Registering a .ie online address is now easier and faster than ever as IE Domain Registry’s (IEDR) domain ‘liberalisation’ policy change comes into force today.

Previously, any individual or business registering a .ie domain had to prove that they had a valid claim to the desired name and a real, tangible connection to the island of Ireland.

IEDR’s change to the registration process retains the requirement for applicants to prove their connection to Ireland but drops the need to prove a valid claim to a name.

From now on, any individual or business with a provable connection to Ireland will be able to register any available .ie domain name on a first-come, first-served basis.

IEDR says that this change will further open up the .ie domain namespace to citizens, clubs, communities and businesses that may have otherwise struggled with the administrative steps required to prove their claim to a particular .ie domain.

“.ie is the only online namespace in the world reserved for Irish citizens, communities and businesses. Liberalisation will completely transform the customer’s .ie domain registration experience, allowing them to get online with an identifiably Irish website and email address in less time and with less hassle,” said David Curtin, Chief Executive of IEDR.

“Having the means to connect to and communicate with the wider internet community is essential in today’s digital world, particularly in terms of e-commerce.”

If returning customers (existing .ie domain holders) need to register additional .ie domain names, they can now avail of the ‘Fastpass’ registration process. With Fastpass, it is not necessary to re-submit evidence of a connection to Ireland.

The change to .ie domain registration policy was agreed last year following an extensive multi-stakeholder consultation with the general public and IEDR’s Policy Advisory Committee (PAC), made up of key stakeholders from Ireland’s internet and business community.

The IEDR PAC Working Group carefully considered all comments during the public consultation process, including concerns that domain liberalisation could lead to an increase in ‘cybersquatting’.

In response, Mr Curtin said: “.ie domains are registered on a first-come, first-served basis. To ensure that no one registers a domain that is another party’s protected right, we strongly encourage any individual, business, organisation or local community group to register the .ie domains related to them as soon as possible. There is a wide choice of available names.

“In cases where .ie domain applicants believe that another party has improperly registered a .ie domain, there are dispute resolution mechanisms in place, including the formal dispute resolution process independently operated by the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO).

“IEDR is also moving ahead with plans to create an alternative dispute resolution service in the form of an independent Irish mediation service. This will mean that disputes will be resolved in a more efficient, speedier manner. We are confident that we will have this service in place later in the year.”

According to the latest edition of the IEDR dot ie Domain Profile Report, which analyses the makeup of the .ie domain database, 2017 was the strongest year on record for new .ie domain registrations—108 were registered every day.

“.ie is the preferred online address for Irish citizens and businesses. Though .ie registration has changed, all applicants will still be required to meet IEDR’s terms and conditions for registration and prove their connection to Ireland. Consumers can remain confident that a .ie online address is trustworthy and authentically Irish,” said Mr Curtin.

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