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What do Milka, Bridgestone and Versace have in common? They all chose the newly created ".eu" as the Top Level Domain (TLD) for their on-line Web presence. During the past two years, businesses, NGOs and EU residents have secured more than 2.8 million European Internet identities, making .eu, at its second birthday, the fourth most popular TLD in Europe and the ninth worldwide.
European Commission officials say that by promoting an on-line identity that is distinctly European, .eu helps citizens and businesses reap the full benefits of the single market and the freedoms that it provides.
By the second anniversary of its launch, it seems that .eu has consolidated its place among the 10 largest TLDs in the world, competing with long-established identities such as .com, .net or .org.
Registrations for .eu domains have been growing following the first boom year. In addition, subscriptions for 80 percent of domain names have been renewed for their second year, which is a vote of confidence for .eu.
In terms of total number of .eu registrations per country of origin, Germany continues to lead with 31.4%, followed by the Netherlands (13.4%), the United Kingdom (13.3%), France (7.3%) and Italy (5.1%).
But in terms of growth, a different picture emerges. With overall growth at 11% for 2007, the number of registrations for .eu from Poland increased by 48.6% in 2007, followed by Lithuania (48.4%) and Finland (39.9%).
Official reports by EU sources say that actual usage and visibility of .eu also continues to be strong, with almost 80% of registered names directing to a functioning Web site and/or e-mail server. Furthermore, not only large and well-known organizations, but also small- and medium-sized enterprises, nongovernmental organizations and private individuals are making increasingly active use of the .eu domain names they have acquired.
As illustrated by recent customer testimonials, satisfied .eu users include Bridgestone, Innovision, Touring Cars and the European Association for Quality Assurance in Higher Education.
The .eu first opened on December 7, 2005, to holders of prior rights. Since early April 2006, registration has been open to all EU residents and organizations with a registered seat in the EU. Management of the .eu registry (the database holding all .eu registrations) is entrusted to EURid, an independent nonprofit organization.
Ari Syrquin is the head of the International Department at the GSCB Law Firm.