As of April 29th businesses across London were given the option of directly associating themselves with the UK capital and the brand of London.
Launching alongside .Berlin, .Wien (Vienna) and preceding .NYC, .London launched with over a thousand new domains that are set to completely change the face of the web, as part of a wider plan by ICANN, the global domain name organisation. With over 200,000 SMEs already registering their interest in the regional domain, .London is set to be as successful as its predecessors.
The increased interest in SMEs and domain names has however, brought to light some interesting stats. With a government report stating that there are over five million micro-businesses1 in the UK, it is surprising that over a third of them still don't have a website!
In an increasingly digital age, it is essential for businesses to build an online identity to match their offline presence. Local SMEs need to be found and, without a digital footprint, they are most certainly missing out on a huge slice of revenue and footfall.
Alongside the undeniable need for a digital footprint, .London provides businesses not only with the geographical gravitas of being directly associated with London, but also aligns them with the concept of being internet innovators.
Consumers are increasingly reliant on technology to accomplish even the most basic day-to-day tasks; from finding a coffee shop to navigating their way around an unknown part of town, consumers are dependent on the internet and the information it allows access to. Having a .London domain has the potential to increase customer interest and loyalty. There is still a strong sense of patriotism in the UK!
With the spotlight being on London recently due to the Royal Wedding and the 2012 Olympics, start-ups are flocking to the UK to benefit from being part of the brand of London. The .London domain name extension provides SMEs with a springboard from which to build their online profile and carve out a strong digital identity. Aligning a business with this internet development is a sure-fire way to get noticed and stay relevant in the digital age.
Securing a brand's safety is another reason to utilise the .London domain. It can be assumed that many brands that have signed up for this new domain name are global businesses and have branches in London. By associating their business with the UK capital, they are linking their future success to one of the most important markets in the world, and acknowledging themselves as a local entity in a global economy.