Forty business leaders from across London have endorsed the new Dot London internet domain. In an open letter published today the heads of some of the capital’s most recognisable brands, business organisations, charities and SMEs say they are backing Dot London and call on other businesses to do the same.
In the letter the business leaders say: “For the first time in a generation London businesses have an opportunity to claim a web address that associates them with London, one of the greatest cities on earth, and make their web address more relevant and memorable”
They add: “It is hard to imagine that 25 years ago few of us had heard of the internet. Now we take it for granted: doing business, watching films and buying groceries.” However, they warn that as the internet changes so businesses must evolve to stay relevant to their customers.
London will become one of the first cities in the world to launch its own domain when names go on sale April 29. It marks the start of a three-month period during which Londoners will be given priority in reserving a new Dot London web address. Trademark holders will also be given priority during the period.
More than 200,000 London businesses have indicated they are likely to register a Dot London domain according to a poll of London based SMEs conducted in January.
The Mayor of London Boris Johnson, who is supporting Dot London, said: “There is enormous interest in Dot London from businesses right across the capital, not just from high street brands but from 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 that so many see Dot London for the great opportunity it presents them.”
West Ham United Vice-Chairman Karren Brady CBE, said: “As the traditional London Club, with roots formed at the heart of the East End in 1895, a move to become the first football club to use the Dot London domain is a natural fit for West Ham United.”
“We are a Club that is rightly proud of our heritage and tradition, having been formed as the works team of the Thames Ironworks Shipbuilding Company. Our move to the Olympic Stadium, situated in the new epicentre of the Capital – Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park – in 2016, is therefore one that is befitting of our being innately linked with London, its history and its people.”
“Our new domain of whufc.london will provide the perfect platform for the Club’s bespoke microsite dedicated to our stunning new home and London’s most iconic sporting arena.”
The arrival of Dot London is part of a huge expansion of the internet which will see ICANN, the global internet body, release more than 1,000 new internet domains as alternatives to .com or .co.uk. Commentators have hailed it as the biggest change to the internet since the advent of the World Wide Web.
Deborah Meaden, the entrepreneur and Dragon’s Den investor, said: “Successful business leaders are always looking for opportunities to stay one-step ahead of the competition. Changes in technology, like the expansion of the internet and the release of the new Dot London domain, present a real opportunity for companies to gain a competitive advantage, to innovate, to refresh their brand and become more relevant to their customers.”
Gordon Innes, Chief Executive of London & Partners, the Mayor’s official promotional organisation for London, said: “We want Dot London to become the internet address of choice for Londoners. For the first time, businesses, organisations and individuals across the capital will have an internet address which has a clear association with our city’s global brand. The new city domain will offer short, memorable and instantly recognisable web addresses for businesses, and particularly London SMEs, to use to trade, innovate and collaborate.”
Another business backing Dot London is the New Covent Garden Market. Jan Lloyd, Chief Executive Covent Garden Market Authority, said: “We are very excited about the prospect of applying for a Dot London web address. This year marks the 40th anniversary of New Covent Garden Market and we are working on plans to provide a new market here at Nine Elms, creating a new food and flower centre for London. Our plans for the website for our new market will put London at the heart of our web address.”
With less than two weeks before Dot London domains go on sale preparations are underway to make the first Dot London websites live. As part of a pioneer programme being run by Dot London, dozens of websites will be made live early as a showcase for the new domain. A number of companies will be able to make their sites live in time for the launch on April 29. They include: The London Symphony Orchestra, Fortnum and Mason, The Commitments, and TechHub (for a full list of pioneer sites going live see Notes to Editors).
One of the SME pioneers that will go live early with a new Dot London website is The AllStars Collective, which works with some of London’s leading musicians. Paul Pacifico, Chief Executive of The AllStars, said: “London is a centre of excellence for popular culture and contemporary music. We are one of only a handful of net exporters of music in the world and London has become the base for many of the global icons in music. We are proud to fly the flag for London with a new Dot London domain and we look forward to making a real hit with our new web address.”