An Informational Comparison of the Greek Regional ccTLD [.gr/.com.gr] and
GR.COM, a SubLevel Domain Name Registry
This paper describes the history and policies of .gr, the country code Top Level Domain (ccTLD) for Greece. Because of restrictive policies, the public has a difficult time registering and maintaining .gr domain names. Realizing that the acronym GR has special meaning, we offer a simpler and more user-friendly alternative for Greece: the GR.com private sub-level domain (PSLD) registry.
GR is the ISO character set of Greece and is already used under the regional .gr ccTLD.
Unfortunately the .gr ccTLD has restrictive polices inhibiting up-take of the domain.
In order to provide a domain registry that appeal to regional Greek customers, we have studied the history and policies of the .gr ccTLD and propose an alternative framework for gr.com based on user requirements and industry Best Practice standards.
Abridged History of .gr ccTLD
(Note for the day reference the format is : DD/MM/YYYY)
(FEK are the Greek initials for Government’s Newspaper Sheet where all issues regarding Government sector, decisions and more are publicly announced. et.gr in Greek language)
- In 1989 the "Foundation for Research and Technology" in Crete-Greece requests from IANA and is appointed the management of the .gr ccTLD
- In 1997 the EETT committee, together with the "Foundation for Research and Technology" and the local ISPs, created the first set of rules for the management of domain names with the .gr suffix.
- In 2000 Greek law 2867/2000 proclaimed EETT was officially the responsible committee for issues regarding .gr ccTLD (article 3,paragraph 14,element a)
- At the end of 2002 EETT issued decision 268/73/25-11-2002 (FEK 1617/B/31-12-2002), "Management and Registration regulation of domain names with .gr suffix". With this decision EETT took over the administration of the .gr ccTLD registry.
- Until the end of 2002 .gr ccTLD restricted the allowed number of domain names per person/company. A single individual could register only 1 domain, a private enterprise up to 2, and a company was limited to 10. Until 2002, generic terms were allowed to be registered. In January 2003 even stricter restrictions were put in place, prohibiting those with former domain registrations from re-registering the very same names they had under the old rules
- With protocol number 3353/12-02-04 (12-Feb-2004), the EETT authorized the first registrar to operate and provide .gr domain registrations. Before 2004 there was no registrar market or choice for consumers allowing competitive pricing in Greece. Registration for .gr names was available only at hostmaster.gr at a set price.
- The primary registration rules were modified with FEK 717/27-5-2005, including decision 351/76(20-5-2005). A few minor adjustments followed with FEK 1251/B/06-09-2005 353/185 and FEK 1545/09-11-2005.
- EETT is responsible as the registry body and has granted to "Foundation for Research and Technology" the technical responsibility of running the registry.
- The names that can be registered under the .gr ccTLD and ccSLD are : [.gr],[.com.gr],[.edu.gr],[.net.gr],[.org.gr]
Because of this long delay in adopting Best-Practice for registry administration, potential .gr customers are frustrated. Our plan to launch .gr.com assimilates the domain industry Best Practices for registrars and registrants, providing a service much needed in the Greece region. In the following sections we outline the major differences between the .gr ccTLD as it currently operates, and the proposed methodology for gr.com.
-In the .gr ccTLD many authorized registrars do not meet basic technical thresholds in order to support a customer’s domain registration process. The accreditation offered by .gr does not follow any technical steps to verify and qualify the request of the future registrar. Some of the official registrars work primarily in different business areas not related at all to the internet; many have inactive websites and emails. There is no fee to enter or renew the registrar accreditation and no minimum requirements for domain sales per year.
- In the .gr.com SLD, authorized registrars are either ICANN accredited registrars or regional registrars with proven sales, support and marketing experience. They implement the industry standard EPP for their technical platform, and are 100% capable of supporting any DNS or technical request from end-users. There is 100 GBP ( Check the currect exchange rate of 100 GBP to EURO and USD ) to enter that can be used for future registrations, there is no fee to sustain the accreditation for .gr.com. However we actively track non active registrars or registrars not following the standards we set.
Time of domain registration :
- The following steps are taken to register a .gr domain name :
1. The user requests the domain name he wants from the authorized registrar,
2. The domain is registered temporarily. The Registrar forwards the request to EETT for approval,
3. The request is manually reviewed from an authorized person of EETT, but...
4. The EETT committee gathers twice a month to approve registration applications (the rules mention that the limit is 20 days to get a final decision from the committee). Much longer delays have been reported: up to 2 months at summer time!
5. EETT has the right according to their opinion to ask for additional information to verify the authenticity of the domain registrant.
6. If EETT approves the request, they send a message back to the registrar and the domain is officially registered. If the domain is not approved, the registrar must refund the money back to the end-user. Because this process relies so much on human factors, some applications, even for simple names, have failed 3 or more times before finally receiving approval
- The registration of .gr.com has no pre-registration review process.
The customer applies and is granted the name in 5 seconds from a trusted ICANN or regional registrar.
We don't believe that names themselves should be censored for any reason.
A domain registration will only be retracted if the content of a website is illegal or infringing on Trademark (TM) rights.
There has been an increase in Cyber squatting and this is alarming but does not mean the registry operator must pre-emptively ban every domain combination. Firm policies around acceptable use will deter cyber-squatters from registering in gr.com. There are appropriate legal entities to enforce the Intellectual Property laws.
