European Commission Gives EURid Vote Of Confidence In Its Operation Of .EU

.eu “continues to function in an effective way, facilitating access to the Digital Single Market in a secure and trustworthy way and allowing Europeans to display their European identity online,” according to a report by the European Commission into the “implementation, functioning and effectiveness” of .eu from April 2017 to April 2019.

The report, a biennial requirement of the European Commission, notes that the European Union’s top-level domain has faced some headwinds, notably a stagnation of growth due to the maturity of the domain name market, Brexit and the United Kingdom’s imminent exit from the European Union, meaning British-based registrants will soon no longer be eligible to register .eu domain names which has caused a haemorrhaging of registrations, along with the suspension of domain names due to stricter checks on registration data. It is a requirement that .eu registrants be residents in or citizens of an EU Member State, Iceland, Liechtenstein or Norway, or undertakings or organisations established in these countries.

It’s a very positive report into EURid’s operation of .eu. The report notes there were 3.7 million registered .eu domain names at the end of the first quarter of 2019 and that it’s the eleventh largest TLD and remains the seventh largest ccTLD worldwide. The volume of registrations accounts for approximately 1% of the global domain name market, comprising more than 350 million domain names distributed among 1,486 TLDs.

The EC’s report says .eu’s “performance aligns with the performance of other ccTLDs, challenged collectively by low growth rates in the domain names market during the two-year timeframe of this report.” The report gives a number of reasons to account for these low growth rates. These were trends such as the maturity of key national markets and increased competition due to the advent of new gTLDs, which were issues in the previous biennial report. There were also some new issues for the period covered in this report, such as substitutes gaining market share, such as social media accounts for individuals and businesses, and applications (apps) for the mobile market, particularly in emerging markets.

The report notes that “confronted with growing competition, the .eu Registry focused increasingly on quality of service and security, rather than on price. This proved successful: the renewal rate of .eu domain names remained high and grew from 78.6% to 80% in the period covered in this report.”

“Furthermore, the .eu Registry continued to promote DNSSEC, implemented cybersecurity measures, deployed new initiatives to prevent abusive registrations, and collaborated with law enforcement and other public authorities at both the national and European levels in the fight against illegal activities involving .eu domain names. The .eu Registry maintained a highly resilient and robust technical infrastructure to ensure that the .eu namespace remained available for all internet users.

“Supporting European linguistic diversity and expanding multilingualism across the .eu domain remained a priority. At the end of the period covered, the expectation was that the .ευ string in Greek script could be launched end of 2019. This milestone would mark the successful completion of efforts to support all non-Latin scripts in the European Union.

“In general, the .eu domain continues to function in an effective way, facilitating access to the Digital Single Market in a secure and trustworthy way and allowing Europeans to display their European identity online”

In its conclusion, the EC report notes “the .eu domain continues to function in an effective manner, facilitating access to the Digital Single Market, allowing Europeans to display their European identity online, and supporting multilingualism.”

“The increased focus on quality of service and security helped the .eu domain to maintain its market position during the period considered in the report. It also directly contributed to the EU objectives of increasing trust and security on the internet and in the Digital Single Market.

“The .eu can become a model for other domain names in terms of building a trusted and secure domain name space. It will require sustained efforts to ensure the broad adoption of security measures such as DNSSEC, to tackle abusive registrations, and to ensure that illegal behaviours and abuse that are evident elsewhere in the DNS ecosystem do not gain a foothold in relation to .eu domain names. The solid financial situation of the .eu will allow these efforts to be sustained.

“Based on its solid customer base, its strong relations with registrars and targeted actions towards under-served geographic markets and EU citizens living abroad, the .eu domain has the potential to strengthen further its position as the domain of choice of EU citizens and businesses.”

The full report is available to download from here [pdf].