Studies indicate that having a ‘dot eu’ (.eu) domain name can be a business advantage. These studies show that this domain name proved to be very effective, with many small and medium enterprises stating that having the.eu domain name enhanced their business image and that they had seen increased access to business opportunities in Europe because of it.
Understanding Domain Names
Domain names were developed in response to the explosive growth of the internet. Domain names provide an easy way of remembering internet addresses. The original Internet Protocol addressing system (e.g. 184.108.40.206) is much more difficult to remember.
The key elements of a domain name are in the ‘dots’ which separate the different parts of a domain name, more specifically the letters following the last ‘dot’ in a domain name called the Top Level Domain (TLD). Standards developed over the years and currently administered by the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), a non-profit, private sector organization formed by a broad alliance of internet stakeholders – classify TLDs into two categories:
- country code top level domains (ccTLD), which are used by countries or dependent territories or regions. Under ICANN regulations, this is two letters long and refer to a specific country, e.g..jp for Japan, etc.; and
- generic top level codes (gTLD) that are to be used by a particular grouping of organizations or entities. Some of the gTLDs established in 1984 when the domain name concept was first implemented are the popular ‘dot com’ (.com), ‘dot org’ (.org) and ‘dot net’ (.net) referring to companies, organizations and networks, respectively.
ICANN has, over the years, expanded the listing of gTLDs, which now include such top level domains as ‘dot biz’ for business entities, ‘dot edu’ which is reserved for institutions of learning such as colleges and universities, and ‘dot museums’ for legitimate museums.
One relatively recent change in the system was the expansion of the ‘dot gov’ TLD,which used to refer only to US Federal government offices, to encompass national government agencies worldwide, distinguished from the US government by the inclusion of their ccTLD (for example, http://www.mofa.go.jp for Japan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs).
The Advantage of a ‘dot eu’ Domain Name
The European Council’s initial effort to establish ‘dot eu’ as a European Top-Level Domain began in 1999, with the European Commission undertaking various preparations (including appointing EURid as the operator of ‘dot eu’ in May 2003) until ‘dot eu’ was included in the root zone of the Internet Domain Name System in March 2005.
The primary advantage of the ‘dot eu’ is that it will establish your company or organization as a European entity without the confusion of the earlier country code TLDs. While some country codes are obvious, such as ‘dot uk’ referring to the United Kingdom or Britain, or ‘dot fr’ which can easily be assumed as France, others are not so obvious. Spain’s ccTLD, for example, is ‘dot es’ and not, as is usually assumed ‘dot sp’; Germany’s ccTLD is ‘dot de’ rather than ‘dot ger’, which may conflict with Greece’s ‘dot gr’.
Having a ‘dot eu’ domain name makes it extremely clear that your company is a European-based entity which, by itself, removes major confusion especially if your ccTLD is not as easily recognizable, ‘dot se’ for Sweden, for example. Adding the ‘dot eu’ designator makes it clear that your company is European (‘dot se dot eu’).