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Well the last 48hrs were interesting for us here. As most of you know we had to pull the plug on the free .be registrations here last night. Being on the ‘most popular’ list of / digg and 100+ blogs /forums can take quite a toll on a server, and put unfair pressure on our other services. The form finished the day a feather off 20’000 sessions.

The other problem came from the other registrars dropping out of the promotion as their resources failed. There seemed a mad rush to find The Mystery of the Missing .be TLDs someone still putting through applications and the last man standing seemed to be us.

There has been a lot of talk at the Registry level about this promotion in the last 24hrs. The Belgium Registry didn’t seem to appreciate the level of interest in .be domains. In fact they started the promotion on a National holiday…

The other problem was that no one had been told how many domains an individual could register. We took the safe option at 10. However their were rumours suggesting that people “not take more than 500 per user id”. This put a lot of strain on the system. The Belgium Registry has around 480’000 .be registrations, an estimated 17’000 came in on Tuesday.

Registration progress has been slow today. It is obvious we need a faster form to handle the pressure of this promotion, and we have already started moving across to a new platform. The Belgium Registry have also been busy trying to shut that stable door.

Anyone who they consider to have been ‘warehousing’ domains, i.e. keeping them without intent to use, will have them taken away. Many people have received an email today informing them that the domain(s) they registered have been put back into the pool.

They have also released further guidelines to registrars, which we will be following:

Registrars must check for abuses by implementing:

– Unique ids
– Control that one registrant does not abuse and order excessive quantities of domain
– Check this through unique ID and IP address level
– Limit quantities per registrant

Our new scripts will be taking these factors into account. Now the good and bad news. The bad first, this may mean that we have to disregard the applications we have in our queue. They have not been subject to these conditions. The good news, with so many domains thrown back into the pool, everything is there to play for again.

Domains that have been successfully registered by us are ok. That is unless you have already been emailed by the Belgium Registry directly. Less than 10 domains though – you are fine.

I hope this explains the situation to everyone. I will post here again once we re-open the promotion. We need time to make these updates to our scripts, so it’s looking like tomorrow now.

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Lead SEO, Group Optimisation at Vodafone. Founder at E3 Business Incubator, a consultancy group helping enterprises and start-ups. Digital strategist and veteran SEO/SEM. Views are my own and not representative of my employer (more).

136 Responses to Belgium .be promotion fiasco

  1. Ha! zero comments, when the sh*t hits the fan, everyone scatters…

    No mention of how long the registration is valid for. I wonder if you have to pay to re-register after a year or something….

  2. doh! how about reading before posting… right? Anyway, I hope this is back up soon….

  3. I wait the promotion again.

  4. Hi Chino,

    Yes we’re trying to get this up today, my guys have to make sure our scripts comply with the new rules by the Belgium Registry. The promotion will be restricted to 10 domains per person over the 2 month period.

    The registration is for 1 year, normal fees would apply then if you wish to renew the domain. We usually charge £16.50 but based on discussions here I think we’ll be reducing that. I’ll keep you posted. We never charge for changing your nameservers or for transfers away. You can read our full policy here. Thanks

  5. Free registration for only a year is perfectly reasonable for a promotion. if it were for life, then it would be a giveaway, not just a promotion. :)

  6. yeah, no doubt. But the stampede of applications makes it feel like it’s a free lunch you know? It makes you wonder if most people are really going to keep them afterwards, or a just doing it for the fun of registering some “” domain name.

    I suppose that’s the hook though. If a million fools register a domain, at least 1 is bound to re-register after a year… right?;-)

    a fool.

  7. This does sound like a good promotion (1st yr free). Don’t know how many good .be left however.

  8. This sucks. The domain cabal sucks a lot. Every possible URL should go up on ebay every year. If you aren’t willing to pay, you lose it.

  9. Every domain should go on ebay every year? That doesn’t really make sense. So you’re the rightful owner of, and someone else with more money can just snatch it from you in twelve months. Wow, yeah… good thing that’s not the case. I’m keeping my domains for $8 /year.

  10. I wanted a .be domain a while ago, but had a very hard time finding registrars that seemed both reasonably priced and reputable (I’m wary of businesses that must use Paypal, and also don’t even have an automated system to manage the Paypal transaction). This will definitely go a long way to showing me the registrars are healthier now than before, and chances are I’ll keep it, too.

