Thousands of .eu domain names abused
The European internet domain name authority, EURid, has suspended 74,000 .eu domain names and taken legal action against 400 registrars for abusing the service.
The move comes after a syndicate of registrars systematically acquired domain names with the intent of reselling them at a higher price – an act called warehousing.
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"Since registrars should only register domain names for existing customers and not 'warehouse' the names in order to resell them at a higher price, this is clearly in breach of the registrar contract," said Herman Sobrie from Belgium-based EURid in a statement.
The legal action came after a review of the system for .eu domains revealed a small number of companies had registered several hundred phantom companies in order to manipulate the system and allow them additional opportunities to grab names.
The non-profit EURid company feared that an abuse of the .eu name might lower the value of the European domain.
"When the system is abused there is a risk that the perceived value of .eu will decrease, not only for the almost 2 million legitimate holders of .eu domain names but also for all honest registrars," EURid said in a statement.
Court proceedings are set to begin at a Brussels court in October.
The 74,000 names have been put on hold and EURid hopes to make them available for registration again by the end of the year.
Addresses include "hallo.eu" and "rap.eu", according to German daily Die Welt.
EURid pointed out it will continue to investigate reports of fraudulent registrars.
It has already suspended a handful of other domains because the owner was unable to prove they lived within the EU.
The .eu top-level domain has been an unexpected success with EURid announcing earlier this month that it had sold its 2 millionth .eu domain in just three months.