EURid Suspends 74,000 .eu Domains

EURid, the registrar who manages the .eu domain, said Monday it had suspended 74,000 domain names due to suspicion of fraud. Three British companies, Ovidio, Fausto, and Gabino are accused of acting as a front for other registrars, some of which are based outside of the European Union.

In order to qualify for a .eu domain, the registrar must be based within the EU. EURid said it had already suspended several domain names because the companies could not prove they were based within the region.

"The domain name holders and the registrars can be regarded as one and the same," EURid legal manager Herman Sobrie said. "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."

Pending a court decision, the domain names remain suspended. If EURid is successful in its challenge, the group plans to make the registered names available for registration again.

EURid was criticized in April by CEO Bob Parsons, who said "grand manipulation and lax administration" allowed hundreds of fake registrars to grab domain names before legitimate customers could obtain desirable domain names. Parsons blamed one company -- backed by mega-millionaires in the United States, but it is not clear if Monday's action involved that company.

Only one of the companies is officially registered in the UK, Ovidio. According to the British government's listing of UK companies, the organization is said to do market research and opinion polling. All three companies have identical text on their Web pages, with only the company name changed.

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