European Domain Name Gets Green Light

By Matthew Hicks  |  Posted 2005-03-24 Print this article Print

While the .eu domain takes a significant step forward following ICANN approval, it is still a year or more away from general availability.

A European Union Web address took a critical step toward becoming a reality this week after gaining the approval of the Internets domain-name oversight body. ICANN (the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers) announced Thursday that its board of directors has backed the creation of .eu, a country code top-level domain name first proposed by the European Commission.
The approval follows months of contractual negotiations between ICANN and EURid, the Leuven, Belgium-based registry selected by the European Commission to operate the domain.
The broad availability of .eu domain-name registrations remains at least a year away. According to EURid, the next step for .eu will be its inclusion into the domain name system root, or master directory, within the next 10 days. The Internet Assigned Numbers Authority oversees the root. "Having .eu in the root sets the green light for the launch of .eu," said EURid General Manager Marc Van Wesemael, in a statement. What about the future of .net? Click here to read about the bidders who are battling to run the popular Web domain. By the end of the year, EURid plans to begin accepting early registrations of .eu domains from government bodies and companies holding trademarks and other rights to names in a so-called "sunrise period." The sunrise period is expected to last about four months. EURid is still finalizing its policy for .eu registrations, which must gain the approval of the European Commission. The registry also must develop a network of registrars, the companies that directly sell .eu registrations to consumers and businesses. To kick off that effort, it plans to publish its agreement for registrars in May, EURid said. Click here to read more about Google becoming a domain-name registrar. Creating a domain name for the European Union has not been easy. The European Union first proposed .eu in 2000 as a way of identifying European companies and institutions and to jumpstart electronic commerce in Europe. Instead of becoming a quick reality, though, the .eu domain name has weaved its way through legislative and bureaucratic hurdles. Check out eWEEK.coms for the latest news, views and analysis on servers, switches and networking protocols for the enterprise and small businesses.
Matthew Hicks As an online reporter for, Matt Hicks covers the fast-changing developments in Internet technologies. His coverage includes the growing field of Web conferencing software and services. With eight years as a business and technology journalist, Matt has gained insight into the market strategies of IT vendors as well as the needs of enterprise IT managers. He joined Ziff Davis in 1999 as a staff writer for the former Strategies section of eWEEK, where he wrote in-depth features about corporate strategies for e-business and enterprise software. In 2002, he moved to the News department at the magazine as a senior writer specializing in coverage of database software and enterprise networking. Later that year Matt started a yearlong fellowship in Washington, DC, after being awarded an American Political Science Association Congressional Fellowship for Journalist. As a fellow, he spent nine months working on policy issues, including technology policy, in for a Member of the U.S. House of Representatives. He rejoined Ziff Davis in August 2003 as a reporter dedicated to online coverage for Along with Web conferencing, he follows search engines, Web browsers, speech technology and the Internet domain-naming system.

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