We are a domain name registrar and hosting provider, so we aren’t going to get embroiled in a philosophical debate about Brexit. We, do, however care deeply about how Brexit can impact our clients and there is a tangible impact of Brexit on some of our clients and the products and services we provide them with. The most obvious one is with the .eu domain name.

The current .eu registration rules, as set by the EU authorities, restrict registration to people, companies or organisations with an address in the European Union or a couple of neighbouring countries:

i) an undertaking having its registered office, central administration or principal place of business within the European Union, Norway, Iceland or Liechtenstein, or
(ii) an organisation established within the European Union, Norway, Iceland or Liechtenstein without prejudice to the application of national law, or
(iii) a natural person resident within the European Union, Norway, Iceland or Liechtenstein.

When the UK voted to leave the European Union one of the probably unforeseen impacts was on digital assets like domain names.

We’ve been engaged with EURid, the European Commission as well as others to try and reduce the negative impact on .eu domain name registrants in the UK, which also includes Northern Ireland, when the UK leaves the European Union next year. Unfortunately the European Commission don’t seem to be interested in reaching any kind of sane compromise.

We agree that once the UK is outside the EU that its residents will no longer qualify to register .eu domain names.

However we also believe that any .eu domain name that is already registered to a resident of the UK should be “grandfathered” ie. left alone. Why? Because it’s the logical thing to do and by so doing the negative consequences on the entire .eu namespace are greatly reduced.

The negative impact of the current position being taken by the European Commission cannot be underestimated. They’re essentially saying that we will need to disable any .eu domain name that is associated with a UK registrant next year. That doesn’t make a lot of sense and would definitely give a negative impression of .eu domain names in general.

There’s also a risk that nefarious actors could pickup deleted .eu domains and use them for phishing and other types of attacks.

So what can you do?

If you are based in the UK and have a .eu domain name you have a couple of options:

  • Update the contact details to use an address in the EU
  • Wait for a further update from EURid

We are keeping an eye on this issue, but if you have any questions please let us know.

While we’ve focussed on the impact of Brexit on .eu domain names and strategies to mitigate the negative impact the .eu ccTLD isn’t the only European domain name registry with rules that will be impacted by the UK leaving the EU.

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