European Commission opens bidding for the .eu Registry

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The EC has issued a call for tenders for .eu, one of the largest country-specific Top Level Domains in the world

The EC’s Directorate General for Communication Networks, Content and Technologies last week announced the tender process for a five-year contract to oversee its 3.6 million domain names. The new Registry operator will take control of the .eu TLD starting October 2022.

The successful bidder “will be entrusted with the organisation, administration and management of the .eu TLD,” according to the EC. This will happen through “an open, transparent and non-discriminatory selection procedure.”

The TLD must be EU-centric in its operation – and its ownership

In it’s call announcement, the EC specified that “the purpose of the .eu TLD is to help enhance the Union identity and promote Union values online.”

These values include “multilingualism, respect for users’ privacy and security, respect for human rights, as well as specific Union priorities in the digital area.”

The Commission is taking great pains to make sure that the entire bidding process is secure and above board. This comes after recent scandals involving pay to play Registry bidding schemes. One such example is what recently took place in Colombia over its trendy “.co” TLD.

Brexit plays an indirect role in the process

The Brexit conflict has impacted the Registry business. The current .eu Registry operator is EURid. They struggled earlier this year to execute a diktat from the EC that required all UK owned enterprises be stripped of their .eu domains.

EURid had to cancel over 317,000 .eu domains registered in the UK under that order. That represents about 10% of the total registered .eu domains. EURid probably lost a commensurate amount of revenue from that change.

Change is in the wind?

EURid has been running .eu since its inception 15 years ago. This means they should be positioned to win the rebid. However, the EC has been highly critical of EURid in recent months.

The call for tenders may indicate a desire for change. “The European Commission is launching the process to select the next Registry for the .eu Top-Level Domain (TLD),” it starts. Many observers have noted the subtle use of the word, “next” in the announcement.