Following Brexit, Future Of Hundreds Of Thousands Of British-Registered Domains In Doubt

eco-german-internet-industry-associationThe future of hundreds of thousands of domain names are in doubt following the UK’s “Brexit” referendum where Britons decided to leave the European Union. The TLD to be most impacted is .eu which has 294,000 registrations to individuals and companies in the UK out of a total of 3.82 million registrations, according to the latest EURid quarterly report. Along with .eu, .it and .fr among others require registrants to be based in the European Union or from the European Economic Area.

The future of these domain names has been addressed in a discussion paper published by the German internet association, eco, called Brexit – Challenges for the Domain Industry?.

So assuming the Brexit happens in a few years, what happens to the affected domain names? And also to the registrars in other European countries who have customers based in the UK?

The eco discussion paper notes there has already been a change in behaviour with registrars observing a drop-off in registration numbers.

“With our paper and the opening of a discussion forum, we would like to contribute to making the impact of Brexit clear and understandable for companies and customers, as well as – on the basis of expert knowledge – contributing towards the rapid creation of legal certainty for all those involved,” said lawyer Thomas Rickert, Leader of the eco Names & Numbers Forum.

Looking to the future the paper presents five options for how the problem is likely to be addressed. They also take into consideration that a bilateral agreement between the EU and the UK could potentially be made that includes domain registrations and prevents an interim depletion in registrations. The options are a suspension of registrations ordered by the European Commission, a grandfathering for existing registrations, all registrations could be revoked, the use of proxy registration services and finally, that the UK stays in the European Economic Area. Stay tuned!

To download the eco paper, Brexit – Challenges for the Domain Industry?, in full, go to:
https://numbers.eco.de/wp-content/blogs.dir/21/files/20160729_brexit_challenges_for_the_domain_industry.pdf