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UK Government Warns On .EU Domain Issues

January 7, 2019

The UK Government is advising UK holders of .EU domain names that they may need to consider switching to another TLD - and very soon.

It was back in March last year when the European Commission flagged with UK .eu registrants that many could lose their domain names due to Brexit - but the writing had been on the wall since at least 2016; .

This is due to eligibility criteria for .EU that stipulates registration is limited to individuals or companies from countries in the European Union. Post-Brexit, the UK won't be among them - unless a deal is struck specifically relating to this situation.

The UK Government has weighed in on the issue and the prospect of no deal being arranged.

It says:

"In its notice to stakeholders, the European Commission confirmed that in the event of the UK leaving the EU without a deal, the EU regulatory framework for the .eu Top Level Domain will no longer apply to the UK as from the withdrawal date."

Again, this means many businesses established in the UK but without a presence in the EU and individuals who reside in the UK will no longer be eligible to register .eu domain names - or even renew them.

Whether the EC will start triggering registration revocation immediately after March 29 remains to be seen - but the fact remains it will be within its power to do so. Perhaps that's not such an issue for hobbyists, but for businesses and other organisations it's a big deal and could be quite disastrous if evasive action isn't taken; i.e. setting up under another extension. While domain registration is cheap, the processes involved with switching over to another TLD can be complex, time-consuming and expensive, particularly for large organisations.

There is still some hope in for a new .eu Top Level Domain Regulation that will allow for UK .EU holders to retain their names - it's still being negotiated. An outcome - and a favourable one - is by no means guaranteed.

The situation with .EU might make many Australian registrants appreciate the stability of the .AU domain name space. While .AU has certainly had its ups and downs over the years, it's never faced anything quite like this.

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