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Dot-me suffix leads to cyber-squatting spat

Just two days old, and the arguments have already started...
Written by Kate Hanaghan, Contributor

Just two days old, and the arguments have already started...

The UK's latest domain suffix is just two days old and has already caused a high-profile cyber-squatting spat. Web host UK2 has today accused competitor Host Europe of registering UK2.me.uk in a cynical attempt to drive traffic to its site. UK2 claims it has made an official complaint to Host Europe but has yet to receive a reply. But John Kirkham, marketing manager at Host Europe, said while the domain had been registered by the company he didn't know who had done it. Furthermore, after a phone call from silicon.com, Host Europe said it would hand back the domain to UK2.net. Kirkham told silicon.com: "It's not company policy to do it. We have realised our mistake and we've decided to give it back." Bernadette Ebene, communications manager for UK2, said: "It's good news but the point remains - had we not made a song and dance about it they would have kept it. Ultimately Abby Hardoon, the CEO, should take responsibility for this. The .me.uk domain is intended for use by individuals, which makes the initial registration by Host Europe even more remarkable. Nominet, which runs the dot-uk registry, usually allows a two week "sunrise period" when a new suffix is launched, allowing trademark holders to claim their rights to related internet names. But this time it thought that process was unnecessary as dot-me is aimed at individuals. Nominet has also admitted that it was hit by a technical hitch shortly after midnight on Sunday. This meant that some applications were not fully processed. To safeguard the applications, Nominet registered these domain names, including domainnames.me.uk, in its own name. Nominet has said it will amend the Whois database and actively seek the right owners.
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