Latest news of the domain name industry

Recent Posts

Irish domain sales closely track pandemic restrictions

Kevin Murphy, August 4, 2021, Domain Registries

Sales of .ie domains saw their best-ever first half this year, with registration growth closely tracking pandemic-related restrictions.

Local registry IEDR reported this week that it added 33,815 new .ie domains in the six months to June 30, up 1.6% on last year. It ended the period with 324,074 .ie domains under management, up 9.6% on last year.

The registry is in no doubt that it benefited from the cross-industry lockdown bump associated with the coronavirus pandemic.

Comparing first quarter numbers show Q1 2021 regs up 34% on Q1 2020.

Ireland was in strict lockdown measures in the first months of this year, but did not enter lockdown until towards the end of the quarter in 2020.

Second quarter number reflected the same pattern in reverse — regs were down 22% this year, when lockdown had been eased, IEDR said.

The lockdown bump is a phenomenon whereby domain name sales spiked as traditional bricks-and-mortar small businesses rushed to establish an online presence in order to carry on business behind closed doors.

Domain keywords directly related to the pandemic were down in H1 compared to last year, while domains related to summertime, pools and barbecues spiked, the registry said.

Brexit boost for Irish domains

Kevin Murphy, January 25, 2019, Domain Registries

Irish ccTLD .ie saw record growth in 2018 after the registry relaxed its registration rules.
According to IEDR, there were 262,140 .ie domains at the end of the year, an increase of 10.4%.
There were 51,040 new registrations, a 29% increase, the registry said.
Almost 10,000 names are registered to Brits (excluding Northern Ireland), which IEDR chalks down to Brexit, saying:

Interestingly, new .ie registrations from Great Britain increased by 28% in 2018 compared to the previous year, a fact that may correlate with enduring Brexit uncertainty and suggests some migration of British businesses to Ireland.

The Irish Passport Service has reportedly seen a similar increase in business since the Brexit vote.
Irish registrar Blacknight also believes its own pricing promotions and marketing efforts are partly responsible for the increase in .ie reg numbers.
The .ie eligibility rules were changed in March last year to make it simpler to provide evidence of a connection to Ireland.

Blacknight calls for Ireland to slash domain prices

Kevin Murphy, August 3, 2018, Domain Registrars

Irish registrar Blacknight Solutions has called for its local ccTLD registry to cut the price of .ie domains in order to drive growth.
In a press release, CEO Michele Neylon said that .ie names — typically renewing at over €20 — can cost twice as much as other European ccTLDs.
He said that a recently liberalization of registration rules set out by registry IEDR led to a burst of 29,000 new registrations in the first half of the year.
This relaxation has presumably led to cost savings that could be passed on to consumers, he said.
According to Blacknight, there are 46 .ie domains registered per 1,000 head of population, which ranks Ireland 16th out of 22 European countries.

IEDR admits blame for hack that brought down Google and Yahoo

Kevin Murphy, November 9, 2012, Domain Registries

IEDR, the Irish ccTLD registry, has admitted that an attack on its own web servers was responsible for and being hijacked last month.
In a detailed statement, the registry said that hackers spent 25 days probing for weaknesses in its systems, before eventually breaking in through a vulnerability in the Joomla content management software.
This enabled the attackers to upload malicious PHP scripts and access the back-end database, according to the statement. They then redirected and to an Indonesian web site.
It’s a reverse of position for IEDR, which had appeared to blame one of its registrars (believed to be Mark Monitor) for the lapse in security when the hack was discovered last month.
IEDR told ZDNet October 11: “an unauthorised change was made to two .ie domains on an independent registrar’s account which resulted in a change of DNS nameservers”.
But today it said instead: “The IEDR investigation also confirmed that neither the Registrar of the affected domains nor its systems had any responsibility for this incident.”
The registry has filed a complaint with the Irish police over the incident, and apologized to its customers for the disruption.
It also said it plans to roll out a Domain Lock service to help prevent hijacking in future, though I doubt such a service would have prevented this specific incident.

Blacknight dumps .ie from free domain program, replaces it with .co

Kevin Murphy, October 1, 2012, Domain Registrars

Blacknight Solutions has dropped its local ccTLD, .ie, from the free domain name program it offers in partnership with Google to Irish small businesses.
It’s being replaced with .co, the repurposed Colombian ccTLD, which has been getting an indecent amount of traction in regional projects targeting small business recently.
“Unfortunately, while we may be the market leader for .IE, we feel that the restrictions on the domain impose too many restraints to benefit program participants,” Blacknight CEO Michele Neylon said.
Supporting the highly restrictive ccTLD was imposing too many costs and headaches, Neylon said. The company will continue to sell the domains, just not through the program.
Blacknight, Google and the Irish postal service have been offering companies a free year domain registration and hosting under the banner of Getting Business Online for over a year.
In May, Blacknight reported that in the first year only about 21% of companies participating in the program chose .ie.
The .co domain is of course unrestricted.
It’s another regional win for .CO Internet, which markets .co as the TLD of choice for startups.
Just last week .CO Internet announced that Startup Britain, a private-sector entrepreneurial campaign backed by the UK government, had switched from a .org to a .co.

Even when the domains are free, Irish small businesses prefer .com to .ie

Irish small businesses overwhelmingly chose .com domains over .ie and .eu during the first year of a Blacknight Solutions web presence freebie initiative.
Blacknight said today signed up 10,000 Irish small business customers through Getting Business Online, a partnership with Google and the local postal service, which it launched a year ago.
The scheme, which Google has been promoting with local partners in various territories around the world, gives companies a free domain and basic web hosting for a year.
According to Blacknight managing director Michele Neylon, 61% of sign-ups chose a .com domain, while 21% chose Ireland’s .ie, 13% chose .eu and 4% chose .biz.
“The way .ie is run, you have to go through an extensive validation process, and it’s also restricted what domains you can register,” Neylon, a regular critic of .ie policy, said.
As the initiative is just a year old, it’s not yet clear how many of these 10,000 companies plan to stick around on paid services.

Is Ireland’s .ie to change hands?

Kevin Murphy, February 28, 2011, Domain Registries

The Irish country-code domain, .ie, may be up for redelegation, according to Ireland’s largest domain name registrar.
Michele Neylon, managing director of Blacknight Solutions, has written to ICANN (pdf) to demand answers, after his inquiries about the potential changes were rebuffed.
The .ie ccTLD is currently delegated to University College Dublin, but since 2000 its operation has been contracted to IE Domain Registry, a spin-off company. Since 2007, it’s essentially been controlled by the Irish government.
According to Neylon, IEDR is “aggressively” pursuing a redelegation. If successful, this would put its own name in the IANA database, rather than the University’s. He wrote:

The management and development of the IE namespace should be with an entity that has made a strong commitment to holding the .ie domain in trust for the public good, and a strong commitment to a policy process that is driven by the Internet community and by the explicit consideration of the public good. This is not the case with IEDR, a private company that has practically no transparency and has zero representation of the internet community in its board or ongoing development.

It has been longstanding ICANN/IANA policy not to publicly discuss redelegation requests, which it apparently chose to exercise when Neylon inquired about the IEDR situation.
Neylon believes that any redelegation should be subject to public consultation in Ireland, which would be difficult if the talks all happen behind closed doors.
Blacknight is the registrar of record for 20% of .ie names. It’s also the only Irish registrar with an ICANN accreditation.