Estonian ccTLD Reports Jump in Domain Registrations

The Estonian ccTLD manager, Eesti Internet, has reported a massive jump in .EE domain name registrations in the first two days their new registration system has come into being.

1329 new domain names were registered, which is about as many as were registered in the previous two months combined the registry reported. As expected, the registrants included many domains registered by individuals, as well as registrations of second and additional domains by companies.

“The goal of the new domain system is to make the Estonian .EE domain more available,” explained Marek-Andres Kauts, chairman of the management board of the Estonian Internet Foundation.

“Judging from the large number of registrations, it looks like the desired result has been achieved. I am especially glad to see that natural persons are displaying such great interest in registering .EE domains. The .EE domain is the symbol of Estonia on the Internet, and using it entails a duty of care for us just like the use of other national symbols such as the flag and coat of arms.”

The transition has also meant changes in the registration process. Service for domain name registrants has been delegated from the Estonian Internet Foundation to accredited registrars who have a respective agreement in place with the organisation. “On the basis of feedback from registrants, I can confirm that the new model has been well received and that the process of registering domains via the Registrars is convenient,” said Kauts. The largest number of domains was registered via Zone, Linxtelecom and Elion.

The first obstacle was also encountered in communication lines between the Estonian Internet Foundation and registrars. Due to the particular nature of the two-level model, EIF temporarily suspended the transfer of applications to the Central Registry from all registrars so that some would not be placed in an unfavourable position compared to others. The interrupted connection between the registrars and the Central Registry did not affect the receiving of domain applications from end users (registrants). All connections have since been restored and all applications have made their way from the registrars to the Central Registry.

The new domain system, which came into effect yesterday, provides new possibilities:

  • individuals are now able to register .EE domain names. For instance, they can use an e-mail address in the form firstname@lastname.EE;
  • foreign nationals can now register .EE domain names. For instance, they can set up an Estonian-language e-service environment;
  • one person can register more than one .EE domain name. For instance, if a company has several trademarks and wants to represent them all on the Internet under the .EE domain, they now can;
  • registration of domain names will start taking place at two levels, meaning that the Estonian Internet Foundation has delegated the provision of service to registrants to registrars. The list of registrars is posted on the Estonian Internet Foundation website; and
  • a regulatory fee has been established for domain names. The amount of the fee for registrants will be determined by registrars on the open market based on competition.

The transition to the new domain rules also applies to all .EE domains registered according to the old rules. These will be subject to a six-month transition period during which the domain registrants must choose a registrar and renew their domain registration with the registrar.

In parallel to the transition to the liberalised domain system, an independent body will be established within the Estonian Internet Foundation in order to resolve disputes related to domain names – the Domain Disputes Committee. The objective of the committee is to provide an expedited procedure as an alternative to judicial procedure so as to resolve any cases of misuse of domains where registration of a domain violates the rights of third parties, such as in the case of trademark infringement.