It emerged last night that the organisation responsible for operating the .eu top-level domain has suspended 74,000 .eu domain names and has sued 400 registrars for breach of contract.
The move by EURid was prompted, in its own words, by “abusive behaviour from a syndicate of registrars” it alleges have systematically acquired domain names with the intent of selling them.
It terms this practice “warehousing” and says the practice is not permitted.
“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,” said Herman Sobrie, legal manager of EURid.
“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,” Sobrie added.
EURid said that it takes its role of managing the European identity on the internet seriously and said that when the system is abused there is a risk the perceived value of the .eu domain will decrease, impacting legitimate .eu domain owners and registrars.
It says it constantly monitors the registrations of .eu domains as a matter of quality control.
EURid says that a handful of .eu domains have already been suspended because their holders have been unable to prove that they are based within the EU.
It adds that the outcome of the remaining suspended domain names awaits a court decision and pending that outcome those domains could be made available for registration again.
By John Kennedy