London is to become one of the first cities in the world with its own domain name, when “.london” launches in 2014.

The city has been awarded the right to its own top level domain (TLD) name by ICANN, the US-based organisation which oversees the internet.

London-based businesses, individuals and organisations will be able to apply first for web addresses on the new domain from spring 2014. Some of the “tens of thousands” of businesses that have already expressed an interest include Selfridges and Carnaby Street.

“Adopting the .london suffix will enable organisations to more closely associate themselves with our great city’s powerful global brand,” says mayor Boris Johnson. “This is also an excellent opportunity to expand London’s digital presence, which in turn is set to generate funds to invest back into the city.”

But some businesses may feel obliged to splash out on a domain name that they don’t really need, in order to prevent a competitor buying it instead. ICANN attempts to mitigate that risk somewhat by offering a trademark claims service, letting trademark holders prevent third parties squatting on a new domain.

The London domain will be operated by a new subsidiary of London & Partners, the capital’s official promotional organisation, called Dot London Domains Limited, and London-based Minds + Machines will be providing registry services.

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Photo Credit: Shoppers cross Oxford Street in central London August 15, 2013. Toby Melville / Reuters