We’ve been registering and managing IE domain names for our clients for nearly 20 years. I’ve personally been involved with .ie domain name policy for many years and currently sit on the .ie Policy Advisory Committee. I also sit on the .us stakeholder council as well as currently chairing the .eu Registrar Advisory Board.
So I know the rules and policies of .ie domain names well.
Many many years ago .ie domain names were subject to some of the most restrictive policies and processes in Europe. To register a .ie domain name was a serious chore and the rules were incredibly restrictive. So restrictive that many Irish businesses simply didn’t bother and opted for a .com domain name instead.
Over the years, however, the rules were loosened up and nowadays if you meet the criteria you can probably get your .ie domain name within 1 or 2 working days. If you already have a .ie domain name then you’ll often get new ones practically instantly.
Unfortunately there’s still a lot of confusion and weird assumptions about .ie domain names (and many other country code domains).
Let’s start with the basics.
The domain name is the bit on the right of the @ symbol in an email address.
So email@example.com – blacknight.ie is the domain and .ie is the domain extension. In the case of .ie it’s the code for Ireland, while .fr domain names are for France. If you want to geek out a little it’s based on the ISO list.
Myth: You need to be an Irish business to register a .ie domain name
Fact: No. The policy states that you have to show a “connection” so if you’re a business in Italy or Canada who does business with people and companies in Ireland you can make the link.
Myth: You need to be registered with the CRO (Irish companies’ office) to register a .ie domain
Fact: Not true. It’s never been a requirement
Even prior to “liberalisation” you did not need to be a registered company to register a .ie domain name.
Myth: A UK company cannot register or use a .ie domain.
Fact: No. A UK company can register and use a .ie domain. An Irish company can register and use a .uk domain name without any issue as well.
A lot of the problems are linked to Brexit (in many instances) and logistics.
People assume that if they buy from a .ie website that the product will ship from Ireland, however many companies that have premises and staff in Ireland DO NOT ship their products from Irish warehouses. This is usually not a huge problem, however in the aftermath of Brexit it has caused problems.
If you are shipping goods from one EU country to another (ie. Ireland) the customer (recipient) won’t get hit with extra fees or charges, however if the goods come from outside the EU there can be VAT and customs duty implications. (Conversely as an Irish company selling into the UK we have had to register with the UK tax authorities for VAT and now do VAT returns there separately from our Irish and EU ones)
Is this a problem with the domain name or with the company or business selling the product?
Myth: Anyone can register a .ie domain name
Fact: No. You have to comply with the .ie policies. While they are significantly simpler and easier to deal with that they were in the past, they’re still quite stringent.
Myth: IEDR is not enforcing their rules
Fact: No. They are. Believe me. But if there’s a .ie domain name that you believe in somehow in breach of the rules and policies please do report it.
Bear in mind, however, that having a bad customer experience when buying from a website is not an issue for IEDR (or the registrar). If you had a bad experience as a buyer you should talk to the consumer protection agency.
Myth: You have to have a physical presence in Ireland to register a .ie domain name.
Fact: No you don’t. You need to show proof of a connection with Ireland. If you market and sell your products and services into Ireland that is enough.
Also even if they have a physical presence in Ireland some companies ship their products from other countries as that’s how logistics work these days.
You should have to be registered for VAT in Ireland in order to get a .ie domain
Huh? This suggestion doesn’t make any sense.
First off, many small businesses in Ireland operate legally and are not registered for VAT. Why? Because they don’t need to be.
Secondly, Ireland is a member of the EU, so any EU based business can legally sell into Ireland, and we, legally can sell to them.
Thirdly, not every domain name is used by a business.
Domain registry policies are mostly concerned with the initial registration of a domain name. Not how it’s used.
Think about it.
There are currently around three hundred thousand .ie domain names. There are around three million .eu domains and there are many many millions of other domain names.
How is anyone going to check what they’re all being used for? Realistically you can’t.
And if there’s a real issue then there are various ways to get some kind of resolution.
Myth: Since liberalisation there’s been lots of problems with people registering domains who shouldn’t be able to.
Fact: Categorically untrue. When we were discussing the “liberalisation” one of our concerns was that there was a potential for a rise in “issues” and “abuse” of the namespace. With that in mind we introduced the “lighter” and cheaper dispute process. However neither of the dispute processes have seen a particularly high incidence of cases compared to the number of domain names that have been registered.
Liberalisation meant that the rules were simplified, not removed.
Most people and organisations who can register domain names now could have done so prior to the relaxation of the rules. It would have been more bureaucratic that’s all.
Myth: You cannot sell a .ie domain name
Fact: Yes you can.
The policies were updated to allow for this several years ago. However the buyer must qualify to register a .ie domain name under the policies. Also you cannot register domain names abusively in order to sell them later eg. registering the name of well known company and trying to sell it to them.
Policies for domain names evolve over time. While the .ie polices were awkward and hard to deal with historically they have evolved. They may not be perfect, but they do work. Most of the time!