French domains (.fr) to become available to EU businesses

As of the 6th December, AFNIC – (manager of the registry of .fr domain names) will lift restrictions on the availability of the .fr domain (among others) to European businesses.

If you don’t already have a French website for putting this domain to use, there has never been a better time…

Historically the eligibility criteria for .fr domains has been very tight, available only to French residents, French nationals living abroad, and any companies or organisations that could prove a commercial presence. December will see these rules relaxed to make .fr available to anyone in the EU.

  • More than two million individuals, companies and organizations use their .fr domain as a website for the French-speaking world (over 80 million people speak French as a first language, and at least a further 51 million second language speakers)
  • 82% of French users search for the websites of French companies with the .fr TLD

The most popular country domains in Europe are .de (Germany), .uk (United Kingdom), .nl (Netherlands) .it (Italy) and .pl (Poland). Due to its tight restrictions, .fr domains have previously seen a slow uptake compared to the other EU domains. Over 2 million .fr domains have been registered up to now – the hope is that relaxing the rules will increase its popularity on an international scale.

Since local domains help with local search engines, there will be a EU-wide scramble to acquire them. If your brand has aspirations to one day serve the French market, or is already doing so, now is a good time to have a homepage & contact page translated to make best use of the .fr domain. This can be done for a little as £295 / €345 / $465 with the International Blast service.

Companies, particularly those in the eCommerce sector, should take action and buy their brand name’s .fr domain to prevent anyone else from encroaching on their digital identity, then create a French website there to engage with this important and significant section of the global market.

For example, Cosmic Solutions came to Web-Translations to help them enter into the French market. Read their case study or read more about French translation.

If you’ve thought about it, but aren’t sure if your brand would work in the French market then we can verify the suitability of your brand with the international brand name research service.