.ie domains pass 200k milestone, but urban-rural divide haunts digital Ireland

10 Jul 2015

The number of .ie domains registered has surpassed 200,000 for the first time. At the end of Q1, there were 203,217 .ie domains registered in Ireland, according to the IE Domain Registry.

Limerick-based Basecamp Adventure Park was the 200,000th registered domain name in Ireland.

According to the inaugural bi-annual IEDR.ie Domain Profile report, at 44 domains per 1,000 population, Ireland ranks joint-15th with France out of 19 EU States when comparing equivalent rates of national country code domain registrations. Ireland ranks significantly behind the UK, which boasts 166 domains per 1,000 population, Denmark with 231, and the Netherlands with 332.

According to the report, the .ie domain registry has grown 26.5pc in the last four years, with net new additions increasing by 67pc in Q4 2014/Q1 2015 when compared with the same period a year earlier.

An impressive 16,992 new .ie domains were registered over the six-month period Q4 2014 to end Q1 2015, a net increase of 6,207 or 6.4pc.

Of these, 2,756 were registered by corporate entities, 3,794 by Irish businesses and 1,038 by sole traders.

.ie domains account for almost 50pc of the domain market in Ireland, followed by .com at 27pc.

“The number marks the extent to which all aspects of Irish life – individuals, communities and businesses – have migrated online. Behind the 200,000 .ie domain names are thousands of Irish-based websites, encompassing all areas of life in Ireland today,” said IEDR chairman David Curtin.

“For all those with a registered .ie domain name, the registry ensures that the registrants’ websites are identifiably Irish and that they have a real and substantive connection to Ireland. For businesses, this can be a critical marketing and branding tool in promoting their companies.

“The strong surge in the number of .ie domain names registered is also hugely encouraging. It reflects the wider economic recovery in Ireland and acts as a barometer of the growth in new businesses and in businesses going online to drive sales and expansion,” Curtin said.

Urban-rural divide haunts digital Ireland

However, the report points to the glaring anomaly that has haunted Ireland’s digital economy.

According to the report, there is still a large divide between Dublin and some rural counties in terms of domains registered.

Leinster accounts for 69pc of all .ie domain names registered in Ireland, of which Dublin accounts for 47pc. Munster, Connacht and Ulster follow at 18pc, 8pc and 5pc respectively.

Dublin, with 69, has the highest rate of .ie domains registered per 1,000 population, followed by Wicklow at 47 and Carlow at 46.

Donegal, with just 16 per 1,000, has the lowest rate.

Rural Ireland image, via Shutterstock

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