The total number of .ie domains reached 173,145 by the end of 2011, according to the IE Domain Registry (IEDR), growing by 12.9pc since 2010.
There were 20,995 registrations recorded between January and June and 18,403 registrations for the second half of the year. According to the IEDR, these greater registration levels for the first half of the year are in line with trends from previous years.
Its current non-renewal rate is 12.8pc, an improvement on 2010’s level of 14pc. Once these non-renewals were taken into account, there were 19,726 net additional .ie domains for 2011, which is a 12.6pc increase on the previous year.
“We are pleased to report continued strong .ie registration rates which have been achieved against the backdrop of very challenging times for Irish business,” said David Curtin, chief executive of the IE Domain Registry.
“Much credit is due to our registrar community for their collective efforts in supporting the growth of Ireland’s top-level domain, which remains the domain of choice for those registering websites in the Irish market,” he said.
More than 4,000 domains were registered in one month, which coincided with the IEDR’s launch of its OPTIMISE initiative. This aimed to encourage SMEs to exploit the potential of online sales, giving 10 companies €10,000 of support to implement e-commerce functionality to their sites.
Its Domain Industry Report found that two-thirds of Irish business had websites and of those, only 21pc offer e-commerce functionality. The IEDR believes that these campaigns increased registrations throughout the year, but still feels that more needs to be done to encourage Irish SMEs to embrace e-commerce. As a result, it will create more initiatives in 2012 to promote this message.
“While growth of the .ie domain continues there is still significant untapped potential in the market for Irish businesses – to establish and grow their e-business through online sales and for those currently with an online portal, to further exploit the benefits of what is a 24/7 sales channel without borders,” said Curtin.
“The IEDR will, as part of its commitment to managing Ireland’s top-level domain in the interests of the Irish internet community, continue to play its part in providing a leadership role in both raising awareness of this important issue and running targeted initiatives to support Irish SMEs reach their online potential,” he said.