Domain name growth in Europe has never been healthier. This can be illustrated by the annual growth over the past year of registered domain names under the most popular European country code Top Level Domains (ccTLDs), .DE (Germany), .CO.UK (United Kingdom), .NL (Netherlands) and of course .EU, the pan-European extension launched at the end of 2005.

In effect, .EU has been in fine form and is now seen by many brand owners as an essential extension under which to register, for example there are over 428,000 registrants of .EU domain names in the Netherlands, 318,000 in the United Kingdom and 276,000 in France, although these countries are a long way behind Germany where the number of .EU registrants recently passed the 1 million mark. This could possibly be down to the fact that finding a specific term under .DE is becoming increasingly difficult due to its popularity, and as such people are turning to .EU as an alternative extension.

Other countries where a high number of .EU domain names have been registered are Poland and Italy with more than 200,000 and 191,000 .EU registrations to date respectively.

Taking the top four European ccTLDs in order of popularity, .DE has seen an annual growth rate of just under 6% over the past year, .CO.UK of more than 11%, .NL of around 15% and .EU of around 10%. Due to the decreasing number of available domain names under the national ccTLDs mentioned above, we are likely to see a continued increase in the growth of .EU as a popular alternative.

The .EU extension has also been in the press recently further to a recent decision by the Brussels Court of Appeal to release around 10,000 .EU domain names that were previously registered during the sunrise period back in 2006 by the same registrant. Further to a number of alternative dispute resolution complaints brought against this registrant, the .EU Registry, EURid, decided to take action against the registrant for breach of contract. This means that instead of the domain names being transferred to their rightful owners based on prior rights, they will instead be released into the public domain. However it is not clear when this will happen.

To access the EURid website, please go to: