IEDR: 24pc increase in non-renewals indicates insolvencies in Irish economy

31 Jul 2013

The .ie Domain Registry (IEDR) reported that the total number of domains registered stood at 182,284, up 5.3pc on last year. However, there was no disguising the troubled state of the economy reflected in a 24pc increase in non-renewals, which IEDR CEO David Curtin believes is due to insolvencies of Irish firms.

The not-for-profit domain registry said that there was a total volume growth of 19.3pc in new .ie domain registrations.

The organisation said that members funds have increased as a result to €3.6m.

Registration fee income came in at €2.6m  for the year and the IEDR reported an operating profit after tax of €282,706.

The IEDR’s share of the domain market stood at 45.8pc and the company will use the members funds to improve the safety and resilience of the national domain name for Ireland.

New domain registrations were down 15pc to 33,484, whcih CEO David Curtin told reflected the struggling economy.

“It’s not a surprise that they are down. The economy for SMEs is quite difficult, but micro businesses and SOHOs are continuing to set up clicks before bricks. Years ago it used to be otherwise, they’d establish the physical operation before the virtual operation but now firms are going online first,” Curtin explained.

He added that the number of new domain registrations is also being impacted by organisations that are setting up “one off” domains for marketing promotions.

“We’re growing faster than many of our sister organisations in Europe, up 19pc on our opening position in January.”

However, the parilous state of the economy in the Republic of Ireland is contributing to a 24pc increase in non-renwals and deletions.

“We are sadly seeing companies going to the wall, there are a lot of insolvencies. What is particularly sad is a lot of businesses that have managed to hang on through out most of the recession that began five year ago are now going under.”

Optimising for the 21st century business landscape

Curtin said that a source for optimism is the increase in firms taking on e-commerce.

Under the €150,000 Optimise fund, teach year 20 successful companies will have their e-commerce needs and objectives assessed to create a customised plan to improve their online presence, broaden customer reach, generate sales and increase profitability, and enable the use of practical transactional tools and technologies to tap into the online marketplace.

“Our Optimise programme has seen over 300 applications in its third year compared with 100 applications from businesses in year one. Firms that have been through the programme have reacted with enthusiasm and energy, especiallly when they have seen their websites transformed from a basic website to something that is a 24×7 salesman for their business that takes orders while they sleep. One firm had seen a 23pc in sales due to a better presence on the web.

“I also think Communications Minister Pat Rabbitte’s €2,500 E-commerce Voucher scheme will help out and it would be great if some of the internet corporate giants in Ireland would put more muscle behind bringing Irish SMEs online.”

In terms of ICANN’s impending expansion of the internet to include generic top level domains to include domains such as .hotel, .golf, .sex, etc., Curtin said that for country top level domains it results in another opportunity to re-emphasise how secure, quality national domains can be.

“It will be a challenge and there is a lot of marketing noise, but we always rise to the challenge and our registrars are highly motivated and we’ve recently begun our first TV co-funded advertising programmes with Lets Host and Register 365,” Curtin said.

Digital business image via Shutterstock

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years