.IE New Registrations Jump 29% in 2018 on Back of Eligibility Liberalisation and Brexit Uncertainty

Ireland’s ccTLD had their best year ever in 2018 following relaxing eligibility rules for registering .ie domain names in March according to their latest .ie Domain Profile Report, and follows their previous best year ever in 2017. The report also notes registrations from Great Britain are increasing, most likely as a result of Brexit.

During the 12 months to the end of December 2018, there were 51,040 new .ie domain names registered, up 29% in 12 months, according to the report [pdf]. This was on the back of their previous best year ever when registration grew 14% in 2017 where 39,523 new domains were registered. Total .ie domain names under management were 262,140 as of 31 December, and this was up 10% on the previous year and 7% on the year before that. Today registrations stand at 264,821.

It was a year of milestones for Ireland’s country code top level domain (ccTLD) in 2018 with the quarter million registration mark passed in August. In March eligibility rules were changed so that registrants only needed to have legitimate connections with the island of Ireland, either the Republic of Ireland or Northern Ireland, rather than the previous requirement to prove a valid claim to the domain name, and each application for registration will be manually verified. The changes also saw individuals being able to register nicknames and short names for the first time, as well as geographic names being allowed, which resulted in an increase of registrations by both groups. For individuals, registrations increased by 120% from end 2017 to end 2018.

To help make it easier for registrants, once they have registered one .ie domain name and have provided one document to prove identity and a connection to Ireland, they don’t need to resubmit any documents and can use the new FastPass system.

The report notes that new .ie registrations from Great Britain increased 28% in 2018, which IEDR believes may correlate with enduring Brexit uncertainty and suggests some migration of British businesses to Ireland.

91.2% (238,933) of all registrations at 31 December were from registrants on the island of Ireland (Republic and Northern Ireland), although only 3,815 (1.5%) came from Northern Ireland. The remaining 23,207 (8.8%) were from abroad with 9,673 (3.7%) from Great Britain, 4,252 (1.6%) from the United States and 2,076 (0.8%) from Germany.

“2018 was a record-breaking year for .ie, and much of that success is owed to the registration rule change,” said IEDR’s CEO David Curtin. “We’ve made it easier and faster to register a .ie domain.”

“Businesses and the self-employed continue to use their .ie websites to reach out and sell to new customers, and now increasingly individuals are registering their own .ie domain to secure, develop and build their own personal brand.

“Importantly, much of .ie’s growth is happening outside of Dublin, including the Border, Midlands and West region. There, many counties actually achieved higher overall growth in .ie registrations than the capital. As many of these .ie domains are registered by businesses, this upwards trend is also a good indicator of regional economic growth.

“The .ie brand remains distinct on the local and world stages. It is a managed space that is identifiably, authentically Irish. In an era where people’s trust in the online world is more important than ever, that reliability is crucial.”

Some of the other key findings from the report include:

  • there was a 59% increase in the number of .ie domain names registered by international users
  • Dublin registered the lion’s share of new .ie domains in 2018 (43%), followed by Cork and Galway.
  • the number of .ie websites with SSL security certificates increased 37.9% quarter-on-quarter (Q3 vs Q2 2018) after Google’s Chrome browser introduced a new feature that warns users about potentially unsafe sites
  • over half (52.9%) of all registrations are from companies, 28.3% from self-employed people and 11.4% from individuals
  • of new registrations, 40.9% came from companies, 27.9% from the self-employed and 28.4% from individuals.

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