MEP Letter Regarding EU Landrush

Sent to my MEP’s: Simon Coveney, Brian Crowley and Kathy Sinnott. As of the 19th of April, Brian Crowley is the only person to reply, with a promise to investigate the issue. Why am I not surprised?

Dear Sir/Madam,

Can you tell me what, if any, action you’ll be taking regarding the farce that was the “landrush” rollout of the .EU Internet domain name?

If you’re not familiar with the issue, in a nutshell an organisation called Eurid was appointed to run the .EU top-level domain name – which would allow ORGANISATION.EU domain names – by the European Union.

The process was developed at a legislative level and so took far longer to rollout than any technical matter should, however we (consumers and stakeholders) felt that this drawn-out process would lead to a better registry and a better system. We were wrong.

While the “Sunrise” phases of the rollout (during which trademark and other rights-holders were able to register their names before they became generally available) seems at this point to have gone pretty well, the open-registration “landrush” phase was another matter.

Technically, Eurid doesn’t seem to have been able to handle the rollout, which is pretty bad considering this process has happened before, and they had quite a lot of money available to them to prepare. (Hundreds of accredited registrars at €10,000 each!)

More importantly though, the systems seems to have been left open to “gaming” in a big way, and tens of thousands – if not hundreds of thousands – of EU domain names have been snapped up by unscrupulous operators that “registered” with Eurid with multiple identities, addresses, etc. Those domain names are now lost to Europeans.

This should not have happened. Whatever about Eurid’s technical ability, both they /and/ the European Union should have spotted these loopholes and blocked them long before – years before – the registry went live. Any competent registrar could have pointed them out (and probably did).

I would like to know if you will be addressing this issue as one of my MEPs, and if so what you will be proposing. Personally, I believe that Eurid’s accredited registrar list should be investigated /immediately/, and domain names confiscated from registrars that gamed the system.

These domains should then be re-released to the registration systems in an organised fashion. Eurid should also be investigated, and given more than a slap on the wrist whether this issue was caused by simple incompetence or something more nefarious.

I’ve included some links to commentary by Bob Parsons on the issue. Bob is the CEO of a very large domain registrar and therefore somewhat biased (and also a bit quick to words), however he has the gist of the situation right and his explanation remains one of the best available.

It should be noted for the record that I’m contacting you in my capacity both as a consumer that didn’t receive domain names that have been snapped up by a cybersquatter, and as a service provider in the domain name portfolio management business.

Thank you,
Adam Beecher

ICT Services