Growth has been driven by a recent policy change which has made it easier and faster to get a .ie domain writes David Curtin, CEO of IE Domain Registry, the company which manages and maintains Ireland’s country domain, .ie.
According to our latest .ie Domain Profile Report, we recorded our best ever half-year period for new .ie domain registrations. 154 were registered every day between January and the end of June 2018 (H1 2018).
The biannual report, which examines the makeup of the .ie domain database, found that new .ie domain registrations grew by 39% year-on-year to 28,126, bringing the total .ie domain database to 252,222 at the end of H1 2018. The majority (62.5%), of new .ie domains were registered by businesses (including corporate bodies and sole traders). This is good news: an increase in online activity among businesses is a leading indicator of Ireland’s broader economic growth.
The growth was nationwide with virtually every county in Ireland recording an increase in .ie domain registrations. In particular, the growth of .ie in regional parts of Ireland is an excellent example of how the internet can help businesses in less infrastructurally developed counties overcome traditional barriers to growth, such as a smaller customer base or slower road and rail links.
Every county on the island of Ireland, bar Fermanagh, recorded an increase in new .ie registrations in H1 2018. On a county level, Dublin registered 42.5% of all new .ie domains on the island of Ireland. Cork registered the second-highest number of new .ie domains with 8.5%, followed by Galway (5%) and Kildare (5%). Leitrim, registering 179 .ie domains in H1 2018, recorded the highest year-on-year registration growth in the country (+113%).
The map of Ireland overleaf shows the number of .ie domains per county in the database at the end of June 2018. Dublin has the highest number of .ie domains per 1,000 people (78), followed by Carlow (64), Wicklow (56) and Kildare (45). Fermanagh has the highest number of .ie domains per 1,000 people in Northern Ireland (3), with Derry the lowest (1).
New streamlined registration process plays integral role
A significant part of .ie’s growth in the last six months is a result of our new liberalisation policy. The policy, implemented in March 2018 after extensive consultation with industry stakeholders and the general public, makes it easier and faster to register a .ie domain.
Liberalisation has resulted in a streamlined registration process. Applicants are still required to prove their connection to Ireland and they can register their preferred name on a first-come, first-served basis. For new business start-ups and small-scale enterprises, liberalisation has removed an administrative obstacle to .ie domain registration, as they can easily prove their identity and connection to Ireland.
Unique power and benefit of .ie
According to HosterStats.com July 2018, .ie is the leading active domain in Ireland and growing faster than .com. Businesses, organisations and community groups across the island of Ireland recognise the unique power and benefit of .ie’s identifiably Irish brand for their websites and email addresses. It is an authentic and powerful brand.
• For an SME, the .ie online address signals to local customers that they are local and trustworthy. They will also rank higher than .com addresses on Irish based search engines like Google. Irish consumers are more likely to click on local website addresses.
• For an SME with international customers, .ie is an authentic and protected marker of Irishness. It shows your customers that you have a genuine link to Ireland. This is very important for many businesses who make their products here in Ireland and is a unique selling point for them.
• For businesses starting out, .ie offers a wider choice of available names compared to .com, as significantly more .com names are already registered.
Businesses are also moving away from generic, anonymous email addresses, like eircom.net or gmail.com. Our Consumer Trust Research (2017) shows that 77% of consumers trust companies that have a professional email address such as firstname.lastname@example.org as opposed to email@example.com or an eircom.net address. It is vital for businesses to have a professional email as it builds trust and confidence amongst their customers, suppliers and potential customers.
Being online is critical for businesses
Getting online is a crucial element for businesses looking to achieve success. A .ie domain name is a business’s online address for a website or an email, which enables them to reach out to new local and international customers, build existing relationships and sell their goods and services.
Part of our overarching mission is to ensure that Ireland’s small businesses are taking full advantage of the internet economy. Indeed, online business is an increasingly important part of the economy. E-commerce is worth €12.3 billion per annum to the Irish economy, or 6% of GDP.1 Online consumer spending is rising ten times faster than traditional face-to-face sales.2 However, much of this spend goes abroad to foreign retailers. As our latest Digital Health Index (Q4 2017) shows, just 40% of Irish businesses can take sales orders through their website.
On a positive note, the growth in .ie registrations in H1 2018 is very encouraging. E-commerce enabled websites can help provide a level playing field, and boost sales and employment in every county in Ireland.
For more information:
David Curtin, Chief Executive Officer
IE Domain Registry
T: + 353 1 2365400