It’s one of the smaller ccTLDs within Europe with one of the lower rates of domain names registered per capita, but Ireland’s .ie continues to power along having their best year ever with an average of 108 domain names registered every day. With eligibility restrictions set to be eased next month.
According to the latest .IE Domain Profile Report, 39,523 new domains were registered in 2017, an average of 108 every day. The figure is a 14% increase on 2016 and the best single year for new registrations.
There are now 237,412 .ie domains in the database, a 7% increase on the previous year end and an almost 30% increase on five years ago. The increase was driven by nationwide demand, with new registrations up in all but four counties on the island of Ireland.
IEDR notes that the increase in domain name registrations reflects the growth in the Irish economy with more than two-thirds (67%) of new .ie domains in 2017 registered by corporate bodies and sole traders.
“More than two-thirds of new .ie domains in 2017 were registered by businesses, a 6% 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.”
“According to IEDR’s most recent dot ie Digital Health Index, a survey of predominantly Irish micro-businesses’ use of digital assets, two-thirds of Irish SMEs with websites cannot process online payments, while 1 in 5 have no online presence whatsoever. We have a lot of work to do at home before we can truly proclaim ourselves European leaders.
“To improve Ireland’s digital capabilities, we are calling on the Government to collaborate with industry and roll out a national campaign focused on teaching micro-businesses essential digital skills. Robust broadband for rural communities must also be prioritised. In Connacht and Ulster, a quarter of SMEs report a ‘poor’ or ‘very poor’ internet connection.”
And after March 2018 there should be a notable increase in registrations as any individual or business with a provable connection to Ireland will be able to register any available .ie online address on a first-come, first-served basis. Businesses, townlands, parishes and clubs are expected to be interested in the changes. Citizens will be able to register nicknames and short names for the first time.