Latest statistics from EURid, the .EU registry, show the total number of .EU domain names registered briefly passed, and then slipped below the three million mark. .EU is the ninth largest TLD and fifth largest ccTLD.The three-millionth .EU domain name was registered on 11 January, 2009 while at the end of the first quarter 2009 there were 7.3 per cent, or 206,884 more .EU domain names registered when compared with the total at the end of the first quarter of 2008.However today there were 2,976,134 .EU domain names registered, which follows a bumper month for registrations in July when 66,129 new .EU names were registered. This is a 12-month high in new registrations and a rise of 15 per cent when compared to July 2008.A reason for the decline is the launch of .EU was in April 2006, so there is a larger number of renewals and deletions every April.And while there was a decline in the number of registered names when compared to the fourth quarter 2008, there was a 13.4 per cent increase in registrations when compared to the same period one year ago.”We welcome this strong start to the third quarter, which is a reminder of the value of .EU,” comments Marc Van Wesemael, EURid General Manager.But reflecting the global financial crisis, there was a slight decrease in the number of domain names registered per day in quarter one.Renewal rates stayed strong at an average of 81 per cent, which is somewhat higher than the industry norm. The quarter also saw a sharp drop in trades: only 29,816 .EU domain names out of 2.9 million changed hands, or about one domain name out of 100. That is a significant decrease compared to one year ago, when one in 30 was traded.”People who register .eu names are keeping them and using them,” notes Mr Van Wesemael.In number of registrations by country, Germany continues to lead with 930,570 registrations as of the end of quarter one 2009 followed by the Netherlands with 415,641 and the United Kingdom with 352,865.However when looking at the number of .EU domain names per 1,000 people, Cyprus is the clear leader with 66.2 .EU domain names followed by Luxembourg (55.4), the Netherlands (25.2), Ireland (11.4) and Germany (11.3).These figures compare to registrations for the country’s ccTLD, which show the Netherlands with the highest penetration rate here with 201.6 .NL registrations per 1,000 people. This is followed by Denmark (.DK/179.4), Germany (.DE/154.6), United Kingdom (.UK/121.1) and Austria (.AT/101.8).