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Are you dot-EU?

Soon you must be something else!

Brexit was always going to have unexpected or unintended consequences, but a particularly nasty one for business was reported just before Easter:

The EU is suggesting it will revoke all .EU domains registered by UK individuals and businesses on “Brexit Day”, 31st March 2019.

If you have a .EU domain name for your business, it’s probably for a very good reason. Most probably you want the world to know that either you are an EU-based business or your market is the EU. There are reportedly more than 300,000 individuals and companies in the UK who do this. Having your domain vanish overnight could be catastrophic, and a .COM domain is unlikely to help you very much (in this context it’s saying quite the wrong thing).

Obviously, continental domain registrars may well take advantage of this, offering to take on your domain and “fix” the problem for a (presumably large) fee, but that also has issues. The European Commission has hinted it is unhappy with that arrangement too; they will no longer allow you to own an .eu domain (that’s their whole point), so you are putting yourself at some commercial risk (similar to not owning IP in any products you make), and the EU is legally bound to prefer “the good of the EU” in any contractual dispute. Thankfully though, there are alternatives:

Perhaps the best approach is to do two things

  1. Immediately register a suitable .UK domain, and
  2. Point your .EU web traffic to it as soon as possible.

You have a choice of .uk domain name, and you can still represent your EU connection in it, if that’s crucial. For example,

bloggs-transport.eu

might change to,

bloggs-transport-eu.uk

We realise this isn’t ideal, but the second name is safe as it can’t be affected by any disruption the EU Commission might cause. You would have normal rights to the name, under English law, and, if it’s done right, there’s almost a whole year for your clients to get used to your new URL. Thus the risk is minimised, and it becomes one aspect of Brexit that can’t hurt you further commercially.

Bristol IT Company are domain registrars, directly with Nominet the .uk domain registry. There are no intermediaries. We can help you with this, and make sure that your redirected domain works commercially for you as well as it can, for example helping you tune your SEO so that it’s visible in Google searches, and making sure the “relocated” web site is hosted so as to be both secure and extremely fast.

If this change goes ahead—and this is much more likely than unlikely in our opinion—you have less than a year for clients to become used to the change. This isn’t something to hesitate over: the implication is that no redirection will be possible after 31st March 2019, so at that point your site will simply vanish off the internet. People may even think you’ve gone bust!

Right now, you have enough time for this NOT to become an expensive issue. The longer you leave this one, the more electronic business disruption is likely to cost you come Brexit day.

If you have a .eu domain and you are worried, please get in touch: the fixes are mostly straightforward and inexpensive to implement (without disruption, if you act quickly enough).

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