jmccormac - 6:23 pm on Nov 28, 2011 (gmt 0)
It has become a gateway TLD, HuskyPup,
While it doesn't have a lot of content in terms of Active/unclassified sites, a lot of big companies now use it as a gateway to redirect users to the relevant ccTLD site. It is also a very cheap way to access the EU market.
There's a vast difference between the statistics and the topology of the web. This is the point that I was making (using the muppetry and Finite Monkeys terms). Site usage tends to be highly specific so trying to classify the usage of a bunch of sites as business/community/institutional etc and then extrapolating that to the entire TLD causes major problems simply because many sites are unique.
It also tends to freak people like me out (especially after having just finished categorising almost 2 million .eu websites) because we see the whole of the web and know how people break HTML. Categorising sites on a large scale (5000 sites is not a large scale) is complex work. One person could categorise the 5K sites. This is how many web directory operators do their seed set. However it can be very boring work.
The imprecision of describing a site as a business site is also a major problem because what differentiates a one page site for a carpenter from a site like Homebase or Argos (or any big brand shop with loads of products)? Now you can look for shopping cart signatures where links to known shopping cart software will appear but it also requires analysis of other links to be sure. Last year in Ireland, a SEO agency quoted a government stats agency claim about n% of businesses having sites that were e-commerce ready. This was rubbish because much of the new website development comes from Sole Traders rather than companies and the survey methodology of the government agency was simply to ring and ask if they had a website or something equally iffy. The web is far more complex than these people realise. Not every website is a shopping site and not every website should be. The one page website with contact details can often be a far more effective sales tool for electricians, plumbers, carpenters, accountants, lawyers than a well designed, multi-page website. This is because people have different requirements when searching for such services. An all-singing, all-dancing website with online ordering will only complicate matters when people just want to call a plumber to fix a leaking pipe.
I think that I mentioned a few years ago that it would take between five and ten years for the .eu to get over the Landrush fiasco. It is beginning to do so but it will take a long time for it to gain serious market share in Ireland and the UK. Though for accessing the Eastern European countries, it is better than a .com because of the way that they've adopted it as the second choice TLD after their local ccTLD.