Brexit was always going to have problems and issues for businesses but none expected it to have an impact on business domain names.
Well, until Easter 2018 anyway, which was when a major problem for businesses was announced in well known and respected technology news site, The Register.
You probably chose your .EU domain for a really good reason, you want the world to know that either you are an EU-based business or your market is the EU, for example.
Brexit and the .EU domain
However, as a result of Brexit, the EU has announced that all .EU domains registered by UK businesses (and individuals) will be revoked on B-Day (Brexit Day) 31st March 2018
What this means is that if you are one of the 300,000 UK organisations or individuals who has registered a .EU domain you might well see your website disappear overnight.
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:
What’s in a (domain) name?
It’s not just your web site that could be affected, your email system, security certificates for encryption and e-commerce, and possibly even remote access to company assets for sales staff might be impacted too.
It will vary, obviously, depending on how you are set up, but checking this now is very sensible.
Perhaps the best approach is to do two things
- Immediately register a suitable .UK domain, and
- 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,
might change to,
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.
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: 01793 238020 email@example.com, the fixes are mostly straightforward and inexpensive to implement (without disruption, if you act quickly enough).