Tens of thousands of Brexit-related websites – including the infamous Leave.eu site – have been taken offline by the EU agency in charge of domain names.
Owners of .eu websites based in the UK were warned they needed to prove eligibility for an EU domain name after the Brexit process or they would be officially “revoked” this week.
The EURid agency said around 48,000 domain names had been revoked and would now be made available for registration on a “first come, first serve” basis, according to the Independent.
“As previously communicated, all Brexit-related domain names, which were moved to the “withdrawn” status on 1 July 2021, will be revoked and released on 3 January 2022,” said a spokesperson.
EURid added: “About 48,000 domain names will become available for general registration on first come, first serve basis.”
The Leave.EU group – founded by businessman Arron Banks – had moved its website registration from the UK to the Republic of Ireland at the end of 2020 in a bid to get around a rule stating that .eu addresses can only be used by individuals and organisations based in the EU.
But an investigation by EURid led to the domain name being given “withdrawn” status, with the EU agency citing the failure to respond to data verification requests.
The website has now been revoked – with visitors to the web page greeted with the error message: “This site can’t be reached.”
Neale Richmond, an Irish member of parliament, wrote to the Republic of Ireland’s communications regulator last year to complain about the attempt to register in Waterford.
“It is utterly ridiculous to think that Leave.EU could brass-plate an address in Waterford to maintain their domain name – they wanted to leave the EU, they have, that means they leave their domain too,” he said.