Dot-IE domain registrations in 2018 were boosted by rule change

25 Jan 2019

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Good news folks, the registration rule change worked!

A rule change applied by the IE Domain Registry (IEDR) in March 2018 is being credited with a surge in dot-IE domain registrations last year.

The old requirement was that registrants had to demonstrate a ‘claim to the name’. Now all that is required is to have a connection to Ireland. For most people, that can be as simple as demonstrating citizenship or residency with a scan of a passport or driving licence. But even foreign entities can register a dot-IE domain if they can show a business relationship with Ireland, for example.

‘We argued for this change for a long time’

The IEDR reported that 51,040 new domains were registered in 2018, up 29pc on the previous year.

The total dot-IE domain database recorded 262,140 active domains at the end of 2018, up 10pc on the previous year.

Net growth for 2018, which measures additions and deletions, was up 60pc on 2017.

Around 81pc of all dot-IE domains are owned by businesses or the self-employed while 28pc of domains registered in 2018 were done so by individuals.

Brexit jitters offset by dot-IE flitters

Possibly due to the looming Brexit, new domain registrations were higher in border and midlands counties than Dublin, with Leitrim reporting the highest overall year-on-year growth of 65pc.

Interestingly, there was a 59pc increase in the numbers of dot-IE domains registered by international users (3,439), with the number of domain names registered from the UK increasing by 28pc. This suggests some UK companies are looking to Ireland as a possible haven from the Brexit uncertainty.

IEDR CEO David Curtin said the upswing in dot-IE registrations is an indicator of the health of Ireland’s regional economy. “Importantly, much of dot-IE’s growth is happening outside of Dublin, including the border, midlands and west region. There, many counties actually achieved higher overall growth in dot-IE registrations than the capital. As many of these dot-IE domains are registered by businesses, this upwards trend is also a good indicator of regional economic growth.”

‘Ireland’, ‘design’ and ‘care’ are some of the most frequently used words in the dot-IE domain names in the database.

“2018 was a record-breaking year for dot-IE, and much of that success is owed to the registration rule change,” Curtin said. “In short, the change has worked, and last year’s figures bear that out. We’ve made it easier and faster for people and organisations to register a dot-IE domain while still maintaining the most integral aspect of the brand: the need to prove a connection to the island of Ireland.”

Campaign for change

Carlow-based domain registrar and hosting company Blacknight led a campaign for the liberalisation of the registration rules, and predicted a positive response from the public.

Blacknight CEO Michele Neylon, a member of the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) domain name council, Generic Names Supporting Organisation (GNSO), said that the IEDR’s improved performance in 2018 reflected the success of the rule change.

“We argued for this change for a long time,” said Neylon.

He said the company’s stance was influenced by two factors: feedback from customers who wanted to register dot-IE names, and Blacknight’s own experience of international best practice working with other domain registries around the world.

Now, Neylon is urging the IEDR to bring down the wholesale prices of dot-IE domains.

“Experience has shown us that Irish customers are very price-sensitive. We believe the dot-IE domain has the potential for further growth, and the Irish online sector along with it. We call on IEDR to work with us to bring down the wholesale as well as the retail price.”

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