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.eu Internet Domain Name

25 August 2006
by eub2 -- last modified 25 August 2006

.eu was put in the root zone of the Internet Domain Name System (DNS) in March 2005 which means that, technically speaking; it has been in existence since then.


.eu began accepting applications for domain names from end users on December 7, 2005. At that time, only holders of prior rights to names enjoying some legal protection in a member state could apply for those names as domain names before .eu opened for general registration on a strictly first-come-first-served basis on April 7, 2006. This period of phased registration (Dec 7, 2005 – Apr 6, 2006) is referred to as the Sunrise period.

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What is a Top Level Domain?

The Top Level Domain (TLD) is a part of an Internet domain name. For example, ".com" is the TLD in:

TLDs are also obviously an important part of e-mail addresses. For example:

".int" is one of the so-called generic TLDs (gTLD) and is reserved for use by international organisations. The most widely known generic TLD is probably .com (pronounced by many people as "dot-com"). You may also have come across .net, .info, .org, to name but a few. A list of generic TLDs is available on the ICANN website.

There are also a large number of country code Top Level Domains (ccTLD) such as .uk, .de, .fr or .cz. Each TLD is associated with a particular Registry which then registers the names associated with the TLD. IANA keeps a list of country code TLDs.

".eu", the new Top Level Domain for citizens and businesses in the European Union, is considered a ccTLD.

Why have a .eu Top Level Domain?

The .eu TLD will be a new Top level Domain, introduced for use by individuals, organisations and companies in the European Union. It will not replace the existing national ccTLDs in the EU, but will complement them and give users the additional option of having a pan-European Internet identity for their web sites and e-mail addresses.

The EU is one of the biggest users of the Internet in the world and the introduction of a .eu TLD will create even more opportunities to exploit this exciting technology.

Who is responsible for introducing the .eu TLD?

Following the adoption of the Regulation on the implementation of the .eu Top Level Domain on 25 March 2002, the European Commission is responsible for taking the necessary steps for the implementation of the .eu TLD.

The .eu TLD will, however, be managed and operated by EURid - the European Registry for Internet Domains - in consultation with the European Internet community.

EURid is a a private sector, not-for-profit organisation. It was selected after the Commission had invited applications from interested parties to act as the .eu TLD Registry in a call for expression of interest published on 3 September 2002.  The decision of the Commission to select EURid - the European Registry for Internet Domains - took place on 21 May 2003 and a contract between the Commission and EURid was signed on 12 October 2004.

When can names be registered?

For trademark holders and public bodies: from 7 December 2005 to 6 April 2006.

For holders of "other prior rights": from 7 February 2006 to 6 April 2006.

For the general public: from 7 April 2006.

For additional information please refer to the Eurid website.

Who can register a .eu name?

Essentially, any individual resident in the EU or any organisation or company established in the EU will be able to register a name under the .eu TLD.

Certain restrictions will be enforced to avoid abusive or speculative registrations. In particular the registry will put in place an initial phased introduction of names in order to ensure appropriate temporary opportunities for the holders of certain prior rights. Public bodies will also have the opportunity to register their names in advance of the general public.

A comprehensive set of guidelines outlining the rules for the registration of names (the so-called "registration policy") will be formulated by the Registry itself, in consultation with the European Internet community.

How much will it cost?

The basic fee for the registration of a domain name during the first year will be of EUR 10. However, applications have to be filed through  registrars that will add their own costs to that fee. Different registrars may offer different services. Prices thus vary.

What about pre-registrations?

The services of the Commission are aware that some companies are offering to 'pre-register' or 'reserve' domain names. It should be noted that pre-registering a domain name within the .eu TLD is technically not possible. These companies can only commit to keep the application for registering a domain name and to forward them to the Registry as soon as it opens its doors to accept applications. This however cannot be considered a real pre-registration inasmuch as it does not guarantee to the applicants that their applications will indeed reach the registry prior to other registrations.

Given the risks of confusion or even fraud, for several years the web-pages of the European Commission have warned of pre-registration or reservation of .eu domain names.

Interested in a .eu domain name?

Further Information on Europa

eCommunications Networks & Services

Europe's Information Society: Thematic Portal

Source: European Commission
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