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.eu domain cybersquatting scam
What to do if someone has got your .eu domain. Be aware there is a SCAM on the go with dot eu domains, so don't be surprised if the cybersquatters got your .eu domain instead of you! There has been a huge spate of bad faith registrations of dot EU domains by cybersquatters, despite the eu domain registry having in place a scheme which was supposed to prevent cybersquatting.
The scam involves the culprits then holding you to ransom for 700 euros, probably in a spam email sent by a robot to a large number of people who are suffering in the same way you are. Whether they are direct about it being blackmail or whether they pretend they have a genuine site that seeks "cooperation", you should not get involved. It's a scam, and it's based on cybersquatting, which is one of the evil things of the present age, a thing which leads previously sensible people to be moved to murder and/or suicide.
The best thing to do is to avoid getting involved. Don't respond to the scam e-mails but keep them as evidence. There may come a time when the culprits can be brought to justice. The European courts may at some time see fit to deal with the problem, or, the community of victims of cybersquatting may at some time have a class action against the cybersquatters.
Some solace may be found in the fact that, unlike with ICANN where cybersquatters get domains stupidly cheaper than the honest people can get them, in the .eu domain registry the cybersquatters don't get the same level of bulk discount, so can only finance their campaign by victims being suckered into paying up.
In the next year the domains will come up for renewal, and most will not be worth the cybersquatters continuing to play dog-in-the-manger with. You may then be able to buy your domain when it expires. You can pre-register for that happy day via 123-reg if you like.
Dot EU is not the best of domains, and it doesn't have the zing of a .TV or .NET domain. Besides that, the .eu domain cybersquatting scamsters registered domains based on the existence of .co.uk and .org.uk and other British and other European domains. These other domains are much catchier and if you have a website you have an existing goodwill, something which the impostors do not have. Although there is nothing wrong with having your own .eu domain primarily, you have to have your established image set up as that. It's not much good as an add-on afterthought. Plus, your real customers aren't likely to be fooled by someone usurping your site on a .eu domain. Most people have heard of .net , .com , .co.uk , but are probably unaware of the .eu domain existing. There was no vast rush to get the .eu domains as was predicted by pundits at the time. (Similar storming boom and bust fake predictions have also been associated with a few other hypothetically all-the-rage domains, for example Western Samoa .ws , was supposed to be a craze at one time, and not forgetting the famous "dot com bubble" where people lost fortunes).
To sum it up, don't be fooled by the scam! In the same way that emails pretending to be from your bank aren't convincing, neither should this new hokum about domain humbug. If you would like to get your own domain, make up something completely new and get it before the cybersquatters know about it. See advice about domain names. You can get a proper domain from 123-reg, who I actually trust, and I'm a paranoid schizophrenic!
Although politically I'm not a fan of Europe, I think Europe at least helps to replace the old Soviet Union in terms of being able to help to prevent the USA from being the only superpower and taking over the rest of the world.
It is a shame the .eu domain has been so badly abused by cybersquatters. But this isn't the end of the story.
Here are a few helpful links versus the .eu problem:
Also see Death to Cybersquatters, and on a more optimistic note, How to Choose Your Own Domain Name
Update 2007: There is good news at least for some, because, as predicted, cybersquatters failing to fool people into paying the money have given up and let the domains lapse. This then gives the honest folks a chance to get their domain. It makes a change to see good news versus the evil of cybersquatting, but in this case, good news is there to be seen. This must be a great relief for a great many honest folks who have been held to ransom by the DOT EU domain scam! It certainly is a relief for me, as I have now at last got Zyra.eu, which I will be developing to review European stuff! Also see the Story of Zyra.eu which documents my own experience of dot eu.