jmccormac - 5:44 pm on Nov 27, 2011 (gmt 0)
Eurid came out with mickey mouse survey of 5000 .eu sites and tried to claim that it had 36% business usage or something equally ridiculous. As a ccTLD, .eu is dead. The only way to describe it now is a gateway TLD that is used to guide users to the relevant sites. About 21.87% of sites are either Brand Protection/External TLD redirects/Matched External TLD redirects. The approach Eurid uses is the Finite Monkeys one - get a bunch of students/employees to sit down and categorise sites. This is sheer muppetry. Large scale surveys have to be automated and they have to be run and designed by people who understand search engines and categorisation. These people do not. The way that they waffled (obvious Belgian pun) about how their 5K survey scales up statistically is rubbish. This is because people break HTML in all sorts of wonderful ways and almost every small webhoster has their own variant of a holding page. There are over 1500 different REGEXPs used as part of the analysis here and that's only part of the process of categorisation of domain usage. The O factor, where sites from other TLDs are served as .eu sites is user transparent. It actually takes some linguistic analysis and link analysis to detect them.
It has replaced .com, to some extent, as the second choice TLD in some of the Eastern EU countries but it has effectively flatlined in most of the EU countries where growth in their ccTLD and com would take up about 80% of growth in any month.
I've been working on a timescape algorithm for assessing web growth in TLDs and it is showing some promise. But at least 40% of .eu has not been updated in 2011 if the early results are correct. (Combination of Last-Modified data from webservers and copyright date cues from the HTML.)
I've dug out the data from the .eu survey I ran in 2007 to compare and about 33K sites were unchanged (quick comparison of HTML hashes). I think I have another survey from 2008 around somewhere. In the monthly Irish webscape survey that I run (about 9K .eu doms out of about 350K domains surveyed), .eu always resembles .biz in terms of usage.
What is interesting is that Ovidio and some of the other early market speculators have dropped their portfolios or have stealthed them. Most of the UK front company .eu domains that are left (about 17K or so) are on an aftermarket domain sale site and few of them are getting any interest at all.
I should have spent my time surveying the few million .co.uk sites that I track. :)