GR.com registry will promote freedom of registration and usage of all names. We protect the TM and IP holders through firm policy while making domain registration easier for people that want to register memorable and useful domains. This is the founding role of a registry. Historically, extremely strict registration rules show only negative results for the registry and delay the internet development.
Selection of domain names :
- .gr ccTLD does NOT allow domain names with:
1. 2 characters (letters or numbers or any combination)
2. Generic terms. There is no definition to the regulation regarding the meaning of "generic". The list is open and each domain application is reviewed manually on a case per case basis. This procedure is 100% subjective and dependent on the whims of the EETT reviewer.
3. No geo,city,country names,country codes included to the iso-3166-1 list
4. Names against public order and Christian mores
5. Names related with Greece and countries mentioned in article 6 of Paris convention regarding Industrial property, together with symbols of great importance especially for Religious symbols and words
- .gr.com PSLD :
1. Domain Names with 2 characters. This is the only restriction.
Reasons for deletion from the registry :
-Reasons the .gr ccTLD administrator may delete domain names (not limited to this list) :
1. If the name belonged to a company that has been dissolved,
2. If the owner dies and his heir doesn't ask for ownership modification within 6 months,
3. If they receive a final court order.
Reasons for rejections :
- Reasons the .gr ccTLD administrator may reject an application for registration (not limited to this list) :
1. The committee can reject the application if he already rejected it in the past and thinks there is no new compelling reason to accept it,
2. If the registrant applied for a [.com.gr],[.edu.gr],[.net.gr],[.org.gr] and there is no proof of activity relating to the requested categories. For example a business activity for a .com.gr,
- .gr.com respects and follows the decision of the courts. A name will be deleted only with a final court order when all options for appeal have been exhausted. There is no initial domain application rejection procedure.
Reselling capability of the domain names:
- .gr ccTLD :
1. Does allow the modification of whois info but not the first/last name/company name
2. To change the ownership the old owner and the future owner must submit their full personal/company data, VAT numbers etc. to the same EETT committee for approval. The time for ownership modification is not defined by regulation, but we have noticed delays up to 1,5-2 months. The committee can deny the request if they have reasons to believe it should not be allowed.
3. Whois modification is billed at the same amount as the original registration.
4. The maximum amount that a name can be sold from the registrar to the registrant is 44 Euro+19% VAT. Because of this rule together with the absence of reference in the regulations, a confusion about the ability of the .gr owner to sell a name he bought for more than 52,36 Euro exists. . It has been reported that domain holders lost their domains because legal action was taken when domains were sold on the secondary market for a fee much higher than the registration fee. The absence of clear definitions regarding reselling is dangerous and can lead to negative consequences for .gr domain holders.
- .gr.com PSLD
1. Every part of the whois data can be modified by the registrant. The only requirement is that the information is valid at all times. This is the same requirement ICANN has set .
2. If the owner wishes to sell his rights to the name he can do it without seeking permission from theasking the registrar or the registry. without seeking permission.
3. Modification of the whois data is not chargeable from the registry. However registrar may apply a charge for this service.
4. The registrant may set any price the market will bear for the domain names.
Trademark and rightful owners protection :
- .gr. ccTLD :
1. There is no specific regulation or statement of the .gr registry regarding pre-defined measures for the protection of .gr domain owners,
2. According to the regulations, the local committee tries to protect the TM owners and everyone else from generic domain abuse. However the policies are so restrictive, a bottleneck is created as all names are subject to intense scrutiny. A process that could take less than five minutes to complete takes 0.5-2 months.
For example for the generic keywords at the "Public Procedure for Opinions Submission related with the work of registry for .GR" on 02-Dec-2003, page 13 states :
The regulation (Article 5, paragraph 5, element c) forbids the registration of names that have no descriptive character. Simplified, this clause has the following objectives :
a. Not to allow conditions where one and only person (physical or legal) exploits one specific domain name (that is related to a purchase/service/product) excluding other persons that work at the same area to get a domain name,
b. Not to allow conditions where a person (physical or legal) gains an excessive advantage compared with the competition just because he was granted a specific domain name.The final statement in the paragraph is "Every application must be checked before anyone else from the registrars regarding the descriptive character of the domain name"
Eleven replies were submitted to the request for comments;
8 think that they will face difficulties with the descriptive character of domain names
1 criticizes this rule as worldwide patent
1 said that this is an old method of short sighted censorship
and the last one said that he thinks that may create problems, especially in the area of new technologies where new terms and technologies appear nearly every day.
Still the committee didn’t hear anyone of the participants and until now does not allow generic terms at all in the .gr ccTLD
- .gr.com use the internationally accepted dispute resolution service of World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) for TM disputes. It doesn't pre-emptively ban domain registrations or characterize keyword names or even charge extra for premium generic names.
Note : All data were gathered late 2009. If there are updates to the rules and regulations for .gr cctld please let us know to include the updates.
Update Sep-2011 : Updates to the regulations have been announced that will be applied from 30-Oct-2011. Still .GR.COM Domains surpass the .GR cctld features and new features for .GR.COM will be added. Stay tuned for updated comparison soon.