The IE Domain Registry (IEDR), the body responsible for registration and related services of all .ie domain names, is seeking public consultation on proposed changes to its naming and registration policy. It is hoped that the relaxation of the rules surrounding registration will encourage uptake of .ie among micro-businesses and individual traders, a group underrepresented in the .ie namespace.

.ie at present

The IEDR took over the role of administering the .ie domain name in 2000 and has since been responsible for its regulation and its promotion as a top level domain name.

At present, individuals or businesses looking to register a domain name must meet strict criteria as set out by the IEDR. The current test is twofold with all applicants being required to show that they have a real connection with Ireland and a legitimate claim to their chosen domain name.

1. Connection with Ireland

The ‘connection’ requirement differs as between individuals and businesses but essentially involves providing supporting documentation such as a passport or company registration documentation to satisfy the IEDR that the applicant has a genuine connection with Ireland.

Companies not registered in Ireland may still have an entitlement to a .ie domain name provided they can show they are trading with Irish clients or if they provide a letter from a solicitor, accountant or bank manager, confirming their current or future trade with Ireland.

2. Claim to the domain name

A claim effectively amounts to having a valid reason for registering a particular domain name. This hurdle is usually easily overcome by showing that the domain name sought matches a registered business name or trademark and registration in these circumstance will follow as a matter of course.

However, if an applicant cannot point to such registrations, a written explanation must be given supporting the application for the domain name.

Proposed changes

The proposed policy changes would mean that from January 2018 onwards the requirement to show one’s claim to the domain name would be removed so that an applicant would merely have meet the connection requirement to register a .ie domain name.

It is hoped that this new streamlined process would allow and encourage new start-ups to gain a web-presence where before they may have had difficulty establishing a claim to a particular domain name.

The IEDR’s Policy Advisory Committee and Board of Directors have already given approval in principle to the changes and are now inviting submissions from the public on their proposal.

The public consultation process will close on 30 September 2017 and more information can be found here.