Ireland’s ccTLD .ie has grown 40% in 5 years the latest .IE Domain Profile Report published this week by IE Domain Registry shows, fuelled by a registration rule change, a buoyant economy, Brexit and social network limitations.
There were over a quarter of a million (273,156) registrations at the end of June 2019, up more than 8% year-on-year and 39.7% in 5 years. The majority of these were registered by businesses and self-employed entrepreneurs. At 30 June 2018 there were 252,22 domain names for Ireland’s country code top-level domain, and 195,440 as of 30 June 2014. Registrations have increased each year during this period.
Over 9 in 10 (91.2%/249,147) .ie domain names are registered in the Island of Ireland and the vast majority of these (98.4%/245,231) in the Republic of Ireland and 3,916 in Northern Ireland. There were 24,009 .ie domain names registered internationally, 8.8% of all domains, with 41.2% (9,895) of these to registrants in Great Britain, 18.2% (4,392) to USA registrants and 2,114 (8.8%) to German registrants.
Looking at new registrations, here there was a decrease of 5.9%, but the registry IEDR puts this down to a direct result of the ‘post-liberalisation cooldown’ trend. In March 2018, IE Domain Registry ‘liberalised’ .ie registration rules by making it easier and faster for people to register a .ie domain by removing the requirement for registrants to prove their claim to their desired .ie domain (evidence of a connection to Ireland is still required). This resulted in an unprecedented surge in new .ie registrations in the H1 2018 period; registrations have since returned to normal growth levels.
The .ie domain remains an extremely popular way for Irish businesses to demonstrate their authenticity and trustworthiness to local and international customers: 80.2% of the total .ie database is comprised of companies and self-employed entrepreneurs, up 4% year-on-year.
New .ie registrations by individuals grew by 26.4% year-on-year, which speaks to the growing trend of using websites to build a permanent, personal space on the internet, free from many of the limitations of social networks.
While the post-liberalisation cool down trend also affected new registrations from Great Britain, comparing H1 2019 registrations to H1 2017, registrations shows an 18.9% surge, indicating an ongoing ‘Brexit effect’ as companies move to secure online assets in Ireland. British-registered .ie domains now make up 42% of the 24,009 domains registered abroad.
“The total .ie database has grown significantly over the last five years, and particularly since March 2018 when we removed the ‘claim to a name’ registration requirement,” said David Curtin, Chief Executive of IE Domain Registry. “This change made it easier and faster for people with a connection to Ireland to secure their domain of choice.”
“.ie remains the digital gold standard for Irish businesses, entrepreneurs, communities, and individuals that want to build or enhance their online presence. For Irish businesses that sell online, .ie represents authenticity and trustworthiness, factors that are hugely important for e-commerce and consumers’ peace of mind. For individuals, a .ie domain has benefits over a social media presence, particularly in terms of control over content and reach, which many social networks restrict as they continue to change their algorithms.
“Positive increases in domain resales indicate a growing global recognition of the intrinsic value of the .ie brand, while the long-term growth in .ie domain registrations from Great Britain suggests that more British businesses are securing their online assets in Ireland ahead of any potential Brexit-related migration.”
At county level, Derry recorded the largest increase in new .ie registrations in H1 2019 (+30.3%), albeit from a low base, followed by Laois (+28.5%) and Roscommon (+15.6%). Leitrim, with 101 new domains, recorded the largest decrease (-43.5%) in new .ie registrations.
Other tidbits published in the report include:
- 39.3% of .ie websites had SSL (security) certificates at the end of H1 2019, a 58.5% increase year-on-year. Google now downgrades search results for websites without SSL certs.
- the ten most popular keywords in .ie domain names are care, Ireland, Irish, tech, green, house, service, home, Dublin and food.
- 39 .ie domain names have a fada, a 39% increase year-on-year.
- .ie domains for sale for over €50,000 include: sl.ie, baby.ie, sunhotels.ie, billionaire.ie and blockchain.ie.
- The five most visited .ie domains are: Google.ie, Donedeal.ie, Daft.ie, Independent.ie and RTE.ie.
- The busiest day ever for new .ie registrations: 21 March 2018, the day .ie liberalisation was implemented, when 699 new .ie domains were registered.
The full report can be downloaded from the IEDR website here [pdf].