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?
Jean Guillon says
All I have to say is let’s see the result of .ASIA LR2 with Pool.com
Ex Eurid employee.
Francesco Cetraro says
I have to be honest, I am less impressed by DotMobi´s results: the number of .mobi compliant sites is ridiculous, and not even their investors really use the extension for their mobile sites (only exception being Nokia… not even Google or Hi3g have working .mobi sites!!).
Nevertheless, they keep pushing to sell more domains (see partnership with Sedo), rather than doing something to fix the ones they already have and build some quality in their namespace.
They announced they would be doing compliance checks starting this summer… but they are not exactly talking that much about it unless you really force them. It´s a pity, because I really think .mobi has potential and I would love to see more easily accessible mobile services online.
If I have to compare the 2 tlds however, I personally think .eu still delivered more than .mobi has.
John McCormac says
The .eu may look like it delivered more than .mobi but it delivered most of .eu to cyberwarehousers and cybersquatters. Even the cyberwarehousers are giving up on .eu due to lack of traffic and revenue. I’m looking at the spreadsheet of the web survey at the moment and .eu definitely is a failed extension in terms of active web development.
Eurid just did not have the competence to deal with .eu as its management were mostly from small ccTLD registries with no experience of the real world of gTLDs. As for the piece of junk registry software that the fools in the European Commission thought was “advanced” – dotMobi had an operational registry system at the time of launching the landrush.
The growth in DotMobi is following a classic managed registy/high domain price pattern. While its growth is not as fast as an unmanaged TLD, it is steadier. I’m going to run a .mobi web survey in the next few days so it should be interesting to compare development and growth in the two TLDs.
The .eu still has fraudulent registrations that have been there since the landrush. The industrial level cybersquatting and cyberwarehousing is still there in .eu ccTLD. The management of Eurid betrayed the people of the EU.
The best thing would be the redelegation of .eu to a competent registry and a complete reexamination of the landrush by a competent authority, backed by necessary legislation, that can undo the damage faciliated by Eurid’s complicity and incompetence. Until that restoration of public confidence in .eu, it is a junk extension.
Francesco Cetraro says
John, I totally agree with your criticism on how EURid (mis)managed .eu: they definitely had a too high opinion of themselves when they launched the TLD, and although they are still far from doing an acceptable job they have definitely improved in the last year and they are now more open to external input.
I definitely agree that a more organic growth of the .eu namespace would have given a better result: going from 0 to 2 million domains in such a short time was definitely not a good thing and caused that surge of cybersquatters you described.
DotMobi had Afilias to run their technical backend, which was definitely a smart move: from the perspective of bringing quality to their TLD I still think their failure is relatively bigger than EURid´s, but I can´t see them changing strategy either. I´ll be looking forward to see what happens to them when they start doing the compliance checks: will they loose their face, or will they disable 600k domains?
John McCormac says
They are different types of TLDs Francesco.
The DotMobi is a device specific one and is also high cost. The .eu was meant to be a generic, comparatively low cost, ccTLD for EU. The growth patterns are different.
It will take at least another three years to see if DotMobi will be successful. However I would expect to see between 20% and 35% of landrush .mobi domains being dropped on the landrush anniversary. Unlike .eu, there is natural development in DotMobi. Eurid’s incompetence in handling cybersquatting and cyberwarehousing meant that the domains of many businesses were squatted/warehoused. The moronic handling of Sunrise 2 by PwC BE and Eurid meant that over 80% of Irish and UK businesses failed to get their .eu – many of of these domains were later squatted by operations like Buycool/Blogdo/Zheng, Kurt Janusch/XSS.RO, Jay Westerdal/Ray King, the Ovidio Syndicate etc. Some of these operations had overwhelmed the mickey mouse Eurid registry system at the start of the landrush. The result was a complete collapse of public confidence in .eu as Eurid tried to lie its way out of the disaster. The .eu ccTLD is effectively dead in the English speaking market. Some of these operations (such as that of the Jay Westerdal/Ray King op) were actively hiding the domains that they had warehoused by removing the nameservers from the domains. The European Commission now has a ccTLD that reflects the bureaucratic corruption, incompetence and waste of the EU.
DotMobi tried to curb the effects of the landrush and it seemed to flatten out the growth curve. But it will take at least another three years to see if DotMobi is successful. The landrush anniversary may see between 20 and 40% of DotMobi domains dropping. However a lot of those drops be due to people having applied .com rules of speculation to a new TLD. These would have been purely speculative registrations and there would have been no intention of these registrants to develop the domains. The good thing about DotMobi is that it learned from the mistakes of .eu. However the when you compare DotMobi with .eu, you are not comparing like with like. They are very different types of extensions.
Francesco Cetraro says
I agree with you that we are talking pears and apples here, my comments about .mobi and .eu were triggered by Michele referring to both TLDs in his post to start with 🙂
I will be looking forward to your report on the .mobi zone to continue the discussion. Anyway, according to MTLD they plan to start the compliance checks already this summer, so that´s when all the .mobi domains will have to have some kind of mobi-compliant website up… not in 3 years 🙂
But in general I really like the .mobi concept, and I do have a few ideas on mobi-related projects too that maybe one day I´ll have the time to put in practice 🙂