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Old 8th April 2006, 10:33 PM
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British companies panic on .eu opening

'Mass panic' as .eu domain deadline falls

Users today reported that the main registration site, run by the European Union, was operating very slowly, suggesting that it was experiencing heavy use.

A number of companies have already lost their claims to their preferred pieces of cyberspace, underscoring the fierce competition for key online assets, which have been allocated so far on a first come, first served basis.

Land Rover was beaten to discovery.eu by the American-based Discovery Channel. Both companies got their applications in within four minutes of registration opening.

Ralph Lauren and Nestle both lost out on the polo.eu domain name to Volkswagen.

"The alarm bells should be ringing for any company which has yet to secure its trademarks in .eu," Jonathan Robinson, the chief operating officer of NetNames, a registration service that manages the domain name portfolios for over 30 per cent of the FTSE 100, said.

"As of today there’s no protection for companies’ trademarks and it is open season on the .eu domain name for competitors, domain name speculators and cybersquatters."

Cybersquatters acquire domain names linked to high-profile brands with the intention of later selling them to the brands’ owners at a profit. The four-month closed period was designed to limit opportunities for such speculation.

It is feared that British companies, which are lagging their continental rivals in the race for .eu addresses have now opened themselves up to exploitation.


http://business.timesonline.co.uk/ar...123483,00.html
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