    As for pocket’s reply, that’s kind of dumb. I bet he’d change his mind if his home or cell phone number went up for auction every year, or if he had to change email every eyar because someone else bought the domain name.

  11. I think pocket meant the squatted domains. Either that or he just wasn’t thinking clearly.

  12. Yeah, I think the price to renew the domain should be a bit cheaper…like USD10 :P

    Cheaper = more people renew = more profits.

    *is poor -__-*

  13. Any idea when the e3 is going to start accepting .be registrations? Are other registrar’s that are participating in the free .be domain program already up and running? Thanks again!

  14. hi
    Is this offer still running.
    Or is this already outdated?
    The admin said he will update the release date tonight . He didnt give us a date when tonight is.
    Anyone got any ideas ?

  15. Hi Boris /Bill

    Yes the promotion will be running. Just made an update here.

  16. So will the people that have already submitted need to resubmit it? Or will you be nice and process the orders that were already submited?

  17. Hi Vic,

    We have been submitting the backlog for the last 4 days here! However our system was overwhelmed by the volume. We had nearly 14’000 domain requests come in over a period of 4hrs.

    The new system we have built, should (hopefully) handle the volume better. We have also relaunched this in cooporation with Tucows.

    The Belgium Registry have requested we delete our outstanding queue of applications. We have been trying to find a way round this. One way maybe to feed them all back into our new system. I’ll know tomorrow if that is possible and give everyone advice then. Thanks – Nick

  18. So should I just wake up at 2am? *4hrs* to re-register the domain names again?

  19. So it is at launch time…past a few minutes….is it going to start or anything?

  20. ok nvm it says open now…then it said give us 20 now it says give us 30..its 2am where i am at :(

  21. Vic: it’s 4:15am here. patiently waiting…

  22. You’ve had your 30 minutes. Stand and Deliver! :P

  23. been 45 mins now :)

  24. Sorry Vic/Daniel/Tim

    We had a last minute problem – lots of people are here working on it! We’ll be up very shortly.

  25. How long is very shortly?

  26. Yes lol i was wondering that too. Since it is 3am and i have to be at work at 6am and I havent even slept at all

  27. geez. people can be antsy when the word ‘free’ gets thrown around ;)
    Now, I’m rereshing this page:
    there’s not a seperate .be registration page that I missed or anything is there? I’d hate to spend the rest of the night standing in the wrong line

  28. i feel like 30 have past? whats going on ?

  29. I beleive there will be a seperate form that allows you to select your domains.

  30. actually it says GMT +3 and its 1 o’clock according to the system.. but its 11:05 in London which is GMT so its only +2!

  31. You’ve had an hour, how much longer?

  32. Come on, it’ difficult waiting, can’t you just put it up please?

  33. lol its been over and hr its been hr and 30 mins

  34. Well, it’s been well over an hour… an hour and 23mins…

  35. “Come on, it’ difficult waiting, can’t you just put it up please?”

    Wow… some people’s live’s are really pathetic… if waiting for a free belgian domain name is ‘difficult’.

    and by the way everyone, you should appreciate wht e3 is doing. and other big chumps can be doing the SAME THING… they have chosen not to, and pocket the difference.

    remember, beggars can’t be choosers.

  36. bill, just because you arent getting overly exciting pasting that you are and showing you are in support of this new extention, doesn’t mean you aren’t just ‘AS’ pathetic as the rest of us, you too are online waiting, an don’t tell me otherwise!

  37. 5 programmers, all running around and yelling at each other in Russian…believe me, it’s not a pretty sight ;)

    We’re running the last test guys. Thanks for your patience. You’ve got work Vic? Sorry, I’ll be running yours through myself.

  38. Sure he’s excited, so am I, but we’re understanding that they’re going through a lot of work to GIVE us something free, so we’re waiting patiently. Beggars can’t be choosers. :)

  39. How long does the last test take? And why russian? LOL

  40. Cool thanks Nick. How long do you think? 10 minutes?

  41. Thanks Bill

    Yes this is a whole new system, on a new dedicated server. This has a direct API connection to the Registry. We’re not running this through our existing setup. (Hopefully) this one will take the load.

