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EURid’s CEO is retiring

Kevin Murphy, December 9, 2021, Domain Registries

EURid’s long-serving CEO is leaving and the company has started looking for someone to fill the role.

A spokesperson for the .eu registry told DI this morning that Marc Van Wesemael is planning to retire after his replacement is found, which should be a matter of months.

Van Wesemael has been CEO (general manager) of the Belgium-based company since its foundation and since it was first awarded the contract to run .eu way back in 2005.

EURid announced without sentiment or fanfare this week that candidates should apply via an agency on this LinkedIn page.

Given the nature of the role as an EU government contractor, the company is looking for somebody familiar with the workings of the European Commission.

Van Wesemael’s departure announcement comes just a few months after EURid was re-awarded the contract to run .eu and its Greek and Cyrillic variants for another five years, giving his successor some breathing room.

EURid to drop 48,000 Brexit domains in one day

Kevin Murphy, November 23, 2021, Domain Registries

All the .eu domain names formerly belonging to Brits and UK residents will be released for registration on a first-come, first-served basis in one day, EURid announced today.

There are about 48,000 of them, and they’ll be released in batches starting at 0900 UTC on January 3, two days later than the previously announced date, the registry said.

The names all belonged to UK registrants that lost their eligibility when the country left the EU in January last year.

There were almost 300,000 .eu domains registered in the UK at the time of the Brexit referendum in 2016. Most have since dropped or been transferred to EU-based entities or EU citizens that still qualify.

Almost 300,000 UK .eu regs disappeared because of Brexit

Kevin Murphy, November 3, 2021, Domain Registries

UK-registered .eu domains dropped by about 43,000 in the third quarter, as the full impact of Brexit kicked in.

There were 3,714 domains registered from the UK at the end of the third quarter, according to EURid’s latest statistics.

This compares to 46,523 at the end of the second quarter, 150,024 a month before Brexit at the end of 2019, and 294,436 at the end of the second quarter 2016, just before the Brexit referendum.

UK-based residents that hold EU or EEA citizenship can still own .eu domains, and these are counted as a subset of the 16,676 “Eligibility based on citizenship” domains EURid started reporting this year.

Other .eu names previously owned in the UK will have been transferred to EU-based entities.

EURid said that at the end of September it had 3,705,728 .eu, .ею and .ευ domains in total, down quarterly from 3,731,298 and up from 3,576,302 a year earlier.

The total is still substantially down on the pre-Brexit quarterly peak of 3,907,406, at the end of 2014.

The fastest-growing territory was Latvia, at 6.8%, but that’s from a pretty low base and not really enough to counterbalance the UK losses.

The UK-registered names were given Withdrawn status at the end of June and the former registrants have until the end of the year to request reinstatement directly from EURid, before the names are batch-released back into the available pool.

EURid fends off rivals for .eu contract

Kevin Murphy, October 19, 2021, Domain Registries

EURid has been renewed as the European Union’s ccTLD operator for another five years.

The organization announced yesterday that the European Commission has asked it to continue to run .eu and associated internationalized domain names until October 2027.

EURid beat off competition from three competitors — the Estonian ccTLD registry and two Luxembourg non-profits that appeared to have been formed just to bid on the contract.

EURid has been running .eu since its inception in 2005.

Three rivals challenge EURid for .eu contract

Three organizations have emerged to rival EURid for the right to operate the .eu ccTLD.

The European Commission has published the list of four eligible applicants — which by law must be non-profits — for the .eu registry contract.

One of them is of course EURid, which has been running the TLD for over 15 years and could presumably be considered the favorite.

Another is the Estonian Internet Foundation, which already runs the .ee ccTLD for that country.

The other two appear to be unknown quantities, both formed in Luxembourg in December presumably solely to participate in the .eu tender.

One is known at The Open Registry or TORA. The other is called European Network Information Center or EU NIC.

The Commission has not published the bids, so little is known about these two entities.

The Commission will make its decision on the winner in 80 days.

The original request for proposals was delayed earlier this year after the Commission appeared to forget about Brexit.

EURid scraps residency rules for three countries

.eu registry EURid said today that it’s broadening the eligibility criteria for registrants to ex-pats from three countries.

The rule change means that if you’re a citizen of Norway, Iceland or Liechtenstein but do not live in those countries or in the EU, you’ll be able to register domains regardless of residency.

