PracticePeople In PracticeEuropean net domain set for launch

European net domain set for launch

Plans mooted by European government and business leaders to drop .com for .eu as the flagship European domain extension are on course, and registrations may start next year.

Symbols such as eu, which are protected by the International Standard Organisation, have been approved by the body that manages internet naming for use as top level domains by regional authorities, according to Erkki Likkanen, the European Union (EU) Commissioner for the Information Society.

The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers(Icann) is the non-profit organisation that manages theweb’s domain name system. Having received the nod fromIcann, the EU can now press ahead with its idea ofestablishing .eu as the premier domain suffix for Europeanbusinesses conducting ecommerce.

While the Commission initially saw the .eu suffix as complementary to country level domains such as .co.uk,consultations with national governments and business leadersresulted in plans to establish .eu as a top level domain.

Business leaders wanted tighter rules on registering domainsin order to filter out so-called cybersquatters and preventnon-European businesses from operating ecommerce operations unless they pay European Community (EC) taxes and agree to be bound by EC law.

This, they hope, will end disputes over cross-border consumer protection and jurisdiction, and would require non-European businesses to be registered in at least one European country if they wished to conduct ecommerce operations from a .eu domain.

Icann is currently conducting a formal bidding process to expand the number of generic top level domains used because there is thought to be a shortage of easy to remember .com names. Some 200 suffixes have been suggested including .pro, .site, .web and .info with the first of these, which indicates professional, expected to be approved at the end of the year.

It may take longer for .eu to be established, Likkanen said, because the registrar who would run the registration of those firms adopting the .eu suffix for their ecommerce website has yet to be nominated.

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