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A mere six years after they were first proposed Europe is a step closer getting its very own top level domain - .eu.

Erkki Liikanen backed the proposal for a Europe-wide domain name, the final part of a web address like .uk or .fr, when he was Commissioner for Enterprise in the late twentieth century (November 1999).

The Internet Corporation of Assigned Names and Numbers (Icann) has now approved the appointment of EURid to manage the allocation of names. EURid has appointed PriceWaterhouseCoopers to oversee validations in the "sunrise period".

In order to prevent cybersquatting (people registering trademarks and brands belonging to other people) for the first four months only public bodies and holders of registered names and trademarks will be allowed to register. After this period addresses will be given out on a first-come first-served basis.

No-one can register any address ending .eu yet. But EURid warned earlier this week that a spam email was being sent out from someone claiming to have pre-registered people's .eu domain names in advance. It is not yet possible to pre-register a name with EURid.

There is more info on registering .eu addresses here ®

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