Those three countries are in the European Economic Area but not the EU. EEA residents have been able to register .eu names for a long time, but non-resident citizens were barred.

The rule applying eligibility to citizenship rather than residency has been available to full-fat EU citizens since 2019.

The number of affected people appears to be low. The combined population of all three countries is under six million, almost all of whom are Norwegian, and Norway is believed to have 100,000 citizens living overseas.

Brexit-hit domains can still be recovered

EURid has removed thousands of .eu domain names belonging to UK registrants from its zone file, but has dangled the possibility that they could still be recovered.

Due to Brexit, the UK is no longer a member of the European Union and its companies and citizens are no longer eligible for .eu domains, and EURid has been warning them for years that their domains are in jeopardy.

The latest phase kicked in yesterday, when the affected names were moves from a “suspended” to a “withdrawn” status. They now no longer function on the internet.

They’ll be released back into the available pool of names in batches early next year.

But EURid is now saying that affected registrants may be able to recover their names if they email the registry directly with proof of compliance before December 31.

Registrants can comply with the eligibility policy if they’re EU citizens living in the UK or UK citizens legally resident in the EU.

According to EURid’s web site, about 3,500 .eu domains are currently registered in the UK, but it’s not clear whether that includes domains that were withdrawn this week.

In two weeks, Brits will lose their .eu domains forever

UK registrants of .eu domains have just two weeks left to bring their registrations into compliance or face losing their names forever.

EURid today sent out its final warning to its UK customers — update your records or have your domains placed into an unrecoverable “withdrawn” status, which means they’re removed from the zone file.

These domains have been in a “suspended” status since January, but still recoverable.

To come back into compliance, records will have to be updated to either a registrant based in the post-Brexit EU 27 member states, or an EU citizen based in the UK.

The deadline is June 30, with the withdrawal axe falling the following day.

EURid sells 1,369 Cyrillic names in five years

EURid, the .eu registry, says the Cyrillic version of its TLD has amassed just 1,369 domain registrations in its first five years of operations.

The internationalized domain name .ею is predominantly used in Bulgaria, the only EU nation where Cyrillic is the primary official script. EURid says that 51% of its .ею names have web sites in Bulgarian.

The headline number is pretty much unchanged from the year-ago figure, and is down from 1,699 at the end of June 2019.

There are 37,107 Latin-script .eu domains registered to Bulgarians today, according to the registry’s web site.

The Bulgarian ccTLD registry Register.bg runs .bg and the Cyrillic .бг, but does not publish registration statistics for either.

.eu’s only other IDN version, the Greek .ευ, has 2,708 registrations but launched much later, in 2019.

Greece has a population of around 10.7 million, compared to Bulgaria’s seven million.

EURid says that Bulgarian registrar SuperHosting.bg joined its Registrar Advisory Board earlier this year, and that it is introducing a “Best of .ею and .ευ” to its annual awards ceremony.

Brexit specter creeping up on .eu

The .eu ccTLD shrank a bit in the first quarter as a result of Brexit finally kicking in fully.

Registry EURid reported that there were 3,681,337 registered .eu, .ею and .ευ domains at the end of March, down from 3,684,984 at the end of 2020, a dip of just a few thousand names.

Domains registered by UK registrants, who are still grandfathered in for another couple of months, stood at 59,779 at the end of the quarter, down from 77,000 at the end of 2020.

The top-line numbers were also affected negatively by Portugal, which has seen its numbers up and down over the last couple of years due to a cycle of registrar promotions and deletions.

Under EURid rules, Brits and UK residents have until the end of June to make arrangements for their domains before they are deleted.

Because EU citizens living in the UK and elsewhere outside the EU are now eligible for .eu domains, EURid has started breaking out that number too. It was 15,308, more than names registered in Croatia and Latvia, among other nations.

The Brexit impact was tempered by strong sequential growth of 9.4% in Ireland, from 78,030 to 85,381 domains.

Given the shared border, language, and confusing/controversial current trading relationship between the UK and Ireland, I wonder whether any of this Irish growth can be attributed to some kind of Plastic Paddy effect, in much the same way as applications for Irish passports increased following the 2016 Brexit referendum.

In percentage terms, the place with the strongest .eu growth in Q1 was the French territory of Saint Martin, which DOUBLED(!) its total in the quarter, growing from 1 to 2.