Estonian Domain Reform Ends April 6, 2011

Feb 23 2011 - 10:59

The Estonian Internet Foundation (EIF), the official registry of Estonian .ee country code top-level domain (ccTLD), is at the last stage of the domain register reorganization, which consists of re-registering active domains under the new rules. The domains that were not re-registered became inactive on February 6 and the related web pages and email addresses ceased to function. That said, the owners can still re-register these domains until April 6.

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

The domain name owners had until January 5 to re-register their domain names and pay the annual registration fee. During the first 30 days of the termination period, January 5–February 5, the domains that were not re-registered were still active and domain owners still had a chance to re-register them. On February 6, they became inactive. The final stage of the termination process will last until April 6, when all domains not re-registered will be deleted from the register and will become available for new registration to everyone on a first-come, first-served basis.

The transition to the new domain 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;
  • An annual fee for registration of domain names of EUR 18.20 (USD 25) was introduced.

The introduction of the annual registration fee sparked much criticism, considering that domains were registered for free before. The EIF representatives explained that the EIF is a non-profit organization where the registration fee is derived from the expenses related to domain names, meaning that the fee will be reduced in the future if the number of registered .ee domains increases.

According to the new domain rules, the EIF also established the Domain Disputes Committee, whose task is to consider and rule on domain disputes.

For more information, please contact Aleksandra Pavlovic at our Macedonia office.

Source: Estonian Internet Foundation (EIF)

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