The countdown is on to the launch of the pan-European top level domain (TLD), .eu, and the European Commission is warning businesses not to be caught out by the domain name scammers hoping to cash in on firms' ignorance.
The EC has officially confirmed this week that the .eu domain will be live from the end of this year and is offering trademark holders a chance to register Web addresses for the new TLD before Joe Public gets a crack at registering.
Designed to put a stop to cybersquatting, the 'sunrise' period, however, is a golden opportunity for domain name scammers, who are offering pre-registration services.
These services, the EC said, are bogus and would-be .eu name owners risk paying money up front and receiving no domain name in return.
"The Commission is aware that some companies are already offering to 'pre-register' or 'reserve' domain names, essentially by offering to make an application for the registration of a domain name to registrars as soon as the registration process is formally initiated.
"Given the risk of confusion and even fraud, use of 'pre-registration' services is not recommended by the Commission. In any case, consumers and companies are encouraged to check exactly what is and what is not being offered," it said in its advisory to businesses.
The Commission also revealed that the final technical work needed for the TLD to go live is currently under way. One of the bodies in charge of setting up .eu, Eurid, also has to accredit registrars for the new domain name and agree registration policy before the final launch phase can begin.
More information on registering for a dot-eu domain name can be found here.