EU Domain Grabs Lead To Lawsuits

    July 25, 2006
    WebProNews Staff

The European Registry of Internet Domain names (EURid) suspended the registrations of over 74,000 .eu domains and accused 400 registrars of warehousing names for resale.

Domain tracking site Ipwalk thought something was rotten in Cyprus back in April, when they noticed Cyprus had a suspiciously substantial of .eu domain names registered:

Cyprus is in 5th place (74,481 registrations), an island with a population of less than 800,000. They have more .eu domain names than France, which has a population of about 60 million.

EURid noticed the incongruency as well. Convinced that some shenanigans had taken place, the agency made 400 registrars painfully aware that their actions constituted a breach of contract.

They also singled out three suspected front companies for specific attention, in a statement about the issue:

“In this case we are convinced that the domain name holders of the 74 000 .eu names (Ovidio Ltd, Fausto Ltd and Gabino Ltd) are acting as a front for a number of registrars. The domain name holders and the registrars can be regarded as one and the same. Since registrars should only register domain names for existing customers and not “warehouse” the names in order to resell them at a higher price, this is clearly in breach of the registrar contract,” says Herman Sobrie, Legal Manager of EURid.”

Some registrations have been suspended already, but for a different reason. EURid requires those holders to verify they are based within the European Union. Without that verification, they cannot register a .eu domain name.

Ipwalk cited a substantial drop in the number of .eu domains registered from Cyprus. Since the EURid took action, that number has dropped to 12,297 registrations, a much more likely figure given the size of the population.

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David Utter is a staff writer for WebProNews covering technology and business.