‘.eu’ Domains Landrush Turns into "Fiasco"

April 11, 2006
April 11, 2006 – (HOSTSEARCH.COM) – Residents of the European Union can now register a ‘.eu’ European Domain name and in the months building up to the current ‘landrush’ Europe's major companies have tried hard to ensure competitors do not receive the domain name they need.

330,000 applications have been made by European businesses for around 235,000 domain names leaving significant scope for domain name disputes should two or more companies claim they have the ‘right’ to use a specific domain. Approved on a “first come, first served basis”, a number of companies, big and small, have lost out.

A good example of the problems inherent in ‘.eu’ registration is ‘discovery.eu’. Although both companies submitted registrations within minutes of each other, it was Discovery Channel who beat Land Rover to the converted domain. "The alarm bells should be ringing for any company which has yet to secure its trademarks in ‘.eu’," said Jonathan Robinson, Chief Operating Officer of NetNames. "There's no protection for companies' trademarks and it's open season on the ‘.eu’ domain name for competitors, domain name speculators and cybersquatters."

"The demand for ‘.eu’ has been very strong but being first is the key and major brands such as Land Rover have already missed out," Robinson added. "It's worrying that British businesses are so far behind their European rivals in protecting their brands online and over the coming months there are sure to be a number of high-profile, costly disputes which could so easily have been avoided."

However popular the new domains are, GoDaddy.com’s (http://www.godaddy.com) CEO and Founder Bob Parsons asked, “What happens when you match an inept registry with crafty businessmen?” According to Mr. Parsons the answer is simple - “a really large scam”. In his blog Mr. Parsons points the finger at the body in charge of administering ‘.eu’ domains, EURid registry, who he suggests made life too easy for potential cyber squatters and other malicious registrants.

“The landrush was supposed to make the process fair,” said Mr. Parsons. “It’s important to remember that the purpose of the landrush introduction period of a registry, is to provide a fair way to give everyone an equal chance at getting the really good names that are available early on. To do this, most registries take great pains to set up a level playing field, so that all registrars have an equal chance of getting these good names for their customers. The requirements to be a ‘.eu’ registrar were just too easy. To be a registrar for the ‘.eu’ registry, companies had to attest that they were an individual business entity and were only applying for one registrar accreditation, attest that they were offering registrations to their customers on an equal basis and make a deposit of 10,000 euros (about US $12,000). That was about all it took to be a ‘.eu’ registrar. There was no verification that ‘.eu’ registrars were really registrars, or were ICANN accredited. In fact, the EURid registry made no attempt to verify that those who applied to be ‘.eu’ registrars were really businesses at all.”

More of Bob Parson’s comments on this issue can be seen on his blog at http://www.bobparsons.com/EULandrushFiasco.html.

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