a raft of new web addresses being made available by internet governing body ICANN. The process will be overseen by London & Partners, the Mayor of London's official promotional organisation for the city, which has set up Dot London Domains Ltd to operate the registry, although no information has yet been revealed concerning pricing of the new domains.
Priority will go first to any organisations with trademarks on their own branding, meaning companies should be able to claim their respective .London domain name. This will be followed by those based in London with pre-existing domains under different suffixes, such as .co.uk.
If several competitors bid for the same address and none have a significantly strong case for priority, then the domain will go under auction to the highest bidder, although some businesses may benefit from a 'Premium' service offering them priority in order to prevent digital squatters.
The news has been welcomed by UK businesses, which are keen to make themselves stand out in the crowded global marketplace.
"The arrival of .London is a major milestone in the long history of the UK's capital, building a new home for the city online," said Jan Corstens, worldwide project partner, Trademark Clearinghouse, and partner at Deloitte."With a whole host of new web extensions currently launching on the Internet, .London is certainly one of the most anticipated arrivals - where businesses, organizations and individuals who want to associate themselves more closely with London online will soon have the opportunity to do so. Be it a small London café or one of the capital's prominent sports clubs, a dot London web address offers a stronger online connection to the London community surfing the web.