.Me.uk domain scheduled for release

The personal second-level domain is on target for a successful launch on 14 January

A new second-level domain (SLD) set to arrive next week will put a more personal spin on UK Web addresses.

The .me.uk domain is intended to work in the same way that .co.uk does for British businesses, but is reserved for the names of individuals who have some connection to the UK. Rules for the new SLD state, "the registrants will be Natural Persons who have an association with the UK" and that, "...the domain name should be a reasonably faithful representation of that person's legal name."

The creation of a specifically personal domain has been on the cards for a number of years. Its arrival coincides with the launch of other new top-level domains (TLDs), including .biz.

On 11 January the .uk domain name registry Nominet will take a vote on whether the new SLD should be made live. If the vote is successful, the .me.uk domain will launch at one minute past midnight on Monday 14 January.

Registrations for the new domain names will be awarded on a first come, first served basis. The Internet Service Provider (ISP) Zen is now accepting pre-orders for .me.uk domain names, on the basis that if the SLD becomes live, it will submit all requests to Nominet within the first five minutes of its launch.

Orders are being taken exclusively online. Nominet has set the cost price for each .me.uk domain name at £50, but members of the public are likely to be charged around £100 by their ISP for a personalised domain name. Such charges generally include the cost of hosting the domain name.

The SLD will be available in the form "name.me.uk" -- for example, "jane.me.uk". All disputes will be dealt with by the Nominet dispute resolution process. "If ISPs are asked to prove a customer's name, it may become a logistical nightmare for them," said Ian Buckley, marketing manager at Zen.

For everything Internet-related, from the latest legal and policy-related news, to domain name updates, see ZDNet UK's Internet News Section.

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