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 mail.google.com to access your Gmail, you might instead use the address mail.google. The .com is gone – to be replaced with .google – so that Google could use domains such as search.google and calendar.google and blogger.google 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.

Small URL

My obsession with acquiring domain names continues today, with the addition of the domain rick.ie 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 rick.ie is to use it as a private small URL for this blog. So instead of having to use the link https://richardbloomfield.blog/2017/11/small-url/ to get to this post, you can use http://rick.ie/kyfje.

Ten years, and then some

I just noticed that this blog is 10 years old!

The first post dates back to June 2007, only a couple of months after I moved from Edinburgh to Dublin.

This isn’t my first blog however. I started blogging back in September 2000, when very few people had even heard of the word ‘blog’. The whole personal publishing concept was very new in those days, and almost nobody had their own website. We felt like pioneers, and formed our own little communities. I used to read a handful of blogs every day, and felt like some of these people were my friends.

Scottish Bloggers

In Edinburgh I even used to go along to Scottish Blogger meetups, which mainly seemed to comprise of sitting in the pub all day drinking. Seeing the Blogger logo printed off and casually left on the pub table was the secret clue for meetup newbies about which group to approach. And contrary to expectations, we didn’t sit with our laptops out, but instead met and got to know like-minded people, and in some cases made new friends.

I even helped out with the running of a site that linked to all the Scottish blogs in existence at the time. There were so few of us, we could include them all in a manually-curated directory!

In the early I blogged anonymously, and was a lot more candid about what I wrote about. Then I decided to put my name to my words, and became more reserved, because exposure of my thoughts was then just a google-search away.

Social Media

When social media came along, blogging as we originally knew it changed. The ephemeral and frivolous posts moved from blogs onto social media, and many blogs – including my own – fell into disuse.

In the last six or seven years, I’ve not really dedicated myself to blogging that much – at least not on my personal site. I like to keep the blog there, as it does afford me an outlet for the occasional post when the mood takes me (like this post). Instead, like the rest of the world, I’ve mainly used social media for personal stuff. And for more specialist subjects, I’ve created subject-specific blogs for my writing – mostly on cycling and weight loss.

Domain Names

It’s interesting (to me, at least) to think back about all of the different domains I’ve used for my personal blog over the years. Since starting some 17 years ago, my blog has moved between all of these domains:

  • web-richard.net
  • rebuke.org
  • bloomfield.me.uk
  • richardbloomfield.ie
  • richardbloomfield.blog

I suppose that speaks more to my obsession with domain names rather than anything to do with blogging!

The Future

So what about the future? Well I realised recently that I quite miss writing blog posts. It’s something I’ve neglected of late, and want to get back into. Let’s hope that feeling lasts, and you should hopefully see a bit more content here!

Use your domain for email too!

It never fails to amaze me how, when small businesses go to all the effort of registering a domain name and creating a web site, that they don’t use that domain for their email.

I seem to see it all the time – mostly on the side of vans, and sometimes on invoices and other documentation – whereby the email address looks so amateurish because they’re using a gmail address or similar.

It’s probably not the fault of the small businesses themselves, as they’re not internet specialists. But the people that sell them a web site are really letting the side down by not encouraging them to use their domain for an email address – even if it just forwards straight on to their gmail account!

After all the email address of john(Replace this with the @ sign)amazingdecorators.ie is much more professional looking that johnsmithpainter(Replace this with the @ sign)gmail.com.

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