What do the first registered domains from 1985 have in common? They all end with generic top-level domains (gTLDs). Unlike TLDs, which are country-specific, gTLDs focus on international web addresses. There were originally less than 10 different gTLDs, but this number has risen to several hundred thanks to new generic top-level domains.
Based on the United Kingdom’s intent to leave the European Union, the European Commission issued a notice to stakeholders concerning .eu domain names registered by UK residents and entities. The communication highlights that .eu domain names will no longer be available for UK residents and entities post-Brexit. Although this information is subject to intermediate measures that may be enclosed in an eventual withdrawal agreement, more than 300,000 domains may be at risk.
What will happen to .eu domains after Brexit?
After Brexit, individuals who reside in the United Kingdom as well as organisations that are established in the UK but not in the EU will no longer be eligible to register .eu domain names or renew .eu domain names registered before the withdrawal date. Registrars will not be permitted to process any requests for the registration or for the registration renewal of .eu domain names from the aforementioned bodies.
“As a result of the withdrawal of the United Kingdom, a holder of a domain name does no longer fulfil the general eligibility criteria… the Registry for .eu will be entitled to revoke such domain name on its own initiative and without submitting the dispute to any extrajudicial settlement of conflicts” (European Commission, March 2018).
What can you do to protect your .eu domain?
Although it is not yet certain that all .eu domains owned by UK residents and entities will be revoked once Brexit has taken place, there are certain precautionary steps you can take to prevent and minimise the negative impact of a revocation.
- The straightforward solution is to transfer ownership of your .eu domain to an EU subsidiary outside the UK before Brexit comes into force.
- If you don’t have an EU subsidiary outside the United Kingdom, you may want to think about registering a new domain so that you can start re-directing your traffic as soon as possible. If your .eu domain is revoked, redirects will no longer be possible. Redirecting your traffic without undue delay will allow the search engine to pick up on current signals and this will prevent a drop in Google rankings. This will also give you an opportunity to adapt your marketing as well as allowing your website visitors to adjust to the new domain.