  42. I can’t wait for this, thanks Nick, will we be allowed to cancel it after a year? But don’t worry, I’m guranteed to buy at least one of them for another year :)

  43. Will the domains by virtually instance, as the direct API connection suggests?

  44. All my programmers are Russian, we’re based out here near Moscow. This post explains it better than I can here. That should keep you busy for 10 minutes….

    They think 10-15mins Vic. It’s the last test to make sure everyone can confirm their order by email.

  45. Hi Tim, we don’t do automatic renewals. If you choose to let it go after the year that is fine. We also don’t charge for name server changes or transfers away (cutely called ‘leaving fees’ by some Registrars).

    Yes, the new API connection should significantly speed things up. There’s still chaos at the Belgium Registry but at least we can give them more work faster… ho hum…

  46. No doubt this promotion is murdering your servers :P

  47. /me hopes that it’s still at least 5 :P I know a definete 5 that I want :P

  48. I need just my companys name, and my personal name (which will be affiliated to company)…

    Then 1 extra one for a travel agency that is multi-linguil ^.^

  49. happy birthday ;p

  50. a: Thank you!!! However wasn’t so happy since I was in a car accident! ^.^

  51. Tim: thank you too! I apperciate it!! :):)

  52. Tim: True, however I have had worse!!

  53. Tim: I know the feeling, I’ve had to pee for the past hour :X

  54. Ready yet Nick? It has been 20 mins about :( and its 4:10am

  55. I been waiting for 5 hours, lol… yet the promo didnt say it was open till 2 hours into my 5

  56. guyz nick is fast asleep… please come back after I have registered my domains so the the browser wont crash on me :D

  57. Ok guys – HERE

  58. That link is only a whois’er? or am I wrong?

  59. Nick, if we type in the same username on all of the domain, will you add them together? By the way, the server has just gone to a halt :(

  60. It keeps telling me that I need to fill in all the fiels… Though I’m not with an organization nor do I have a 2nd or 3rd address… are these rquired?

  61. it sends me the confirmation email but theres no link!

  62. It’s OK Trix, that is the part we had trouble with. We’ll be approving all applications as the moment, we can’t make you wait any longer.

  63. Do I need to fill in all the fields? Because some I cannot fill in because of the fact I don’t have them… i.e. 2nd address / fax number etc.

  64. it’s worked for me twice. I got “Your request was put in a pending queue.”. I’m guessing that I’ll get an email sometime soon?

  65. Ive filled in the application but it keeps telling me to fill all the fields in, i cant see any that would need to be?

  66. I’m experiencing the same problem, Martin. Really annoying since some fields just aren’t applicable to me.

  67. My username was thehacker11 and my name is victor.. Also the confirmation email had no link

  68. For useless fields like address 2 and 3, I just put in a dash to fill it in. Try that.

  69. Martin – IE bug, now fixed, thanks.

    Tim, counter is based on IP. We have to do this for the Registry. If you are on a dial up or AOL you have a new IP every page reload. Lots of possible issues here.

    We’re getting a lot of orders in now.

    There are no confirmation emails currently. That was the issue we were having with the system but I can’t make anyone wait anymore. You’ve been very patient, thank you all.

  70. What is the Nameserver1 and Nameserver2 fields for?

  71. You need to put a DNS in, maybe Nick can suggest one to put in?

  72. Hello, I didn’t get any emails saying anything… An when will i find out if my name(s) were registered to me?

  73. If you don’t know your name servers, leave that field blank. Our default ones will be used until you update the domain(s)

  74. Yes, Thank you Nick. I finally got my domains registered :) stayed up till 5am lol might as well stay up less than an hr before i have to goto work. how long will it take you to process my orders nick? name Victor and username thehacker11. Thanks

  75. So I got just 2 confirm mails with a link, the rest is empty jsut the a text saying “Follow the link below to confirm your request” without a link, is my registrations going to be made?

  76. I’ll pull yours out of the list myself Vic and make sure they go through. Have a good day at work, and thanks for being so patient.

    /think coffee ;)

  77. have you added the .be on the end echo?

  78. Hi Tim,

    We’re feeding them through to the Belgium Registry now. We can’t make any promises on how quickly they will deal with them. Some have gone through in 2-5hrs, some 20+.

