Case study: It’s all in the name


31 Oct 2005

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After a few difficult years of controversy, under the stewardship of chief executive David Curtin the IEDR has gotten into the habit of spreading good news. The organisation last week revealed that the number of .ie domains registered by Irish organisations has reached more than 50,000 domains. This provides the .ie domain 45pc of the available market for domains in Ireland.

The IEDR claimed Ireland’s online development is now ranked ahead of other European countries. The number of .ie addresses at 12.5 per 1,000 the IEDR says has surpassed the registration of the national top-level domain names of countries such as Spain (.es), France (.fr), Italy (.it), Greece (.gr), Portugal (.pt) and Belgium (.be) on a per capita basis.

Commenting on the 50,000th .ie registration milestone, Minister for Communications, Marine and Natural Resources, Noel Dempsey TD, said: “With more than 50,000 registrations to date .ie is an important national resource. The Irish domain has proved popular amongst consumers and the business community and I am sure they will continue to do so into the future.”

The 50,000th .ie-registered domain was www.findatradesman.ie. The website was established by Anthony Burke from Athenry, Co Galway, who developed an online resource to help people find a tradesman from different disciplines in their local area. Burke will be awarded free .ie domain registration for 10 years.

According to Curtin, a vital aspect in the growth in numbers has been the advent of broadband. However, the greatest reason for the surge in .ie numbers was the streamlining of internal processes at the IEDR. He explained: “There’s more automation and web-based self-service for resellers, a faster turnaround in processing new domains – almost real-time – and there is less documentation because we’ve removed the need for paper and faxes. The streamlining of administration in terms of invoicing and payment has also reduced costs at the IEDR and for hosting companies.”

Curtin elaborated that a web-based reseller console for a community of 120 internet service providers, hosting providers and resellers password-protected access to their entire portfolio of .ie domains. “It has made it easier for the resellers to deal with us and more willing to push .ie in competition with .com. They can now see all aspects of their dealings with the IEDR – everything from renewal dates, technical contacts and administration.”

A proprietary application built and developed by the IEDR’s internal technical services team, the console is effectively a domain management portal coded in Perl and the application runs on a standard Apache application, secured by 128-bit secure socket layer. The Hostmasters internal application is a domain management system for processing new registrations, transfers, suspensions and deletions. Known as Phoenix, it is an open source MySQL database running on Red Hat Enterprise Linux 3. There is a visual basic interface to the MySQL database of .ie domains. The application was initially developed in conjunction with Delphi Technologies.

Curtin explained the next stage of the project will see the creation of an application that enables resellers, which account for 90pc of all .ie registrations, to fill in a set number of fields only once from their own computer system, straight through to the IEDR’s system by automatically populating particular fields. “It’s taking a while to get together because it means talking to various reseller groups about coding, policies and procedures. Quite a few domain registries across Europe are looking at this approach.”

In conclusion, Curtin says the reseller console was the key factor in efficiency improvements at IEDR and has helped the IEDR to implement its philosophy of fairness, equity and, in particular, transparency in its dealings with the reseller community.

Pictured with children representing a cross-section of businesses with .ie domain names were: David Curtin, chief executive of the .IEDR; Deirdre Burke, representing the 50,000th registrant website www.findatradesman.ie; and Communications Minister Noel Dempsey TD

By John Kennedy