In the previous article in this series, we took an indepth look at all the contacts that make up a domain name registration. In this article we'll look at the peculiar case of the .ie domain.

In 2020, the IEDR disallowed private IE domain registrations, forcing everyone to buy IE domains from their approved reseller list. And with that came some significant changes.

  1. WHOIS lookups prevent you from finding out who owns a domain
  2. The role/powers of contacts has changed

WHOIS Lookups

Instead of returning the names of the contacts in a WHOIS lookup, you now get codes aka 'NIC Handles', which means you can't find out who owns that IE domain. There is now no way to find out this information unless you contact the IEDR who won't give you the information anyway. All a bit secretive isn't it? What is it that they don't want you to know? That Pure Irish Linen Corp with an address in Licketyspit, Co Nowhere, Republic of Ireland is actually owned and run by The Greatest Mahanaragandha Textiles & Sons in New Delhi? Oh come on folks, this is all a bit Secret Service isn't it?

Legacy WHOIS Lookup for IE Domains

Before 2020, WHOIS looksup from IEDR would identify the Registrant (owner) of the domain.

Old IEDR Search WhoIs
Current WHOIS Lookup for IE Domains

Since 2020, WHOIS looksup from IEDR give you codes which means you can't find out who actually owns the domain.

New IEDR Search WhoIs

Contacts and their Roles/Powers

An .ie domain name registration is protected by the IE Domain Registrar (the IEDR) in that your 'ownership' of the .ie domain name is assured. However since you now have to buy from one of their approved resellers, this is what the contacts and their roles are:

Account Holder Registrant Admin Contact Technical Contact Billing Contact
Reseller You/your organisation You/your organisation Reseller Reseller

As you can see, it really boils down to only two roles - you and your reseller. The Reseller occupies the most powerful of the roles - that of the Account Holder, and as you know from previous articles on the subject, that power is immense. While you/your organisation is the Registrant, that only means that you registered the domain, and that you/your organisation have the rights to that domain name. The only real power you have is in the Admin Contact role, and that is outlined in the table below.

# Change A/C Details Registrar Lock Control Change Nameservers Initiate Transfer Approve Transfer Pay the Registrar
Reseller yes yes yes yes yes no
You yes
(admin account details)
no yes yes no yes

How the IE Domain Name Registrar (the IEDR) differs from non-IE Registrars

  1. iedr.ie is the ONE and ONLY IE Domain Name Registrar for the .ie domain name
  2. The rules for getting a .ie are governed by the iedr.ie and these have been significantly relaxed in recent years
  3. Since 2020 you can no longer register your domain name directly with iedr.ie

.IE Resellers and the Registrar Lock

The iedr does apply a Registrar Lock, but it is not used in the same way as other (non IE) Registrars.

When you first sign-up with a Reseller, your domain name is put into LOCK status and will remain locked until the Reseller pays your fee to iedr.ie. If the Reseller doesn't pay the fee (perhaps because you haven't paid the Reseller?), then iedr.ie will eventually delete the domain name. The lock is lifted once the fee is paid.

The Registrar lock will also apply when there is a change of Billing Contact. A change of Billing Contact requires a payment in advance of the full domain name fee to another reseller. When payment is received by iedr.ie, the Registrar Lock will be removed.

While the Registrar Lock is ON -

  • You cannot request a change of Billing Contact (which means a new reseller)
  • And, obviously, you cannot transfer your domain name to a new Reseller at this time

The Registrar Lock does not affect your rights (except for the short time period that it comes into effect) to transfer to a new Reseller. Under the new IEDR rules, the reseller is always the Billing Contact.

Some Q&A

Yes. Provided you bought your IE domain name from an approved IE Domain Reseller, you will have access to a domain name account. If your current reseller doesn't provide you with a domain name account, then just contact iedr.ie and complain. You will need to provide them with your name and NIC HANDLE, which you can get by entering your domain name into the IEDR WHOIS lookup service. Look for the NIC HANDLE of the admin contact, which might look something like this: JX8RTW-IEDR. Go this article to learn how to do that. Go to iedr.ie and fill in your domain name first. Then you will see your domain name is not available, and then click the link just beneath that says View Full WHOIS Information

If you bought your IE domain name from an approved IE reseller (and that may also be a webhost) then that reseller is always the Billing Contact.

In order to change your Billing Contact, you will need to transfer your domain to another approved IE reseller, who will become your new Billing Contact. You can do that by requesting a domain name transfer from them, most have forms to do so on their websites. They will ask you for an EPP code, which you should be able to get from your existing domain name account. Once they receive that code they will initiate the transfer for you. All that's left is for your current reseller to approve the transfer request. It would be rare for your existing reseller to turn down that request, but they might do so if you owe money to them.

Once approved, your new reseller will provide you with a domain name account where you can pay your bills, edit Admin Account holder details and manage your nameservers.

When you change your Billing Contact, you may have to pay fees, check that with your new reseller as the rate depends on when you do the transfer, and what rate your new reseller has negotiated with IEDR. Bigger resellers get lower fees.

The short answer is no. It cannot be done anymore. You have to go through an approved IE Domain reseller.

Absolutely, yes. If your business is aimed at Ireland, then you'll benefit from the .ie domain. Country TLDs (like .ie) are always preferred in local search results over generic TLDs (like .com, .net). So likewise, if you were targetting the UK, then you'd go for a .co.uk domain.

Tagged under: Domain Names Legals

Last updated: 15 Apr 2020