    I’ve always been led to believe the Registry deals with applications on a first lodged basis. The important thing is that your application is in their system and time stamped. Everyone will get an email from us here, on failure or success.

  79. Hi!

    You said: “When hosting your domain, the web hosting company will give you values for these boxes. Once you put these in, your domain will be pointed to their hosting servers”

    when and how will it be posible to change those values?

    Thanks again for your support!


  80. Hello again.
    I am very impressed with this new .be deal!!
    But i am very new to this sort of thing. So i have a question about the name servers. How could i get one. Sorry if this question is quite stupid.

  81. Have any applications been proccessed and approved yet?

  82. hi .
    One more quick question about the Dns server.
    I have found myself a DNS server . But when i registered the site i didnt give a valid dns server(because i wasnt sure what a name server was) shall i register the same domain name again. or will i be able to transfer onto a different dns server later on.

    Thank you


  83. Is it OK if we’ve had no confirmation email? Or any link etc?

  84. my username is nphase, how would i be able to see if any of the orders ive made have gone through?

  85. Error
    The error which occurred was:
    Error: Domain does not exist with OpenSRS
    Please contact Support for assistance.

    (one out of the 10 domains I registered)

  86. Folks, eh made it pretty celar here, several times. The submissions are being processed by the registry, it could take anywhere from 2 to 12 hours, probably closer to the latter due to the huge number of requests. Be patient.

  87. Hey Nick, first off I want to thank you an your company for this great opportunity for us who have business’s an to start out having a “trial” period with our names to see if we like having the .be extention or not (going to be honest, sorry).

    However, I have read over the comments on this page, an I can see you are definately SWAMPED… but! I do have a question, which is below:

    I went to the login url “Manage Your Domain” and type in the correct values, an I get an error saying:

    Error: Domain .be does not exist with OpenSRS
    Please contact Support for assistance.

    Any ideas?

  88. Just thought I’d say thanks. still waiting, did the domains @ about 10am CENTRAL and 6pm CENTRAL now..

  89. Thanks for all of your hard work guys, I’m glad i managed to grab the domain I wanted and with so little hassle (After the past 4 days of you all programming like crazy) .. keep up the good work!@

  90. hi again.
    How de we know is we managed to obtain the host name?
    I have applied for one
    When i log onto tucows portal it gives me an openSRS error.
    Which i have no idea about.
    Does it mean somone already registered with that host name

  91. Can you give me a link of the belgium registry

  92. I’m having the same problem… still nothing

  93. I’m sure I put 2 :S Well anyway, I hope they come through soon, thanks for your trouble nick!

  94. Errr. When you said viv. Did you accidently mis-spell my name or did you mean someone else? If you ment me, I am pretty sure I had both my name servers in each :(

  95. Ok, Thanks. I was just wondering, not to be rude or anything, how long do you think it will it take before I will get my domains?

  96. Hi i have try to register my own domain in date 05/11/2005 but
    i haven’t news yet, there are problem?

  97. been 4 days, still nothing on my domains?

  98. Bill:

    yes, Yes YES, I have been following this thread the ENTIRE TIME.

    I am being patient, I haven’t been forceful or demanding at all, I just want to let the right people know whats going on.

    Please do not get on my case, you are not my mother.

  99. Hi all,

    nphase – I have seen your domains going through the queue. They should come out shortly.

    Vic /Tim, it’s good to see you have your first ones! I’ve been tracking them too.

    Yes it would be nice if a few people posted here when they received their domains. We have successfully registered over 900 now! Thanks though for all the emails of thanks, the girls here really appreciate it after spending so many hours on the API queue!

    Thanks for the support Bill. The Belgium Registry are working but it’s not fast. We’re doing everything we can here to speed things up, but the number of applications they are dealing with are huge.

  100. A few of mine are done, but the login information I imputted isn’t working. One of domains I asked for (the first one in fact) hasn’t been registered, and it says it’s not available – is it in progress?

  101. nick, i’m a programmer, what if I help write something like that, to view and/or track them? I’m capable.. and you have my email address here in the comments.

    Thanks for the heads up on the pricing, 20 sounds very fair.

