Monday, April 10, 2006
Thousands lose out to touts in sale of .eu web addresses
Internet touts have used a legal loophole to buy thousands of Europe's new internet addresses, thwarting attempts to crack down on cybersquatters and unscrupulous traders.
The new addresses, ending in .eu, went on sale yesterday after years of planning by European policymakers. For the past decade websites have used suffixes such as .com and .co.uk, but organisers said a continental equivalent could prove pivotal for the European internet industry.
It quickly emerged, however, that some traders have been using a loophole in trademark law to claim ownership of generic words such as "fashion" and "football", or names such as "Africa" and "Glasgow". The result is that many of the most valuable domains went to private dealers before the public sale started.