From 21 March, registrants of .ie domain names will not the onerous eligibility requirements relaxed when registering domain names. Registrants will still be required to “to prove their real connection to the island of Ireland and their identity” but they will no longer be required to show a “claim to the name”.
The changes have come about following a consultation IE Domain Registry, the .ie country code top level domain (ccTLD) manager, conducted in 2017 in a bid to make it easier for registrants to get their preferred domain names and in a bid to grow registrations, particularly for small, home and micro businesses. The dropping of the “claim to the name” requirement had become unworkable and those setting up setting up a new business were unable to stake a claim on a domain name without the business already being in existence.
The changes come as IEDR announced in February the Irish ccTLD had its best year ever in February. And with the liberalisation of eligibility requirements 2018 is certain to be even better.
At the end of 2017 there were 237,412 .ie domain names registered, a 7% increase on 12 months earlier end and an almost 30% increase on 5 years ago. The increase was driven by nationwide demand, with new registrations up in all but four counties on the island of Ireland. In 2017 there were 39,523 new domain names registered – an average of 108 every day. The figure is a 14% increase on 2016 and the best single year for new registrations.
“More than two-thirds of new .ie domains in 2017 were registered by businesses, a 6 percent increase on the previous year,” said David Curtin, Chief Executive of IEDR. “This signals a strong, growing economy with enterprises that have the confidence and willingness to invest in their online presence and digital processes. Online address registrations are often recognised as a forward indicator of economic growth and entrepreneurship.
“Encouragingly, .ie domain registrations are spread out across the country. While urban centres dominate the database, we have seen significant year-on-year increases in registrations in Munster, Connacht and Ulster.”
Despite the increase in .ie registrations, Ireland still lags behind its European neighbours for the number of country domains per 1,000 people. With 50 .ie domains, Ireland is 18th out of 22, ahead of France and Spain, but behind countries with smaller or similar populations like Lithuania (64 .lt domains per 1,000 people), Norway (141 .no domains) and Denmark (234 .dk domains).