New registration rules for .ie domains

From March 2018 the Irish domain name registry are making it easier to register a .ie domain name.

Following a consultation period, new liberalisation policies are coming into force to remove some of the administrative overhead in registering an Irish (.ie) domain.

Previously, if you wanted to register a domain you needed to satisfy the registry about three things:

  1. Your identity – by providing a copy of your ID,
  2. Your association with Ireland – demonstrating that you are Irish, resident in Ireland, an Irish business, or a business trading in Ireland,
  3. Your claim to the domain name – for individuals, this meant you could only register your actual name; and for businesses, your business name or trademark.

The change coming into effect soon is the removal of the 3rd requirement. You no longer have to prove your claim to a name. As long as you can prove your association with Ireland, you will soon be able to register whatever domain name you like.

The change is seen as a liberalisation of the IE registrations, and has been made to encourage Irish businesses and individuals to use IE domains who had previously been put off by the registration rules.

The negative side is that the change also opens the market to an increase in domain name squatting, or speculative registration. And so, businesses in particular are being encouraged to come forward and secure their name now before the changes take effect.

Can I own my own top level domain?

In 2013 the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) opened up the market for new Top Level Domains (TLD) that allowed companies to register their own domain extension.

The idea being that instead of visiting to access your Gmail, you might instead use the address The .com is gone – to be replaced with .google – so that Google could use domains such as and and for their different services.

Hundreds of brands have subsequently applied to run their own TLD, including the like of Amazon, Apple, the BBC, BMW, Delta Airlines, and Microsoft – and are starting to use them for their web presence. But I was wondered if it was possible for an individual to get and run their own TLD.

Could I, for instance, apply to run the .bloomfield top level domain, and use the domain richard.bloomfield for this blog? Now that would be the ultimate vanity domain name!

I'm not sure if any individual has ever tried to apply for one. Certainly it would be pretty expensive:

  • A one-time application fee of $185,000 to apply for each TLD
  • A quarterly fee of $6,250 for maintenance
  • A per-transaction fee of $0.25 (once you go over 50,000 transactions)

And that's just the fees I would pay to ICANN. I would probably need to maintain a few servers to run my TLD and domain registry, and I'm sure there would be a few other costs involved. So unless I become a multi-millionaire, I doubt if I'll be taking control of .bloomfield any time soon.

Gmail two-factor authentication

It's interesting that Google had revealed that fewer than 10% of people using Gmail have two-factor authentication active on their account. Most people are relying on just their password to protect them!

So why should anyone be worried about their email getting hacked? A lot of people might say that their email doesn't contain anything of particular value to worry about – but they forget that your email is often the access key to every other service you use online.

Think about all the forgotten password reset forms you've ever filled in. Most of the time, all they require is for you to enter your email address, and then click on a link in the subsequent email they send you.

So, if I have access to your email account, I can start accessing all your accounts: all your social media accounts, all your online utility accounts, and maybe even some of your bank/financial accounts. I can certainly find out a lot of information about you that I could use for identity fraud.

I also have full access to all your contacts, and can approach them, pretending to be you, and try and scam them out of money or information.

So I'd certainly recommend that your email account should be the most secure account you have online – precisely because its the gateway to all your other accounts.

So what is two-factor authentication then?

Two-factor authentication requires you to enter two pieces of information to access your account. The first authentication is your password, and the second is typically something like a 4 or 6 digit code sent via SMS to your phone.

With two-factor authentication enabled, you need to have access to both your password and a physical device (your mobile/cell phone) to access your account. And so it makes it a lot harder for someone to hack into your account.

Google makes it even easier to use, in that it offers alternatives to the typical SMS code sent to your phone. You can do your second authentication by using any of these methods:

  • clicking a button on your phone
  • running an authentication code app (useful if you don't have signal to receive an SMS)
  • receiving an automated voice call to your mobile or landline
  • storing a security code on a USB stick
  • having a printed list of codes

And once you have authenticated yourself on a particular computer or device you often don't need to re-authenticate yourself for a month or more – and so it's not that big a hassle.

And to enable it, all you have to do is visit the Google 2-Step Verification site and turn it on. It takes only a few minutes, and could go a long way to securing yourself online.

What about other services?

You can enabled two-factor authentication on all major sites such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn. Your bank probably forces you to use it, or has some additional security steps to try and protect your account.

And you can visit the site Two Factor Auth to find out what online services you use have it available.

Symbolic “Die-In” as part of Stop Killing Cyclists protest

A protest by people who ride bicycles took place outside the Oireachtas, Leinster House, last night (21st November 2017) in response to the 14th person so far this year who has died while cycling.

The death of 14 cyclists is a disturbingly high number, and a tragedy for their family and friends. The gathering – which was jointly organised by Dublin Cycling Campaign,, IBIKEDUBStayin Alive at 1.5, and Cycling Without Age – was a vigil to remember those who had died, and also a protest to demand action and funding for proper cycling infrastructure from the government.

A symbolic "die-in" formed part of the protest, with bicycle users lying on the road.


Photo credit: @nickkeeganirl

Small URL

My obsession with acquiring domain names continues today, with the addition of the domain to my list.

Applying for a .ie domain name is not as straight-forward as for other domain extensions. For an IE domain you need to convince the domain owner – in this the IEDR – that you fulfil certain requirements to be able to qualify for a particular domain:

  • that you're Irish or residing in Ireland
  • that you have a business name, trademark, or personal name that matches the domain name

Fortunately you can somewhat side-step the second requirement by applying for what's called a "discretionary" domain – whereby you can apply for pretty much any domain name you want, as long as you can supply a compelling statement saying why you want it, and what you'll use it for.

My immediate plan for is to use it as a private small URL for this blog. So instead of having to use the link to get to this post, you can use