Wednesday, 21st May 2014. The IE Domain Registry (IEDR), the managed registry for Ireland’s official Internet address .ie, today announced that its 2014 OPTIMISE Fund is open for entries from small business owners looking for a helping hand to improve their e-commerce capabilities.
Encouraging small and micro-business owners across Ireland to apply for one of 15 places on this year’s OPTIMISE Fund worth €150,000 overall was the Minister for Communications, Energy & Natural Resources Pat Rabbitte, T.D.
The OPTIMISE Fund provides professional consultation, practical training and e-commerce development support to give small business owners the e-tools and know-how to ‘optimise’ their existing website and grow their business via the Internet. To date IEDR has helped 45 small businesses across a range of industries, including tourism and culture, food and retail, technology and business services, as well as media and education since the Fund was established in 2011.
Applications are open to all Irish organisations classified as an SME or micro-enterprise with a .ie website that is hosted online and currently accessible to the public. For further details about the OPTIMISE Fund and how to apply, CLICK HERE. The closing date for receipt of entries is 20th June 2014.
David Curtin, Chief Executive of IE Domain Registry, said: “I would strongly encourage small business owners with a .ie website to apply for IEDR’s OPTIMISE Fund. OPTIMISE is about hands-on, practical help that really makes a difference to small companies’ online potential. We match the businesses’ needs with experts’ independent advice on the right tools and technologies to create a better online experience for the companies, and their customers. Online sales and bookings will be a priority for some, while greater customer engagement using social media will be a focus for others. Either way, the move to e-commerce needn’t be daunting. It’s something that small Irish companies have been reluctant to embrace for too long, and too many companies continue to miss out on new markets, new customers and new growth opportunities as a result.”
Minister for Communications, Energy & Natural Resources Pat Rabbitte, T.D., said: “The OPTIMISE Fund is a great opportunity for small companies to develop their online presence, access global markets and improve competitiveness. One of the key aims of the National Digital Strategy is to get an additional 2,000 small Irish businesses trading online over the next two years. The OPTIMISE Fund will encourage companies to develop the capacity and skills which are fundamental to participation in the global economy and is a fine example of the practical support for small businesses developing their online presence.”
About the IE Domain Registry:
The IE Domain Registry (IEDR) is responsible for the management and administration of Ireland’s official Internet address .ie, in the interest of the Irish and global Internet communities. The IEDR operates the domain name system (DNS) for the .ie namespace, facilitates a dispute resolution service and operates a public ‘Whois’ lookup service for .ie domains. The DNS is one of the most important systems on the Internet as it provides the means to map easy-to-remember Internet addresses (such as www.iedr.ie) to cumbersome IP addresses (22.214.171.124).
The IEDR is a managed registry which means that there are rules and procedures governing the registration of .ie domain names. New applications are reviewed to ensure compliance with the terms and conditions of registration. For example, IEDR will verify an applicant’s company registered number with the CRO, or its patent reference number with international databases. This contrasts with dot.com or dot.eu where there is no manual review, and the domain applied for will be automatically registered – once the name is available. Authenticating the claim to the domain name lends confidence to consumers and businesses to carry out transactions online, safe in the knowledge that the online companies are who they say they are. Also with a managed registry there are virtually no instances of cyber squatting, fewer costly intellectually property disputes and reduced instances of spam and identity theft.
Reflecting the nature of Ireland’s managed registry system, the .ie country code domain name, has consistently been ranked one of the world’s top 5 safest domains by the McAfee Mapping the Mal Web report, since the report was established in 2007. In 2010 the namespace was rated the third safest top level domain in Europe and fourth safest country domain name in the world.
In October 2007 the IEDR relaxed the rules for registering personal .ie domain names for individuals, for example, www.johnsmith.ie. The relaxation of the rules was introduced in response to the increasing popularity of social networking sites such as Facebook and Bebo after full consultation with the .ie registrar community and industry organisations. In November 2010, the IEDR celebrated its 10th anniversary during which it marked a number of milestone events including the registration of Ireland’s 150,000th .ie domain name and launch of a www.why.ie as a resource for .ie registrants and registrars. This was followed by the publication of the Registry’s inaugural Domain Name Industry Report, the first account of its kind in Ireland of the .ie namespace and the Irish domain market. It is set in the context of the global domain name market and Ireland’s Internet ecosystem, and will be published annually as a resource for Internet industry leaders and policy makers.
In May 2011, IEDR launched OPTIMISE, a €100,000 e-commerce website development fund. The fund was launched following the findings of IEDR’s Domain Name Industry Report which found that only two-thirds of businesses were online and of those, only 21 per cent had e-commerce capability. Now established and entering its fourth year, IEDR’S OPTIMISE Fund has already provided 45 small and micro-business owners with professional support with which to plan and carry out a major e-commerce website upgrade.
In early 2012 IEDR reached another milestone with the registration of Ireland’s 175,000th .ie domain.
Under the company’s Corporate Social Responsibility programme, the IEDR also provides free .ie domain names for registered charities, as well as free registration for two years to registrars providing new broadband connections to Ireland’s schools and educational institutions.