On 29th April 2014 at 5pm, the Dot London registry opened for applications, enabling businesses to tie their brand to the capital with a .London domain name and registered Trademark owners take priority! Is this an opportunity to consider?
London is one of the most famous and influential cities in the world, an economic hub, ranking second in last year’s Global Cities Index. Anyone interested in affiliating themselves with London or who has an interest in London can now do so through the Dot London scheme.
This 1st phase which will last until 31 July 2014 is known as London Priority Phase and gives registered Trademark owners and London based businesses priority over others to changing their domain name to .London.
London Top Level Domain (shortened to TLD) is the brainchild of London & Partners (previously VisitLondon), a non-profit public private partnership funded by the Mayor’s Office.
The idea and application came about due to ICANNs (Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers), liberalisation of domain names in 2008. This change has prompted over a 1000 new domain names to be registered by the organisation.
So what are the benefits of a Dot London domain name?
Intuitive businesses have been using domain names for years to create more memorable names. For example, hypothetically, letsgo.to for a travel company. But this scheme is mostly about positive brand association, much like trademarks. The stronger and more reliable your brand, the better and by tying your company to London, you are able to make use of London's prestige and recognition online.
Gordon Innes, CEO of London & Partners says “We saw a tremendous opportunity to create a world-class, trusted TLD for London, to be operated in the public interest and where any profits are reinvested for the benefit of London and Londoners. We thought that was too good an opportunity for London to miss.”
Plenty of London brands are already looking to take advantage of this new domain. Of the 841,000 businesses that London is home to according to the House of Commons Library 2013 Business statistics,www.mydotlondon.com reports brands such as Selfridges, the ExCel and Carnaby Street want to give their urls the London look.
With regard to SEO, Gordon Innes believes a .London TLD could make it easier for the right customers to find you. This will depend, however, on the relative success of the .London domain as a whole. Innes says:
Should the domain be successful, there is argument to say it would improve SEO ranking as the London extension could act as a keyword seach. Not to mention those seeking London content will have Google results returning said domain holders. When SMEs spend £22,000 on average a year on SEO, the chance to improve Google rankings is a big plus point.
But wait, there's more! With the new TLDs being made available, all those high-value keywords already snapped up by .com and .co.uk sites will be made available again. That means businesses who missed out on crucial keywords have another chance to swipe them with the .London TLD.
If you are a business in leisure and tourism there is also practical benefit. By using Dot London you will be able to identify at a top level to the millions of visitors London attracts every year. London is the second most visited city in the world and improved online visibility could increase business for those who service the industry.
So if you are a trademark owner and have interest in London, check out if you want to take advantage of this new scheme