IEDR Liberalisation of dot IE Domain Names is a fascinating proposal & one that Irish business owners need to be made very aware of when &if it comes to fruition, any dot IE domain name can be claimed by any person with any real connection to the Island of Ireland.
It states on the IEDR website (the body set up to manage the dot IE domain registration process in Ireland) that, in their words:
We are proposing to remove the ‘claim to the name’ requirement from the IEDR’s Registration & Naming Policy. The ‘claim to the name’ refers to the requirement on registrants to prove a legitimate claim when applying for a new dot ie domain.
Registrants will still need to prove their real connection to the island of Ireland, and their identity, when applying for a dot ie domain.
Follow this link to the IEDR Website for more information. This will mean a considerable loosening of the registration process. Prior to this, the process involved registering your domain name (note you can only register what is available, as in there is no guarantee your business name is available when you go to set up your business) & then sending on proof of business name on headed company paper, outlining your intention to use the dot IE domain for your business. Thus a business owner had some type of protection for their business name.
Now with this new proposal, the onus is going to fall more on a business owner to ensure their domain names are properly registered & more importantly, that they are renewed each year there after. If not, anyone could potentially, just register a dot IE domain name once they prove their real connection to the Island of Ireland (not sure how that is going to work).
Now this is just a consultation process as no emphatic decision as been made, they are hoping to introduce it in early 2018. This means there still is time to give your opinion on this new proposal. You can have your say by following this link IEDR Consultation & closing date is the 30th of September 2017. It involves answering 10 short questions & room to give your opinion as to why you agree or not. You also have to provide your name & email address to submit your opinion.
For a business owner that is setting up or has been trading for a number of years, the idea of a potential competitor getting ahead start on their identity or brand is a scary scenario. Yes the IEDR offer a Dispute Resolution Policy for handling dot ie domain disputes. They are even discussing simplifying this process or speeding it up, but how much more work will a business owner have to do to challenge another business using a domain name potentially related to their business.
Yes we all love the idea of a faster solution to registration processes, but by liberalising this process, is the whole confidence in the very system being diluted & encouraging potential abuse of the system. Take for example a business with the imaginary name Water Taps. This business may not have had the chance or inclination to register their domain name www.watertaps.ie or maybe they only registered the domain name in .com. Thus say any other competitor could have tried to register the www.watertaps.ie but would have been stopped as they would not have been able to satisfy their claim to the name. But with the new proposed changes, all a competitor has to prove their real connection to the Island of Ireland.
Once the domain is registered the competitor can work away until the victim notices it & then has to go through a process to prove why they should have had the right to ownership. While going through this process the legit business is losing potential business & money.