RealTime IT News

Demand for Unblocked Czech Domains Unleashed

Demand for newly released domain names with the country level domain .cz has smashed through the Czech Republic's regulatory dams, in a fury of domain name speculation which indicates the regional viability of cybersquatting.

More than 70,000 registration applications were received in the Czech Republic following the release of previously cancelled domain names -- approximately the same number of requests as the combined figure for the previous six years. Enormous demand was caused by the removal of purchasing blocks on several highly attractive domain names.

The association CZ.NIC, which is authorized to register domain names in the Czech Republic, cancelled the unpaid domains in the top domain .cz as of last month. According to the Czech registration principles, the registration fee must be paid for all the second level domains every year. CZ.NIC has begun to notify the owners of domains since September 1999.

In addition to the unused and unpaid domain names, some active domains were cancelled due to administrative mistakes made either by the customers or by CZ.NIC. The association has been criticized for its attitude, but has not halted the process of cancelling domains. The number of cancelled domains reached 10,000, which is around 20 percent of total number of second level domains in .cz.

The registration of cancelled domains began on Friday, February 4. Because cancelled domain names were published beforehand, there were multiple requests for many of the new addresses available. The most popular names included porno.cz, reklama.cz (equivalent to "advertising"), and webdesign.cz, in addition to an array of copycat names such as IKEA.cz or Sony.cz.

The current Czech registration process takes into account only the chronological order of applications received, and the relationship between the applicant and the domain name is not a factor for a successful bid. The trademark dispute settlement procedure proposed by CZ.NIC is considered vague, giving an edge to the business of speculative registrations.

However, the volume of cancelled domain names, many of which were waiting for the highest bidder, has provoked broad discussion about registration rules and fair use of the Internet for commercial purposes.