By Ben Anderson, Head of new gTLD services at NetNames

The .London Top Level Domain (TLD) registry was opened by London and Partners on 29th April 2014 and operated as an open registry, with restrictions only in the opening phases. Here is a guide designed to help businesses looking to own a .London domain name:

Develop a gTLD strategy for .London

Registrations for .London can be anywhere between three to 63 characters and will provide your organisation with a unique opportunity to create a tailored web presence that capitalises on the power of the capital’s global ‘brand’. To benefit from the introduction of this latest gTLD, your brand needs to consider how .London can fit within your existing domain name portfolio and register for the domains that will deliver the most benefit back to the business through increased online revenues or greater customer engagement

Think globally

The registry for .London will support international domain name (IDN) registrations in German, Italian, French and Spanish. Using IDNs as part of the new gTLD programme opens up the web to new markets and presents a big opportunity for your brand to operate on a global scale. The vast range of new addresses available will allow your business to tailor its online presence and marketing campaigns to reach new markets and audiences.

Applying for .London

Register trademarks in the Trademark Clearinghouse (TMCH)
Register your trademarks in the TMCH. Once the trademarks have been accepted then you are free to register your domain name in the sunrise period.
Participate in the Sunrise period
If your company has registered a trademark with the Trademark Clearinghouse then you are eligible for to take advantage of the Sunrise period, which opened on 29th April 2014. During this phase, trademark owners can purchase domain names before any other interested parties. Any valid duplicate applications made during the Sunrise period will be resolved through an auction once the sunrise period has closed on the 2nd June 2014.
London-based registrants
DotLondon is offering a Landrush phase, called the London Priority Period (LLP) where priority will be given to London-based registrants based on the following order:
• Applicants with proof of a registered address in one of the 32 London boroughs and a right for the name based on a trademark match
• Applicants who have a valid London address but no further validated business names or addresses
• Applicants without a valid London address but still want to apply during the Landrush phase
General availability
.London will be made available for the general public to register from the 9th September. Applications will be accepted on a first come, first served policy to the general public. The .London gTLD will be available to any applicant without restriction in the General Availability phase.

Protect your brand

As the first wave of .London domain endings are made available to the general public for registration, it is essential that brand holders have a cost-effective trademark policing programme that balances registering trademarks in the Clearinghouse, identifying relevant domains and monitoring for any infringements from cybersquatters, fraudsters and phishing

Manage your .London domain

Registrations for .London can be made for a one year period so ensure that you have domain name management policies that can monitor for expiry dates and handle domain renewal notices

The launch of .London will help maintain the capital’s position at the forefront of the global digital economy and allow local businesses to capitalise on their location. The launch of .Berlin has already proved a great success, with a record number of businesses submitting registrations designed to strengthen their brand’s association with Germany’s capital. Similar effects are also likely to be seen for the introduction of .London, so businesses should start to prepare for the change that is happening to web addresses and look to purchase those domains that will add business value.

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