Thousands rush to register new '.eu' domain name

Some 300,000 Europeans rushed to register their new ".eu" Internet domain names in the first hour of being able to sign up to the new Web site addresses, European Union officials, quoted by an Associated Press report, said.

Officials said registrations for the new domain name were opened to those who resided in the 25-nation EU on a first-come, first served basis.

EU Commissioner Viviane Reding said the Commission hoped the new ".eu" name would one day rival the ".com" name, the report said.

All EU institutions, including the Commission, European Parliament and the EU's general Web site would switch to the ".eu" name on May 9, Europe day, Reding said, according to the report.

The European Registry of Internet Domain Names, or EURid, the nonprofit organization in charge of handling the requests, reported at midday that ,ore than 550,000 domain names had been registered.

Businesses and public bodies had been able to sign up for the new EU Internet address since December. Reding said 320,000 such sites were filed, the report said.