Brussels, 11 April 2007
This April, Europe's internet domain .eu celebrates its first year of being open to the public. Over 2.5 million domain names have been registered. This enormous number of active users makes .eu Europe's third most popular top level domain (TLD) and seventh most popular worldwide. With a 17% increase of registrations over the past five months, .eu is also one of the fastest growing TLD names on the web.
"After just one year .eu has become a well-established part of Europe's cyberspace," said Viviane Reding, EU Commissioner for Information Society and Media. "This is a positive sign of the attractiveness of electronic commerce within the EU. I congratulate EURid as the independent not-for-profit registry responsible for .eu, for successfully managing the extremely high demand from industry and the public and for helping us to deploy Europe's identity online. I welcome in particular the recent efforts made by EURid to make .eu-registrations swifter, safer and cheaper."
Citizens and companies from all 27 EU Member States have applied for a .eu domain name during its first year of existence, but the strongest demand for .eu has come from Germany (31%), the UK (17%) and The Netherlands (12%). The great success of .eu has also been accompanied by an increase in demand for national domain names in most Member States. For instance, since October last year the growth in the number of national domain names in Germany and the UK (.de and .uk) has been around 5%. The Netherlands (.nl) experienced the highest growth rate – 10% over the same period.
The popularity of .eu with the public also encouraged France to open its national domain name .fr - previously reserved only for professionals, associations or public bodies - to the public, using rules and practices similar to .eu's introduction.
.eu's introduction was smooth, with the systems coping remarkably well despite the rush for registrations. At its peak, in April 2006, 76 domain names were being successfully registered every second. Taking into account the extremely high number of domain names registered during the first year of operation, the number of litigation cases brought before the Czech Arbitration Court in Prague (an average of 60 cases per month in 2006) underlines the sound procedures being followed by EURid to manage .eu. This compares favourably to the average number of cases brought before the UK TLD dispute resolution system (83 per month) or the World Intellectual Property Organization's Uniform Dispute Resolution procedure for generic TLDs (183 cases per month).
The actual use of .eu increased tremendously during 2006. At present, almost 80% of all .eu domain names lead to a functioning website or an email server.
.eu labels are increasingly used by well known brands from AirFrance, Versace, Dexia, Illy, and Milka to Greenpeace. Also several non-European companies with a strong business presence in Europe began using .eu domain in their advertising campaigns, including Lexus and Sony.
.eu first opened on 7 December 2005 to business holding prior rights (see IP/05/1510). Since early April 2006, registration has been open to all EU residents and organisations with a legal seat in the EU (see IP/06/476). Central management of the .eu domain names is entrusted to EURid, an independent not-for-profit organisation.
Since 1 January 2007, residents and companies of the new Member States Romania and Bulgaria can also register a .eu domain name.
For the most recent .eu statistics: http://status.eurid.eu/