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.eu European Domain Will Arrive Mid-2001

Oct 26, 2000, 15:21 (4 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Paul Nicholls)

By Paul Nicholls, InternetNews.com

[London, ENGLAND] The European Commission, which has long coveted a top level .eu ("doteu") domain, has now said it will be introduced in the middle of 2001.

The Interim Steering Group responsible for the matter reconvened a few days ago and has announced a preliminary timetable, although many details remain to be resolved.

There is already much talk of the new top level domain for Europe becoming a rival to the powerful .com, giving Europe a competitive boost. However, cynics are replying that, similarly, the euro was supposed to rival the dollar, and has since sunk to 83 cents.

So will the new domain help break what Europeans perceive is the American dominance of the Internet? Dotcom addresses always suggest that the service being offered is global, whereas .uk, .de, and .fr are clearly localized to the U.K., Germany and France respectively.

In the same way, it would appear that .eu is "localized" to Europe, and few American customers will think of shopping at a .eu site unless they are specifically seeking European goods.

As anyone can guess, a new top level domain means a new top level argument between interested parties. In this case, Switzerland last month lodged a formal complaint with the EU Commission because it has been excluded from the domain. Switzerland, which is not a member of the EU, says the .eu domain should not be exclusive to the 15 EU member states.

Britain and Denmark will enjoy .eu status, despite not using the euro currency. Norway, another non-EU member, has not yet decided whether to complain about its own exclusion from the domain.

There was even some doubt until this month whether a .eu domain was possible in the short-term. ICANN (Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers) said the EU was not a state and could not have its own country code Top Level Domain. To have given Europe a generic or regional alternative would have taken much longer, but the issue has been resolved by ICANN drawing upon some reserved codes.

All the merits and drawbacks of "doteu" can be read about and discussed at the www.doteu-partner.com forum, where Internet users and cybersquatters can also claim a .eu domain free of charge.

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