In an announcement by the European Commission, UK based companies and residents that own .EU ccTLDs will need to surrender those domain names after Brexit.  Here’s what the notice says:

As of the withdrawal date, undertakings and organisations that are established in the United Kingdom but not in the EU, and natural persons who reside in the United Kingdom will no longer be eligible to register .eu domain names or, if they are .eu registrants, to renew .eu domain names registered before the withdrawal date.

This is going to have some seriously big implications for companies or brands that have made their branding around .EU TLDs.  There are two things that will happen:

  1. They technically won’t be able to own or use the domain name for their web site
  2. UK citizens/companies aren’t going to be able to redirect the domain name to a co.uk or other TLD migrate to.

Not only that, the loss of the domain ownership could have implications for reputation management and encourage domain squatting as well.

The current schedule for Brexit is March 30, 2019 so if the European Commission is going to enforce this, it’d be a good idea for .EU domain owners to think about setting up a new domain name as soon as possible.  You’ll have an entire year to prepare the branding and marketing around a different domain name, as well as making sure that 301 redirects and any impacted hreflang changes have been dealt with.

The Register reports there are about 300,000 domains under the .eu top-level domain that have a UK registrant.

You can read the full announcement in this PDF document.

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