The IE Domain Registry (IEDR), the managed registry for Ireland’s official internet address .ie, today published its inaugural Domain Name Industry report, marking the Registry’s 10th anniversary.
The report provides the first account of its kind in Ireland of the .ie namespace and the Irish domain market. It is set in the context of the global domain name market and Ireland’s Internet ecosystem, and will be published annually as a resource for Internet industry leaders and policy makers.
The key finding from the report is that Irish SMEs remain slow to realise the revenue potential of the Internet. Irish SMEs need to make greater use of Internet technologies to build fully featured e-commerce websites in order to achieve greater competitive advantage online. Only 66% of Irish businesses had any kind of website in 2009, compared with 40% in 2000. Of those 66%, only 21% had e-commerce functionality on their site, a level that has grown by a marginal 3% since 2000.
While slow broadband speeds and a lack of financial support have been identified as inhibitors to SME growth online, the report urges small firms to take action, upgrade their websites and tap into the 24 hour sales channel that is the Internet. To highlight the issue, IEDR has announced it will provide a €100,000 e-commerce fund for ten Irish SMEs to develop or upgrade their web presence, details of which will be announced early next year.
Other highlights from the report include:
- Growth in new .ie registrations at 37% per annum over a five year average.
- The .ie share of Ireland’s domain market is 41%, comparable to the combined international ccTLDs’ share of the global domain market at 39%.
- A consolidation of the Irish domain market means the top five Registrars now account for 62% of all .ie domains and 79% of new registrations.
- Non-renewal rates for .ie domains indicate a shorter domain life cycle as domains are registered for specific purposes and then discarded.
- Rates, currently approaching 15%, are high by Ireland’s historical standards but still lower than the international experience of 25-30%.
- The arrival of the new .eu top level domain expanded the market in 2006 and contrary to some expectations, did not result in any erosion of the .ie namespace.
- County by county analysis shows Dublin has the highest number of .ie domain name registrations at 44% of the total with 64,788 domains.
The report also observes that Irish-based hosting providers (HSPs) are competing successfully with major UK and European hosting providers, and have gained market share at the expense of the US-based hosting service providers who once dominated the Irish market at the start of the decade. Irish HSPs have increased their market share to approximately 89% from approximately 3% in the year 2000. As the ccTLD market has matured, hosting patterns have favoured indigenous hosting providers, making it increasingly difficult for new, non-Irish hosters to enter the local market.
Commenting on the Domain Name Industry Report for 2010, Mr. David Curtin, Chief Executive of the IE Domain Registry, said “After ten years of providing registration services and security to Ireland’s online community, IEDR felt it was an appropriate time in the Registry’s history to produce a comprehensive report on Ireland’s domain name industry. We’ve recently celebrated the registration of Ireland’s 150,000th .ie domain name and the new report highlights healthy demand for the .ie namespace as Ireland’s Internet ecosystem matures.
The .ie namespace has become synonymous with doing business in and with Ireland. It is clear from the report that the next growth phase of the Internet in Ireland is dependent upon Ireland’s SME community and their adoption of Internet e-commerce technologies in building better, fully featured e-commerce websites. Great websites draw people online, encouraging them to spend more time consuming advertising, products and services.
For this reason, IEDR is making a €100,000 e-commerce fund available to ten Irish SMEs next year. The fund will enable them to develop or upgrade fully functional e-commerce websites designed to establish and drive their business efforts online at a time when this sector faces serious difficulties accessing much needed finance and support.”