  102. Actually the successful emails are sent out pretty instantly by the Registry. That may mean the domain you wanted may have been gone for some time (even before this promotion).

    Can you send me an email with your domain name filipe?

  103. Send it through our web site form I’ll grab it out of the ticketing system.

  104. Nick, is there any way you could tell me the domains that I put through? I kind of forget all but the one that is my username :-/, figured there would be a way to go look at the orders after making them.

    Also, … I don’tknow when it all went through, but od you have any idea when that will show my NS?

  105. Hallo, I registered a couple o different .be domains. As of now
    I have only received 1 confirmation e-mail. When I try to check
    the other unconfirmed domains in the “all who is” service they
    come up as taken. But when I scroll down all the way in the
    results box it says that these domains are Free.

    Any clue?

    Best regards

  106. i only submited one domain i wanted the day of the second wave hitting.. (with in 6 hours of it starting) and i have yet to get a email reguarding it and when i do whois look ups on it, it still says its avalable..
    was the forum not processed?

    – Lone ‘-.-‘

  107. I think that if you register SO MANY domains, that you can not register them all, you DO NOT need them and you WILL NOT use them all. “I have more domains than you” is NOT a cool bragging right, just so you know :). Again, be respectful of others, as was stated many times in this thread.

    Now to answer a few questions:

    If you registered a domain on E3, and it is still showing up as ‘available’ on E3’s registration site, chances are something didn’t work right, and your registration did not go through.

    If you registered a domain on E3, and it says ‘unavailable’ or ‘taken’ or something along those lines on E3’s registration site, chances are it is still in processing, and your submission was received.

    If your domain on is showing as ‘unavailable’ then it is most likely registered, check the whois to see if it is you :)

    If your domain on is showing up as ‘free’, but it is ‘unavailable’ on E3’s registration site, then the Belgian registry is still processing your domain.

    My first domain was processed in 5 days, and I registered the first day. I did not get a ‘successful’ e-mail, but it DOES show up as registered to me on’s whois page, and it points to my DNS servers (it works.). So if this is your case, you’re all set, just wait for a ‘registration successful’ e-mail and you can then use the CPanel.

    Best of luck everyone!


  108. Hi
    I have just received my first .be domain !!!!!
    It works fine
    Apart from i cant change the nameservers
    When i try to It says
    Failed attempt: Contact is not valid for requested types to modify: Missing required field: admin org_name

  109. Hi luxur
    i have registered my three domains on the second day of the promotion. So i think on the 5th of November
    Right now only one of them has been registered and i am still waiting for the other two
    Does anyone know about the error when nameservers are edited?
    Failed attempt: Contact is not valid for requested types to modify: Missing required field: admin org_name

  110. Ok, one went through it seems.. 4-5 got registered before me somehow (wasn’t reg’ed on Still waiting on a few others. Thanks!

  111. Grey, you are completly correct, I read your comment ran over to and was up and changing my nameservers in under 10 minutes. This delay is crazy…tell us the truth!

  112. I think everyone can appreciate the amount of work you’ve done, but if Tucows is the bottleneck, for your own sakes you should look into why they are so slow, or even alternative registrars. I’m not willing to point the finger at your guys because there is a chain of people involved, and it could be that is preferring to clear local registrars first, it could be tucows, etc. But it’s in your own best interest to find out who is making you look bad. :)

  113. Hi Greg

    I hear what you are saying Grey. I want this moving faster as much as you do. I’ve been on the butt-kicking round ;)

    I’ve been promised things will get better (by tonight). I still don’t think we can complete with the processing time the others seem to have over our queue in the meantime.

    Luxur, did you read my post?

    I’ll completely understand if you move over to or another Belgium Registrar to get your names. It doesn’t matter if you have a domain sitting in the queue with us, you can make another application. Our one will simply be refused if that one is successful.

    We aren’t stopping work here though. We will continue to put through registrations and correct bounced ones.

    We’ve given out more than 1700* free domains here. I’m proud of the way my staff have handled this and worked answering all your support questions and emails. As I write above, we’re still working on this at the moment and will continue until we’ve dealt with every registration that has been given to us.

    * just had an update from Tucows with a list of 784 successful registrations.

