An analysis of domain name registrations under the .IE namespace, along with an overview of the .IE namespace, has just been published by the Irish Registry, which runs Ireland’s .IE country code top level domain.
In 2022, new domain names under .IE decreased by 22.6%, in comparison to 2021, according to the .IE Domain Profile Report. In response to the Covid restrictions during the pandemic, businesses took proactive measures to get online during a “cooling off” period after the surge in domain name registrations.
In 2022, however, there were 48,168 new registrations, a decrease of 4% over pre-pandemic 2019, so it is unlikely that the decline is solely related to the pandemic. Reports document “overall flat growth” for 2022 due to a drop in domain name renewals.
Around 330,000 .IE domains were registered by the end of 2022, a 0.3% drop from 2021. As opposed to most European ccTLDs, which are generally less restricted, the .IE ccTLD can only be applied to entities based in Ireland or with a link to Ireland (via their business or trademark). According to the report, 91% of all .IE domain names had been registered by Irish entities, and .IE domain names made up 53.6% of all domain names hosted in Ireland, ahead of the likes of .COM (30%), .UK (7.4%), and .EU (2.3%). This was not surprising at all since 91% of all .IE domain names had been registered by Irish entities.
Furthermore, the Report also examined cybersecurity and the additional layer of security that has been provided by the Registry to the owners of .IE domains. An Internet security services company is used by the Registry to scan for online abuse, such as malware, phishing, and botnets, by using an Internet security service provider. An abuse of the domain name is reported to the relevant registrar, and they can then inform the domain name holder, so that corrective action can be taken. Due to the activities of this cybersecurity service, a majority of the cyber attacks were prevented in 2022, with 40% being spear phishing attacks and 24% being malware attacks, according to the report.
There was also an increase of 6% in the amount of content-rich .IE websites secured with a security certificate according to the Report in 2021, although 60% of these websites are secured with a security certificate. There were also 757 .IE domain names which were secured with DNSSEC, an increase of 51% since 2021, and 57 .IE domain names which were secured with a Registry Lock, an increase of 19% in 12 months.
The Registry also performs manual checks on all .IE domain registrations, which is an unusual practice. The Registry believes that these manual checks will protect against .IE domains being registered by “bad actors” who wish to use them for fraudulent and illegal activities.