ComReg To Regulate .ie and IEDR
01 December 2003: Ministerial intervention has been necessary due to IEDRīs mismanagement of the .ie cctld. The Communications Regulator, ComReg, www.comreg.ie , will take over the regulation of the troubled .ie cctld from next year.
The move comes after years of problems with IEDRīs administration of .ie cctld. Industry dissatisfaction with IEDRīs handling of billing issues, domain administration and domain costs is rife. The .ie domain is one of the most expensive domains in the world and more Irish businesses opt for a .com than for a .ie.
IEDR supposedly administers .ie cctld on behalf of the Irish internet community. It is a limited company. Thus it can have the administration of .ie cctld taken off it. If that happens it will have no reason for existence. According to its articles, IEDR is owned by the members of the board of IEDR. The administration is in the hands of a bunch of people who are unelected, unsupervised and unrepresentative of the Irish internet community. Thus, on paper, the board of is free to abuse or use the company. The board members of IEDR are not paid for serving on the board. IEDR does not, whatever the board and management of IEDR like to think, own .ie cctld. This fact has been made abundantly clear with the Ministerial intervention. All of the hosters spoken to by WhoisIreland.com welcomed this intervention and most wanted to see IEDR completely stripped of the administration of .ie cctld.
Rather than have a registry that was representative of the Irish internet community and representative of the Irish internet industry, University College Dublin (UCD) created a company with a bunch of academics on the board, one of whom, Scanlan, was an ex-Telecom Eireann board member. Another ex-Telecom Eireann board member (and chairman), Bolger, was then co-opted on the board of IEDR. Bolger, it was claimed in IEDR's 2001 Annual Report, was also an ex-managing partner of KPMG. As such, IEDR was never free of UCD and it is overly influenced by ex-Telecom Eireann and UCD people.
Telecom Eireann damaged Irelandīs internet industry in the 1990s by holding back crucial internet technologies and overcharging for old technologies such as ISDN. Telecom Eireann tried to murder the infant internet in Ireland. The idea of having any ex-Telecom Eireann board members running a registry is a repulsive, disgusting and abhorrent idea. So what were the results for .ie cctld under these ex-Telecom Eireann board members?
Well these characters were board members of an organisation that operated a monopoly that overcharged the Irish people and resisted change. This is exactly what IEDR did, turning .ie cctld into one of the most overpriced, undercompetitive and poorly administered country code domains in the world.
The Irish internet industry has had to deal with the damage caused by IEDR. It is very difficult to justify the cost of a .ie to anyone when getting a .com is cheaper, faster and more effective. As for the claim that IEDR is a managed registry and every domain has to be checked to verify that the registrant is entitled to the domain - rubbish!
IEDR has allowed some very dubious domains, many of which should have been kept for registry use only. It allocated nic.ie, ftp.ie, dns.ie, www.ie, ltd.ie, biz.ie, and a pile of other domains of that were clear attempts at cybersquatting. Then there is the Medical Pages fiasco when in 2001, IEDR allocated approximately 320 generic medical terms, when a rule banning the registration of generic terms. But then it had allocated approximately 70 generic domains earlier the same year. It then changed the generic rule to make the Medical Pages domain registrations legitimate - changing that rule made IEDR approximately Ģ15K. The interesting thing is that when WhoisIreland.com checked the SOA for these domains showed that the serial numbers for the domains were dated before the rule change.
The move by Minister Ahern to regulate .ie cctld came after years of acrimony, petty infighting, legal actions and allegations of mismanagement in IEDR. Under the Part 4 Section 31 of the E-Commerce Act, the Minister may regulate the registration authority (IEDR). Legally, the Minister can strip IEDR of the administration of .ie cctld and should ComReg decide that IEDR has made a mess of .ie cctld, this is what will happen.
The regulation of .ie and of IEDR is a safe move to protect .ie cctld. No doubt the Minister, his department and ComReg are aware that the Irish internet industry does have confidence in IEDR. Recent FOI disclosures have shown this fact.
If IEDR as a company fails or if IEDR loses upcoming court cases and is rendered insolvent as a result, there has to be some continuity for the cctld. ComReg does not take over regulation of .ie cctld/IEDR until next year. It cannot dispose of the board and management of IEDR until that time. If in the meantime, natural attrition (via legal means or via resignations) was to deal with the board and management of IEDR, it could solve some unpleasant problems for ComReg. Pending the outcome of FBI Vs IEDR, and other potential cases and events, I don't think that IEDR can immediately be stripped of the administration of .ie cctld.
If, before ComReg taking over regulation of .ie cctld and IEDR, some party was to succeed in getting a Winding Up Order against IEDR, (It was mentioned in one of the letters from Mary Harney to Dermot Ahern in the FOI dislosures.), then things would be very different. This would probably force the Minister and ComReg to move quickly, possibly to a Nominet type of arrangement with hosters becoming Registrars and the new Registry acting simply as a registry.
IEDR (.ie) domains with websites:
IEDR (.ie) domains with no websites:
Copyright 2003 - MC2