Irish businesses will shortly be able to register two-letter .ie domain names for the first time, the IE Domain Registry (IEDR) announced today.
The move will allow for up to 676 possible two-letter domain name combinations, including hp.ie, pc.ie, hr.ie and aa.ie, amongst others. The exact release process and mechanism will be confirmed after a public consultation.
While many other international domain registries have allowed for one and two-letter domain names to be registered, like cd.com and ba.co.uk, this is the first time Irish companies will be able to register a one or two-letter .ie domain.
There is expected to be intense competition for some domain names. This will apply in the case of company abbreviations, particularly where these are shared by one or more companies, such as HP, BT or AA. Additionally more general two letter domain names which describe a specific type of business or service such as HR are also expected to be in demand.
In the UK, when its domain registry made one and two letter domain names available there, there was a lot of interest, with 3 million pounds (€4.1 million) raised through the auction process. In the UK, global companies such as Facebook snapped up the address fb.co.uk; Mercedes Benz acquired mb.co.uk and the clothing retailer H&M secured hm.co.uk.
In Ireland, the arrival of two-letter domains will also have a political dimension with party domain names like fg.ie, ff.ie or sf.ie all becoming available.
David Curtin, CEO of IEDR commenting on one and two letter domain names becoming available noted: “At IEDR we have been working for 15 years with Irish businesses, voluntary organisations and with individuals to help them register Irish internet domain names which are relevant to them or their business. Offering one and two letter domains is a welcome further extension of those services.
“We are calling for interested parties to express their opinions during our 30 day public consultation process. IEDR’s policy advisory committee to the board (PAC) has worked diligently to consider the policy change and to build consensus among stakeholder organisations on the best release mechanisms. It is now the turn of the public to express its views.
“.ie domain names continue to be the domain names of choice for a number of key reasons. For businesses they are guaranteed Irish as their owners have a proven real and substantive connection to Ireland. These Identifiably Irish dot ie internet addresses also give greater confidence to consumers due to their enhanced traceability and are also much safer, with lower risk of cybercrime and cybersquatting, than other generic domain extensions.
“The availability of one and two letter domain names and the demand for them is certainly one to watch with interest. Many of our sister national domain registries across Europe and the world which have already been through this process. All experienced strong demand, often coupled with an intense bidding process. The UK’s recent experience suggests we can expect similar demand here,” added Curtin.
For those interested in acquiring a one or two letter domain name, they should make contact with their Accredited Registrar of choice https://www.iedr.ie/register-a-domain/accredited-registrar-list/
The timetable for the registration process will be announced following the completion of the policy development process by the PAC and the board of the IEDR. The conditions which currently apply to all .ie domain registrations will also apply to this process, i.e. each applicant must have a connection to Ireland and a legitimate claim to the domain name sought. Where two or more companies or individuals apply for the same one or two letter .ie domain name and also meet the registration criteria, then an auction to determine ownership will take place. The highest bidder will be awarded the right to use the contested domain.
A public consultation document and FAQ are available to download from the IEDR’s website at https://www.iedr.ie/p30/policy-development/.