In December 2016, there were 45,000 .eu and .ею IDNs, a net decrease of approximately 1,000 since December 2015. The number of IDNs peaked at 67 000 in 2010, and there is a slightly downward trend-line from 2009 to 2016.
Analysis of the .eu and .ею IDN zones (captured in April 2017) reveals that of a total of 42,500 .eu and .ею IDNs, 37,000 are Latin script, 2,000 are Greek script and 3,200 are Cyrillic script (2,000 under ею and 1,200 under .eu). The introduction of .ею has increased the percentage share of Cyrillic script domains in the EU namespace.
The majority of IDNs under .eu are in Latin script (88%, an decrease of 5% since 2015). The continuing popularity of Latin script reflects the widespread use of Latin script in many European languages, with accents and diacritics forming the IDN element of the Latin script domains. Some European languages, such as German, Swedish, French, Czech and Polish, use many diacritics. Others (such as English and Dutch) use relatively few. Two EU languages – Bulgarian and Greek – rely on non-Latin scripts (Cyrillic and Greek, respectively).
Aware that mixed-script IDNs pose challenges for users, EURid since 2009 has worked within the ICANN community to introduce the equivalents to .eu in both Greek and Cyrillic script. The aim is to support the objective of enhancing online linguistic diversity by giving EU businesses and individuals the opportunity to register domain names in an entirely Greek script or Cyrillic script environment.
Years of policy work came to fruition in June 2016 with the launch of the .ею (Cyrillic script) top level domain, suitable for Bulgarian users. Existing Cyrillic script domains at the second level under .eu were cloned at the time of launch to create 1400 new .ею domains. By April 2017 (the time when the zone files for .eu and .ею were captured for this year’s study), the number of .ею domains had grown to nearly 2,000.
Meanwhile, the Greek script application continues to struggle through the ICANN processes, 8 years since entering the IDN “Fast Track”.