Individuals looking for an online identity now have their own space in the .uk domain — .me.uk opened for registration yesterday.
An overwhelming majority of the members of the UK's national registry Nominet, mostly internet service providers, voted for the creation of the new name. This is no surprise — they stand to earn money from those wishing to secure the names.
No other SLD (second-level domain) has been added to the UK domain name space since Nominet was founded in 1996, the organisation said in a statement.
"By lunchtime on Monday we had 1,300 .me.uk registrations," said Nominet. "If you compare that to the number of co.uk names registered, this is quite high and demonstrates the interest in this new SLD." The first me.uk name registered was lucas.me.uk.
Before now, internet addresses ending in .uk were largely used by businesses — .co.uk is the most popular SLD in the UK.
Other SLDs in use include .gov.uk (government), .ac.uk (academic establishments) and .org.uk (non-profit organisations).
Me.uk domains are registered on a first come, first served basis. The registration fee starts at £50 ex VAT, but will gradually be lowered over the coming six months to £5. The initial high price is intended to discourage cybersquatters from registering domain names in bulk, Nominet said.
It is too early to tell whether the high-price tactic is working, but some generic names are being registered, said the Nominet spokeswoman.
"We have no strong evidence of cybersquatters, but quite a few of the generic names have been registered, things like text.me.uk. However, at the moment it is a good mix of people's names and generic names," she said.
The .me.uk domains are not meant for commercial use, but an owner could use the domain as a front for commercial services as Nominet has no power over what the domain is used for, the spokeswoman said.