On 1 December, an online gold rush will take place as nearly 3,000 previously unavailable .uk Internet domains are released for sale by the UK Internet registry Nominet.
Up until now these domains, which include single and two character domains were never made available for technical and policy reasons.
Nominet is expecting high levels of demand, as domains such as ba.co.uk and aa.co.uk will obviously be snapped up immediately.
To cope with this, instead of its usual first come first serve policy, Nominet will release the short domains to trademark rights holders via a staged process.
Trademark rights holders will be allowed to apply for a one or two character domain that matches their trademark, and will have until 17 January 2011 to do so, with the burden of proof being on the rights holder to demonstrate they were using the trademark before 2008.
If there is more than one verified application, domains will be auctioned to the highest bidder, so there is a very real possibility that some big names could lose out, and a huge opportunity for savvy rights holders in the industry to get their hands on a valuable bit of Internet property.
"Having the .uk short domain URL can enhance brand value and increase customer access to businesses and individuals via search engines and beyond," said Nominet senior legal counsel Nick Wenban-Smith.
A full list of the domain names to be made available is located at www.nominet.org.uk/go/shortdomains.
This was first published in November 2010