Today is a historical day for the IE namespace, as it has finally breached the one hundred thousand domain barrier.
The graph below shows growth over time
ie domain count
It will be interesting to see how long it takes for the namespace to double again in size.
Compared to some of our EU neighbours 100 thousand domains is a very small number. The UK registry, Nominet, handles in excess of 100 thousand new registrations every month!
Of course it’s a bit unfair to draw parallels between the UK and Ireland.
While there have been considerable improvements in the registration process many registrants still feel that the process is quite arduous compared to that of .com.
In many ways the biggest improvement was the introduction of an API, which allows companies such as ourselves to send registration requests, updates and deletions directly to the registry.
In real terms that means that as soon as you place an order for an IE domain on our site (and pay us) it gets sent into the registry’s queue.
So, if you do a WHOIS lookup you’d see:

% Application Pending – There is currently an application being processed for
% the domain name you have requested. If unsuccessful, the application would
% expire on the date above.

While the technology has improved some of the policies haven’t, which leads to many of us having a certain love/hate relationship with the namespace.
Personally I have mixed feelings about it.
On the one hand I’ve been more than happy to support the growth of the IE namespace over the last few years.
The relaxation of some of the rules has made it significantly easier to register domains, but there is always room for improvement.
On the other hand I can appreciate the frustration felt by many registrants.
Being forced to provide the infamous “supporting documentation” for each and every new domain name could be seen as having a very negative impact on the growth of ecommerce in Ireland.
Whether that perception is valid or not is debatable.
If you have a valid reason to register a domain name providing the documentation shouldn’t be that arduous a task.
Unlike .com there are still literally thousands of excellent names available. If you have a look at some of the recently deleted domains you might find inspiration.
Want to setup a photography business? is currently available to register
Or maybe you are an ET fan? is up for grabs, or at least it was when I looked a minute ago!
One of the strong points of the IE namespace is also its perceived weakness.
Being a “managed” registry end users should have some comfort and security when they interact with a website using the .ie extension. Security, however, is not without its price.
In the .com world it is arguably “too easy” to register a domain, provide false details and setup a scam. If you want to do the same thing in IE namespace you’d have to be willing to put in a lot more work!

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