We all knew that Brexit would have consequences big and small for businesses in the UK, but I doubt many of us thought that it would extend as far as our websites and emails.
As of the 30th March 2019, 2 years on from invoking Article 50, businesses in the United Kingdom will no longer be eligible for a .eu domain.
What does this mean?
It’s highly unlikely that, at the stroke of midnight on March 30th, your .eu top-level-domain will be ripped from your grasp and your website pulled from the internet.
What’s much more likely is that businesses and persons not located in an EU country will no longer be able to purchase or renew an .eu domain. It’ll be a gradual handover as more and more domains expire and are unable to be renewed by their UK based owners.
However, that hasn’t stopped the European Commission issuing a notice to stakeholders outlining that, in addition to the above, they still reserve the right to revoke any registered .eu domain without dispute.
Will this affect you and your business? It depends on how your online presence is set up. Just because your website’s domain doesn’t use an EU domain, doesn’t mean you’re not affected. We’ve put together a checklist of everything you need to cover to ensure you’re not caught out by the change.
Naturally, a change this large to the internet is going to have some fairly severe repercussions for businesses. Here’s what you need to look out for:
o Your Website’s Domain
If your website ends with .eu you could be in for a surprise. You will need to organise a new domain and transfer your website to it. Do this immediately. If you wait until the last minute, there will be no way for you to redirect all old traffic to the new website. Your website’s SEO and rankings will be destroyed, and you will essentially be starting fresh. Do it in plenty of time to allow Google to adjust to your new domain and for you to update inbound traffic sources.
o Other website domains
Try replacing www.yourdomain.co.uk with www.yourdomain.eu, If you’re automatically redirected to the .co.uk version (or which ever is relevant to you) then you’re in good shape, but you may lose this functionality in future. If it doesn’t redirect, you don’t have to worry either, this domain was more than likely nothing to do you with.
Some companies use a different domain for their email and their website. If your email is firstname.lastname@example.org you’re going to lose your email address. You will need to organise for your emails to be sent to your new domain in plenty of time to communicate the change to your stakeholders. Remember, if your .eu domain is revoked or not renewed, emails sent to your .eu email address will not get through to you.
o Digital Accounts
If you’ve been relying on a .eu email or domain, there’s a good chance that you’ve used that email as your account log-in information on multiple different services and websites. Whilst those accounts will still be active, if you happen to forget your login and need a password reminder, the email will not reach you and you will be locked out of your account forever.
Unfortunately, there’s no easy way to tell what accounts use your email address and which don’t. Perform a search through your emails for correspondence from other service providers (they usually come from emails such as “donotreply”, “accounts” etc.
Alternatively, you could utilise Gmail's automatic filtering systems (or similar in other email clients) to look at only “updates”, “promotions” or “social”, to give you a good idea of where your email is used.
o Don’t Panic.
It’s not a call to panic, but you will need to do your due diligence to ensure that you’re not caught out should your .eu domain be revoked or if you’re not sure when your domain renewals are due. Following our checklist above will ensure you will be ready for it should the change come.