For those of you who have no idea who or what the IE Domain Registry (IEDR) are, they are the people who decided who does and does not get what .ie Internet domain name. You can find out more on their home page. Below is a quote from their front page in which I have bolded the bits that I find particularly positive.

“The IEDR is an independent not-for-profit organisation that manages the .ie country code Top Level Domain (ccTLD) namespace in the public interest of the Irish and global Internet communities.

The IE Domain Registry is not a governing or regulatory body, but provides a public service for the .ie namespace on behalf of the Internet community.”

These people have a very important responsibility, they manage the Irish-branded presence on the internet. They literally determine who is good enough to belong to Ireland on the internet. Were they to genuinely live up to the bolded parts of the above quote I would have nothing but praise for them. However, my many experiences with them over many years have lead me to the conclusion that they are falling far short of these ideals.

Why This Post Now?

Since I’ve been registering .ie domain names on behalf of customers of my web services business ( for may years you may be wondering what was the final proverbial straw that prompted me to take the time to detail and present my grievances. You’d be right to wonder about that as the answer will give you an idea of the bias I am coming at this from. What I was trying to do was to register my own name, Bart Busschots, as a .ie domain name to host this blog and my personal home page. Since it is my name and since I’m resident in Ireland and am registering it on my own behalf I didn’t see any reason for problems, the IEDR did!

The bottom line is that after a lot of to-ing and fro-ing between myself, my registrar (Register365) and the IEDR I did in the end get my domain name but it was not easy and Register365 were convinced I’d never get it and that I’d be as well to quit before I expended even more time and energy on it. Thankfully I found line of attack that worked. Some would call it a loop hole, I’m not sure I would because I see myself as being fully entitled to the domain and hence not needing to resort to petty trickery.

The key phases in the discussion went something like this:

  1. I requested the domain on the grounds that it’s my personal name.
  2. The IEDR refused on the ground that they only allow private individuals register two initials and a two digit number, hence the name I should apply for was
  3. I was far from happy so I asked Register365 if there was anything I could do to get round this obvious lunacy. They advised me to register Bart Busschots as a business name, that way I would be automatically entitled to the domain. I was not prepared to go to such rediculous lengths for a domain name so I ask for a plan c. Register365 re-submited my application in the ‘discressionary’ category, pointing out that it was to be used for a blog.
  4. The IEDR refused again, saying I should apply under the personal name category. (oh dear, I see circles forming here!). Register365 advised me that it was probably a lost cause but told me that occasionally rining the IEDR in person helps.
  5. I read all the IEDR rules VERY carefully, decided that a blog is a publication and since this blog is called ‘Bart Busschots’ I should be able to get for it. I rang the the IEDR and tried to make my case on the phone but the lady didn’t seem to want to deal with me over the phone so she told me to send an email. I did and worded it very carefully stressing that the domain was for an existing electronic publication and giving them the current URL to this blog.
  6. The IEDR agreed to give me my domain. YAY … victory for the little guy for once!

Private Citizens Don’t Get a Fair Service

The first major issue I have with the way the IEDR is run is the total imbalance between the way companies and individuals are treated. Companies can register some domain names with complete ease. They can have their name and their trade marks and if they ask nicely sometimes abbreviated versions of their names or trade marks. What can private individuals get? TWO initials and a number! That is completely unfair towards the average Irish person. They are being denied proper access to what is after all their ccTLD. Does that strike you as being “in the public interest of the Irish and global Internet communities” or providing “a public service”? It certainly doesn’t strike me as either of those things.

I can see how the IEDR would argue that, because they only give companies, educational institutions and government bodies easy access to useful domain names, there are no problems with domain name piracy within the .ie TLD. That is certainly true, but because of this the .ie ccTLD is also horrendously under-used. Simply put it has been over-regulated out of all usefulness for most ordinary people. There is a balance that needs to be struck here and I think the IEDR have missed completely.

Too Many Hoops and Barriers

In general it takes time and effort to get a .ie domain name. Although I have had it go smoothly and quickly on some occasions in general there are complications. This involves work for the person registering the domain and work for the IEDR. It strikes me that the majority of this work is pointless. As I see it, less time spent on rules and regulations, and more time spent on actually helping customers registering domains, would be a great improvement for the IEDR!

The impression I have gotten over my years of dealing with the IEDR is that they always appear to be looking for reasons to say ‘no’ rather than trying to help customers resolve genuine problems so they can say ‘yes’ to something that is acceptable to both parties. Basically, the IEDR always make me feel like Oliver Twist going up asking for more. To me that seems like the wrong vibes for a company that claims to be providing a public service to be sending out.

Too Expensive

Including VAT it costs nearly 90 Euro to register a .ie domain. Compare that to less than 15 Euro for a .com, .org or .net, and about 20 Euro for a .be and a .eu and you’ll soon see that getting a .ie is an expensive proposition! Hang on a sec you may think, the IEDR are a not-for-profit organisation, why are they so dramatically more expensive than other European ccTLDs? The answer lies with the previous problem, they spent too much time making and implementing too many rules and making too many people jump through too many hoops to charge any less. It takes time and money to pay the bureaucrats that do that work! You also can’t automate things too much when so much interaction is needed with the client.

The Result

Too few Irish people actually bother with a .ie address. Instead, many Irish people opt for a .com addresses because they are cheaper and much easier to get. As I see it this is not in the best interest of the Irish Internet Community, or indeed the global Internet Community. Hence I would argue that the IEDR are failing to live up to their own stated ideals and should start working to remedy this as soon as possible.

To really hammer the point home I will point out that during my interactions with the IEDR I also registered (because I’m Belgian-Irish) and I had previously registered It cost me less and took me less time and effort to register these THREE domains than it did to register one .ie domain. That says it all really! At the end of the day .be should be no different to .ie but it is, I had the .be registered in 5 minutes and for just a fraction of the price of the .ie. What does Belgium know that Ireland doesn’t?


  • The IEDR need to re-evaluate the way they do business if they really want to live up to their stated ideals.
    • The IEDR currently provide a poor service to private individuals, less than other national domain registrars
    • .ie domains are too hard to get
    • .ie domains are too expensive
  • If you are a private Irish citizen and you want to register a .ie domain, set up a blog, call it after yourself, and then apply as an electronic publication providing a link to the blog (which should ideally be running long enough to have a good cache of articles) in your request.