Reorganisation of domain name register in its last phase

The Estonian Internet Foundation (EIF), the official registry for the '.ee' country-code top-level domain, is currently implementing the last stage of the reorganisation of the register, which involves the re-registration of active domain names under the new registration rules (for further details on the new rules please see "New ‘.ee’ domain name registration rules give mark owners a break").

Marek-Andres Kauts, chairman of the EIF’s management board, explained that the domain name registration costs used to be covered by the state, and that domain names did not have to be renewed, since they had no expiration date. It was thus common for domain name owners to forget to deactivate domain names that were no longer in use, and a significant number of unused domain names had accumulated over the years.

Domain name owners had until January 5 2011 to re-register their domain names and pay the annual registration fee. During the first 30 days of the termination period (January 5 to February 5), the domain names that were not re-registered were still active and domain name owners still had a chance to re-register them. On February 6, however, they became inactive and the related web pages and email addresses ceased to function. The final stage of the termination process will last until April 6 2011, when all domain names that have not been re-registered will be deleted from the register and become available for registration by everyone on a first-come, first-served basis.

The new domain name system, which was launched in July 2010, introduced a few key changes:
  • Foreign nationals are allowed to register '.ee' domain names;
  • Individuals can register more than one '.ee' domain name; and
  • An annual registration fee of €18.20 ($25) was introduced.
The introduction of the annual registration fee sparked much criticism, due to the fact that domain names used to be registered for free. EIF representatives explained that the EIF is a non-profit organisation and, therefore, the registration fee is necessary to cover the expenses related to the registration of domain names. However, the fee will decrease in the future if the number of registered '.ee' domains increases.

Under the new domain names rules, the EIF has also established a Domain Disputes Committee, whose task is to decide domain name disputes (please see "First domain name decision issued under new ADR system").

Aleksandra Pavlovic, PETOŠEVIC, Skopje

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