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UK companies told to embrace .eu domains

Before it's too late...
Written by Will Sturgeon, Contributor

Before it's too late...

Relations between the EU and the UK have at times been strained but that should be no reason for UK companies to ignore the potential of registering a dot-eu domain name.

By the 7 April general release of dot-eu domains, pre-registrations for trademarked brands, as well as some predictably in-demand domains such as sex.eu, are expected to hit 1.5 million. However, UK names are conspicuous by their absence.

Registrar Nominet told silicon.com UK applications for dot-eu domains account for less than one in 10. Nominet said it's likely UK companies are standing by the value of their dot-uk brands.

Damian Schmidt, CEO of rival domain name registrar Strato, told silicon.com: "We think that in Great Britain the dot-eu domain just isn't a topic which is interesting people."

But he said that attitude could ultimately prove costly.

Germany currently accounts for 30 per cent of registrations, the Netherlands for 16 per cent and France for 11 per cent, said Schmidt. The UK meanwhile is languishing in fourth place on nine per cent.

Schmidt said he isn't sure whether that is for political reasons, or whether UK businesses are simply unaware of the opportunity but he urged businesses to realise the potential of owning their dot-eu domain and warned them to consider the problems of not doing so.

However, a spokeswoman for Nominet criticised the process for registering dot-eu domains, saying it may have discouraged companies from signing up.

Furthermore, she added: "Many businesses do not feel the need or do not want to register a dot-eu domain name when they already have a well recognised dot-uk brand in which people have confidence and trust."

But Schmidt claimed: "Dot-eu will be as strong as dot-com in a couple of years," predicting that it will overtake a lot of smaller country-specific European top level domains fairly quickly in terms of prestige.

Currently pre-registration is going through two 'sunrise' periods when registered trademarks can ensure they get their domains on board. Come 7 April it will be a land-grab.

Schmidt said major dot-com companies such as Amazon have already signed-up their dot-eu domain but he predicts that those companies who leave it until 7 April or later to register their domains will find themselves either missing out or embroiled in protracted wrangling to reclaim their domain.

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