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EURid Suspends 10,000 .eu Domain Names

EURid claims domains owned by Chinese woman.

EURid, the registry that manages .eu domain names, has suspended 10,000 registrations because it believes the registrant does not meet residency requirements.

According to various news reports, a Chinese woman Zheng Qingyin registered 10,000 domain names and is trying to resell many of them. Reselling domain names is, of course, not illegal. However, registrants of .eu domain names must meet domicile requirements including having a business or presence in Europe.

I’m surprised that EURid legal manager Herman Sobrie told the press that the woman is “cybersquatting”, given that many of the domains she registered are apparently generic domain names.

“This Chinese woman has registered over 10,000 names, she is without doubt cybersquatting,” Sobrie told Out-Law magazine. “We know she sells these names to people for serious prices. This is a phenomenon we don’t like at all, but there is nothing illegal about this.”

Many people in the industry blame .eu for its poor handling of the .eu sunrise period and initial launch. Because .eu is a country code domain, EURid wasn’t subject to the same restrictions and rules that top level domains face through ICANN. For example, registrars did not have to be ICANN-accredited. This led to a number of accusations that registrants were setting up numerous shell registrars and warehousing domain names. Indeed, many of .eu’s biggest registrants are actually U.S. and Canadian citizens. In October EURid suspended 74,000 registrations that it said were registered by registrars on their own behalf; not that of clients. That is forbidden by .eu’s rules. However, a court ruled that EURid would have to pay €25,000 per hour for each domain if it didn’t reactivate the domains.

.Eu’s poor oversight may have crippled .eu’s future. The domain has yet to take off as almost all of the domains are in the hands of investors, not end users. Thus, it’s not in the minds of end-uers in Europe.

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  1. John McCormac

    Looking at the domains that the Zheng operation has registered, a lot of them are far from generic. There is a clear pattern of abusive and bad faith registration of trademarks and business names. Zheng is the biggest single loser of ADRs (the .eu UDRP actions). But then unless you are tracking the .eu zone in detail, how would you know what domains Zheng has? The generic defence just does not stand up – this is a cybersquatting operation that has targeted businesses and trademarks. It is based around two Chinese .eu registrars using a somewhat tenuous link to the UK (apparently a mail drop address and a UK phone number as proof of domicile).

  2. Andrew

    John, I was basing my claims that a number of the domains were generic based on the following from EUobserver.com:

    “He explained that the woman had registered mainly generic names and numbers. “nobody is registering thousands of names just to have them, of course, so something else is going on there,” Mr Sobrie told EUobserver.”

  3. John McCormac

    Andrew, Herman Sobrie is not reliable as a source when it comes to what is cybersquatted. He is just trying to spin the situation to make EURid and its incompetent management look better than it really is. There are generics in the Zheng/Buycool/Blogdo list but there is also a very high level of pure cybersquatting of business names and trademarks. It is obvious that this is an organised cybersquatting/cyberwarehousing operation.

    EURid has been utterly incompentent when it comes to enforcing regulations regarding cyberwarehousing by registrars and cybersquatting and general entitlement issues. EURid manage to screw up the legal action against the Ovidio syndicate last year by breaking its own rules. It is very difficult to have any confidence in the management of EURid when it comes to dealing with the problems of .eu and the sooner these bozos lose the contract to run .eu ccTLD, the better it will be for everyone.

    I’ve been tracking the .eu zone here since 2006 and have approximately 2.25M .eu domains actively tracked. Genuine registrars with real clients tend to have completely different characteristics to cyberwarehousing /cybersquatting operations.

    The reason that Sobrie concentrated on the generics angle is because the Zheng/Buycool/Blogdo operation has been targeting the intellectual property of European and non-European businesses. It has registered the business names and trademarks of many of these IP owners as .eu domains.

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