Whilst Google hasn’t announced what it will use the domain for as of yet if successful, some other big digital brands have already been granted their single letter domain – Yahoo! has secured y.co.uk, whilst Virgin has nabbed V.co.uk. Elsewhere, T-Mobile’s parent company Deutsche Telekom is up against Huawei and a number of other big brands to secure the rights to t.co.uk.
Several two letter .co.uk domains have been available since the early days of the Internet, such as BT.co.uk. But these were registered before Nominet’s formation. Since 1996, it has been impossible to register domain names consisting of less than three characters in the UK.
In terms of two-letter domains, DIY chain B&Q recently secured the rights to BQ.co.uk under a special trademark scheme, and this is the same initiative which secured Yahoo! and Virgin their single letter domains.
Following two registering phases so far, the ‘open to anyone’ land-rush phase is now underway and runs until 15th of June. Domains with more than one applicant will go to auction, and this could see some pretty high figures reached for the likes of A.co.uk.
There has been speculation that some of the letters not covered by trademarks could be snapped up by third parties such as cybersquatters or domain resellers, and this could well happen. However, if the buyer is shown to have procured a domain in bad faith, e.g. to exploit an existing brand, their purchase could be later challenged in court.