From 10th of October 2018, the .ελ ccTLD will be available on a first come first served basis.
The Greek script version of .gr (.ελ) is the new internationalised domain name (IDN) for the Greek country code top level domain (ccTLD). A sunrise period began in July 2018, and in the first two days, .ελ saw approximately 1,100 new registrants.
Domain names in Greek script have been available since July 2005, at the second level under the ASCII .gr. It is now possible to register fully Greek domain names under the new .ελ.
IDNs are a supporter and promoter of non-English content online, which allows for a greater variety of content, ease of use for end users, and creation of more local, relevant content online. So the addition of .ελ is a positive step toward making the internet more accessible and promoting more Greek language content online.
The road to .ελ was not swift. The Greek ccTLD registry applied to ICANN for the IDN TLD in 2010 through the IDN ccTLD fast track. After several twists and turns, the application was finally approved in 2015.
The Greek ccTLD registry then undertook thorough consultations with its local Internet community, to update the “Regulation on Management and Assignment of .gr and .ελ Domain Names” following rounds of public consultation.
An initial sunrise period runs from July to October 2018, during which existing registrants under .gr will be offered the equivalent domain under .ελ, and provision is made for variants and homographs.
With an ever-growing number of non-English speakers online, the benefits of local language content and even print, such as advertising, Greek speakers, internet users, and content creators world-wide stand to gain from the launch of .ελ.