It is only just the “sunrise” period for registering the new .EU domain and already it looks to be doing well. This article claims more than 80,000 registrations in the first two hours. It sounds like many of these are folks trying to squat on names like “sex.ue” and so on.
The sunrise period is a pre-registration period for companies that already own trademarks in the EU (which includes US-based mulinationals). The doors won’t be fully open to .EU registration until April of 2006.
I’ve been following the evolution of .EU for over a year and I think it makes a lot of sense for companies that are doing business in Europe to have one. Few companies that I have studied have posted localized Web sites for all 20+ EU countries. Having this domain provides a more country-neutral address for targeting those countries for which you don’t yet have a country Web site developed. That’s not to say that domains like .FR, .IT, and .DE still won’t be important — but I think .EU will help fill in the gaps. And the registrars will be more than happy to sell you one.
Will we one day see .EU replace .DE and so on? I doubt it. Europeans still identify themselves by country, just as Americans identify themselves by state. Ironically, most Americans (and even non-Americans) tend to view .COM as a US domain, which it is not.