Euro Group Warns Of Fraud In Coming ".Eu" Internet Domain
LONDON — The European Commission is advising companies and individuals to beware of fraudsters during the run-in to the intended introduction of the .eu top-level domain (TLD) at the beginning of 2006. Registration of addresses is due to start later this year.
The European Union now includes 25 western and central European countries and the use of the .eu TLD is expected to promote the single market within the EU and a sense of European identity.
However, Eurid, the organization selected by the European Commission to operate the .eu Registry, last October, has yet to accredit registrars — companies which can register domains on behalf of end users — and agree the details of registration policy with the European Commission and other interested parties. This is giving rise to some companies offering to register, pre-register or reserve .eu internet addresses for companies and individuals in return for money. "Given a risk of confusion and even fraud, use of "pre-registration" services is not recommended by the Commission. In any case consumers and companies are encouraged to check exactly what is and what is not being offered," the European Commission said in a statement issued Thursday (April 21).
The European Commission is also stipulating a four-month "sunrise" period, intended to allow owners of "prior rights", such as trademark holders and public bodies, to register their names as domain names before other eligible parties. This is being done to avoid so-called "cybersquatting", where an organization or individual finds that someone else has registered their trademark, company, personal or other name as a domain name, and then tries to sell it to the rightholder for a profit.
A network of validation agents is being set up to check that applications filed during the period comply with the sunrise rules.
Eurid, a non-profit consortium of three registrars from Belgium, Italy and Sweden appointed by the European Union to run the .eu TLD for five years and recognized by the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), is working on final preparations with the aim of launching the first phase of registration later this year, the European Commission said.
The .eu TLD is not intended to replace existing national TLDs such as .uk for the U.K., .fr for France, .de for Germany, and so on. but it would complement them and give users the option of having a pan-European Internet identity, the Commission said.
A factsheet on the introduction of the .eu TLD could be found here when this story was first posted.
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