EU launches .eu domain in hope to rival .com
6 April 2006
BRUSSELS – The European Union was set to open its new internet domain “.eu” to the public on Friday, hoping for a flood of applications from its citizens to make the bloc’s joint online space rival the world’s most important domain name “.com”.
Four months after public bodies got the green light to bid for “.eu” addresses, followed by businesses in February, ordinary Europeans will also be able to register for a domain name with an EU tag.
“I expect thousands of applications to be filed in the first few hours. .., making ‘.eu’ a powerful domain name on equal footing with ‘.com’,” EU media commissioner Viviane Reding said in a statement.
“Interest so far has been significant … so we will see several hundred thousand … new ‘.eu’ names from Friday and onwards,” added Marc van Wesemael, head of EURid, a Brussels-based non-profit body, appointed by the European Commission.
EURid processes applications through a worldwide net of more than 1,000 competing registrars.
The system, open to individuals from 0900 GMT on Friday, will work on a “first come, first served” basis and activate names within a few hours, the commission said.
Having a postal address within the 25-nation bloc is the only prerequisite for an application.
Total fees charged may be as low as 12 euros. But as registrars will add their own margin, customers should shop around for the best deal, the EU executive underlined.
The new “.eu” domain names is designed to complement but not to replace national country codes such as France’s “.fr”, Britain’s “.uk” or Germany’s “.de”.
“It will give users the option of having a pan-European internet identity for … web-sites and email-addresses,” the EU executive said, adding that the “.eu” suffix also protects internet users under EU privacy and data protection laws.
Since the EU got its own webspace started last December, some 342,000 businesses and institutions have applied for an “.eu” tag. EU institutions and officials will switch to “.eu” names on May 9, the commission said.
So far, around 24,400 domain names have been activated and a further 54,000 are about to go online.
Germans seem to be most keen on European net-surfing with around 30 per cent of active domains, followed by the Netherlands (17 per cent) and France (11 per cent).
The first phases of the “.eu” application process turned out to be rather complicated as certain priority rights had to be considered.
“But with private applicants it will be much easier now, the system will work automatically,” said Benjamin Gevers, a Brussels- based trademark and design attorney.
For euro-cybernauts worried of being beaten to their favourite name, Gevers’ company allowed applications to be sent in earlier to be all set for the online start Friday.
Subject: German news