EU breaks domain name language barrier
The European Union has officially opened registrations for businesses and organizations across the EU to sign up for .eu domain addresses which contain characters from all 23 official EU languages.
The EU change means Greek or Cyrillic characters can be used in domains for the three million '.eu' sites.
The move follows ICANN's lead last month when the international domain name governing body opened up domain names to different scripts.
"Internationalized domain names under .eu, our European top level domain, are a big step towards a truly global and at the same time local internet," said, the EU's Information Society Commissioner, Viviane Reding in a statement.
The expansion of domain names outside of Latin scripts is expected to have a massive impact on domain name registration and online usage.
"Many internet users will come from countries where most languages are not based on the 'a to z' Latin script and they will naturally want to use their own scripts," Reding added.
Prior to this announcement, many countries could not use their full alphabet for web domains ie Czechs could only use 27 of 42 characters, and Lithuanians 23 of 32.
Domain name registrar Domainmonster.com started taking pre- orders last week. "This is an entirely new way of thinking on the web. European businesses and consumers, previously forced to communicate in a limited ASCII character set, can now advertise, communicate and navigate the Internet as they do every day life," said CEO Matt Mansell. The company is expected a land grab from big brands who want to protect their correctly accented real estate.