Big Ben and London busThe slew of new global top level domain (gTLD) names continues apace with news that the capital-centric .london extension is almost ready to go live.

As the name would imply, .london addresses are initially reserved for businesses that have a local presence within the capital city.

Applications for domains using the new gTLD will open on 29 April. London & Partners who will administer the address space claims that thousands of local businesses, including well-known names like Selfridges and Carnaby Street, have already expressed an interest in securing their new domain name. A YouGov survey also suggests that a quarter of London firms are interested in .london addresses – equivalent to 200,000 businesses.

London & Partners has announced an initial three-month application period during which would-be registrants will be vetted to reduce enquiries and instances of cybersquatting. In this way trademark owners will be able to stake their claim on a .london domain early, or to challenge fraudulent registrations.

London is one of only a handful of cities globally that has been assigned one of the gTLDs by international domain governing authority ICANN. Other lucky cities include New York (.nyc) which is expected to go live around the same time as .london.

Unfortunately for other UK cities, there are not yet any plans to release similar locale-specific gTLDs – bad news for Edinburgh, Cardiff, Birmingham, Glasgow and Manchester. But if your business has a few spare million dollars, you could always apply to ICANN to run a localised gTLD yourself!

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