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03|04|2009 10:00 pm EDT

EURid Renews Contract to Manage .EU Namespace

by Chad Kettner in Categories: Registries

Rumor has it that EURid may have extended their contract with the European Commission to manage the .eu namespace for another 5 years. Although there is nothing official, Michele Neylon of ISquattedYour.EU reported the news leak and is still awaiting official confirmation, but it has informally been confirmed by several insiders.

While .eu is the third largest ccTLD in Europe with over 3 million domain registrations, EURid has been heavily criticized by many within the .eu community for its mishandling of the landrush period, its stubbornness to make necessary changes, and its failure to effectively promote the TLD.

In April 2006 Bob Parsons, the Founder and CEO of GoDaddy, mocked EURid’s handling of the landrush introduction and the way it allowed hundreds of phantom registrars to access the best domains without dealing with the same queue that legitimate registrars had to deal with, referring to it as “a really large scam” put on by “an inept registry with crafty businessmen”.

After Patrik Linden of EURid attempted to defend the process, stating that each new registrar was indeed a legal entity, Parsons reaffirmed his belief that the registry’s process was “incredibly inept”.

EURid later investigated allegations of abuse and suspended 74,000 .eu domain names and stated that 400 registrars had been sued for breach of contract. It turned out that the names were in fact hoarded by three companies – Ovidio Ltd., Fausto Ltd., and Gabino Ltd. – but somehow EURid failed to prove its allegations in court.

In the official ADR decision (.pdf), EURid was ordered to either release the domain names or pay €25,000 per hour for each affected name. EURid complied with the court order and is currently seeking for the registrar agreements between EURid and the registrars in question to be dissolved.

In August 2007, EURid took action against an alleged cybersquatter – Zheng Qingyin – by suspending 10,000 .eu names since she was not eligible to own the names as a non-European citizen. However, there haven’t been any updates on the situation since it was discovered that Zheng purchased all the domains through Buycool Ltd – an accredited .eu registrar based in China.

“This is one of EURid’s dirty little secrets”, explained John McCormac of WhoIsIreland.com on CircleID’s blog. “The management of EURid has been trying to ignore the problem like Zheng and other cybersquatters and cyberwarehousers in the .eu namespace because of the adverse impact that taking action would have on the .eu domains count. In simpler terms, it makes the management of EURid look bad having to admit that it has a massive cybersquatting/warehousing problem in .eu ccTLD.”

But beyond the blatant management pitfalls, EURid’s biggest shortcoming has been its inability to promote the .eu namespace. In 2008, McCormac reported that out of 1,723,638 .eu websites checked, only 13.37% were active and unique – compared to 16.79% of .eu sites being parked, 16.68% directing traffic elsewhere, and 6.02% being filled with duplicated content.

“In real terms, .eu [has] already begun to resemble a third choice TLD like .info or .biz,” explained McCormac. “While the total registrations figure may seem impressive, broken down on a country by country basis and compared against those country’s ccTLD and TLD holdings, .eu is not making any significant inroads into these markets. Even the cyberwarehousers are giving up on .eu ccTLD.”

[via ISquattedYourEU]

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