THE COMPANY BEHIND the ‘.ie’ domain slipped into the red last year with operating losses of over €500,000 despite registering a rise in sales.
The IE Domain Registry (IEDR) said that there were over 35,000 new dot ie registrations in 2015, an increase of 13.4% when compared to the 31,072 reported in 2014.
Accounting for dot ie non-renewals or deletions, there was a net increase in registrations of 12,929, an increase of 48% on 2014 net registrations.
In line with this turnover at the company rose by 5% to just under €3 million, however the firm registered an operating loss of €517,082 compared to an operating profit of just under €10,000 the year before.
Overall the firm made a full year loss of just under €390,000 compared to a full year profit of €196,000 in 2014 when exceptional gains and losses were taken into account.
IEDR said that the loss was mainly due to a spend of €508,000 on activities “under the company’s strategic development fund”.
It said that last year the fund supported activities such as website development for small and medium businesses and also provided cash for marketing and advertising campaigns for .ie accredited registrars.
The company’s chairman Sean Scanlan said that although the firm operates on a commercial basis, “we are a not-for-profit company with a general responsibility for promoting the use of the internet in Ireland, particularly in the business sphere”.
He added: “Therefore, we deemed it appropriate to expend some of our accumulated funds in 2015 for this purpose, over and above our normal promotional activities.”
IEDR chief executive David Curtin said that 2015 was a “positive” year for the company during which it was positioned “for long-term growth and sustainability”.
He said: “We continue to remain the identifiably Irish domain of choice for Irish businesses and are working closely with the SME community to ensure that all within it appreciate the value of having an online and digital presence.”
IEDR said that the positive growth in dot ie domain registrations “reflects improvements in the wider Irish economy, particularly increased use of websites by growing numbers of online businesses matched by a return of consumer confidence and improved levels of disposal income, driving online shopping”.
It added: “Overall, the company’s financial position remains strong with members funds standing at €3.7 million and €5.75 million in liquid funds and investments, while IEDR’s financial investments had a market value of €3.1 million.”
During the year the IEDR passed a milestone when it reached the mark of 200,000 registered dot ie domains, with Basecamp Adventure Park in Limerick identified as Ireland’s 200,000 dot ie domain name. There are currently about 217,000 registered dot ie domains.
Looking towards the rest of the year IEDR said that it plans to launch a new service which will allow existing domain holders to sell-on their dot ie domains.
It added that although the outlook for 2016 remains encouraging, “growth will be influenced by the macro-economic environment with all sectors of Irish business likely to be impacted by global issues such as Brexit”.
“In the domain name industry significant international developments may arise as the US government continues to step back from its formal role in Internet governance,” it said.