In some ways the failure of .eu to capture hearts and minds makes me sad. I’m European. I’d like to think that a European namespace could be a success, but that seems to be a misplaced desire.
As I mentioned some time ago, the only way to grow a namespace or TLD is through usage. Once people start to see a domain extension in “action” then they begin to start using it. If people start using it then everyone benefits – registry, registrars, “normal” registrants and domain investors alike.
When was the last time you saw a high profile .eu site?
You’d have to think long and hard about it, wouldn’t you?
Even the “big boys” aren’t really using their .eu domains actively.
Google.eu doesn’t have any A records ie. it doesn’t point anywhere.
Yahoo.eu points to a Yahoo site, but not to the European one!
Ebay.eu actually does what you’d expect it to do, but it was the only one I could find when I did a quick search this evening.
Why do I bring this up?
Last week John McCormack sent me some preliminary statistics on domain usage for the EU namespace and the figures were quite worrying. He’s since published a blog piece with a breakdown of the stats and if I were in Eurid I’d be sobbing.
You can read John’s article, but the basic underlying truth is hard to avoid.
Adoption of .eu has been pretty bad and that’s being diplomatic about it.
While there may be a large number of domains registered only a very small fraction are in active use, with many simply redirecting to a ccTLD equivalent or being parked.
Launching a new TLD is not easy.
Afilias have resorted over the past couple of years to literally giving away domains for free and it looks like Eurid are adopting a similar approach.
DotMobi, however, have worked hard to build up interest in their TLD among users of all shapes and sizes and got the investors interested as well.
What will the future hold for .eu?
Will their PR pay off or will it all fizzle out?