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.eu domains are go, go, go!

Trademark owners get first dips after five years

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It may have taken over five years getting there, but at 10am today, the first .eu domains will go on sale - and it's going to be a landrush.

At least it will be for trademark holders, because only those holding a valid European Union trademark will be entitled to apply from now until 7 February 2006 - and only on the exact trademark they own. Applications will be checked, we are told.

The registry owner of .eu, EURid is expecting tens of thousands of requests in a very brief period as approved registrars bombard its servers in an effort to get hold of the domain their customers want.

There is no guarantee of success: a large number of trademark have mutiple legitimate owners across the EU, but only one can win the domain.

Some companies, including Pool.com, have been offering advanced domain-grabbing options - up to €10,000 for its "premium" domain service. Customers only pay if the company manages to get it for them, following a deposit of €125. But that remains a hell of a mark-up considering the domains themselves cost only €10.

Pool.com has a few years experience in picking up dropped domains and previous new domain landrushes and its CEO told us it had partnered with several hundred registars to maximise its changes. It offers no guarantee though.

For those of you without trademarks, you may be able to grab a .eu domain in February - but only for your company name, distinctive titles, unregistered trademarks and tradenames.

The rest of us will have to wait until 7 April for .eu to be opened up to the market. The big question then will be: does anyone want a .eu domain beyond companies wanting to protect their business? ®

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