Do you have any idea what "wind and kite" means? No? Well, it's Cockney rhyming for “website.” But from tomorrow, rather than lobbing geezer slang around, you'll have a much easier time making sure the world knows your business is from London.
Tuesday marks the launch of the .london, and addresses using the new generic top-level domain (gTLD) will go on sale for the first time.
More than 100,000 firms have registered their interest in using the gTLD, which its proponents hope will be the digital equivalent of growing up within the sound of Bow Bells.
Last week, Mayor Boris Johnson said: "There is enormous interest in Dot London right across the capital, not just from high-street brands but also the small businesses that are the lifeblood of London’s economy. London leads the world in technology and our businesses are among the most dynamic and innovative anywhere, so it is no surprise so many see Dot London for the great opportunity it is.”
Inevitably, some observers are warning of a squatting risk.
Matt Sammon, a specialist in internet trademark matters and partner at the legal firm Marks & Clerk, warned:
“This and all the other new domain names present great branding opportunities, but also great branding risks to businesses, whether based in the capital or not. It will allow businesses to associate their name with an iconic city brand, but will also give room to domain name squatters to take advantage by buying up .london addresses using other companies’ names.
“Avenues exist for businesses to defend their trademarks without having to actually buy a web address. Whether or not a business is based in London, it can pre-empt abusive registrations under the .london domain or any other of the new domains by registering its details with ICANN’s Trademark Clearinghouse."
Several firms have taken to Twitter to announce their intention of buying up a .london domain, including the posh noshery Fortum & Mason.
Other organisations understood to be signing up for a new domain include West Ham, Selfridges and the London School of Economics. ®