  114. Hi Lone,

    Can you send me an email and I’ll follow that up.

    I know that Tucows are reserving names for us, while my staff correct errors in the data of the applications. This is then forced through with the corrections. It maybe that they don’t send an email in this case, only when the domain actually enters our account.

    Anyway, send me your name and I’ll try and find that out. Thanks.

  115. Pingback: » Get your own HTTP://NAME.BE for free!

  116. Hi Luxur,

    Can you send me an email with your details.



  117. I want a domain. Name domain is :
    thanks admin
    send email to me :

  118. i got the last of mine a few hours ago, so just be patient you’ll get them soon :)

  119. Hi Luxur

    I’ve put yours into the queue again. It was bounced out the first time and/or deleted.

    Please can everyone make sure you have full and accurate data in the fields (i.e. not ABC street or Nowhere Town). These get bounced back out of the queue to us. The Belgium Registry only registers domains using (in their words) real information.

    As a Registrar we are responsible for providing applicantions with real information. False WHOIS can lead to the domain being deleted.

    If you want to obsure your personal information then you will have to use a WHOIS protection service. I will publish some suppliers for this (us included) tomorrow.

    We’re trying to send back incorrect applications to the owners so they can update them but our focus is on pushing through the main queue. We can’t promise you will get a update notice. Of course, those people who didn’t use a real email we can’t even contact.

    If you fill your application out properly then it will go through very fast now. We’re well under the 3 day limit at the moment.

    Glad to hear you got yours Trix.

  120. what is the problem? My dates ar bogus?

  121. Hi,
    when i try to change de nameserver, i get a message of waiting request (1)
    But this night i saw that my waiting request (0), and nothing is changed
    Why could be this?
    I’m using my own nameserver (bind) and i fill it with | ip of my server

  122. Hi Colic,

    Have you got any notes there on your domain. You will see this at the top with a number next to it. It may be that your name servers were rejected. If you using this domain you have just got as your name server then it needs to be set up slightly differently.

    Go to this URL

    Login as normal. Then go to the name servers section. Then scroll down to the ‘Create Name Server’ part. Here you can put in your hostname and IP.

    This is only for people wishing to use their new .be domain as a name server

    I hope that helps. I can’t give you support on setting up your own hosting at home but it sounds like you have that part under control.

    Hi Jim,

    Yes free for 1st year, then renewal at $20. Check our FAQ’s for more information.

  123. Hi Luxur,

    That state means the domain is reserved by Tucows while they push through the application. It has not yet been registered in your name. When this is fully registered you will get a confirmation email and can then login normally. You have the right URL there.

    Should be very soon then for you.

  124. I have not had any notices of my domains. I only got the confirmation mail. Do you know what happens to them?

  125. i can’t log in my account with my dates… :|

  126. I’ve registered some domains and the 4th one, 6th one, 7th one, and 8th one have arrived. The rest have not. The earlier ones hadn’t arrived neither for some strange reason. I thought you processed the orders in order.

  127. Sorry for second post, accidentally submitted before done.
    My domains include,,, and Other ones that I supposedly have registered include and (my 10th).

  128. Was the registration form server on .ru? Just to double check that no one else intercepted and phished my data with (redirected from .com).

  129. hi, my first domain is up and run good it work, so one question how must i wait for my other domain? I was register but i haven’t recived confirmation email. :)

  130. Pingback:

  131. it looks like i got one of my 2 domains, it only took 3 days, ive been waiting awhile for the second one, and im sorry for the godaddy guy, if i had known you wanted one, i could have gotten you one for 6.99

  132. Hi, I signed up for a .be URL somewhere near the start of this “fiasco”, and I recieved my account. I’m wondering if it’s possible to use the .be URL as a redirect to the domain issued to me by my ISP, Rogers. What it does, is it assigns each user a domain, because the IP addresses always change. I’ve tried to set a nameserver to my domain, but it doesn’t seem to work, and it gives me the error: Unable to update nameservers: Command not supported. Any help would be appreciated.

  133. I was wondering how long an update to my ns servers takes. It seems to be stuck on the waiting request.

  134. ahh, I think I know now, :)

  135. Hi all,

    The .be promotion is now over so we’ll be closing comments on this thread. Please direct any support requests to e3internet support.