Whenever I meet up with colleagues in the domain industry from outside Ireland they are always amazed at the size of the IE namespace. While it’s not the smallest ccTLD in the world, it is one of the smallest in Europe, especially when compared to its neighbours.
Of course one of the many reasons for this is the policy.
While the policy surrounding registrations has relaxed considerably it is still quite closed to outsiders. If you are not an Irish company you will need to prove that you have an entitlement to an IE domain by way of trade or trademark.
This explains in part why there has been relatively no domaining within the IE namespace.
The other side of the coin is the aftermarket.
While the domain name aftermarket maybe dominated by sales in .com, there is a vibrant trade in ccTLDs such as co.uk and .de.
In the IE namespace there is no official aftermarket and any public advertising of domain names for sale actually infringes the registration rules. Put simply, if you register a .ie you better make use of it, as you won’t be able to sell it on for profit!
While this is probably a good thing overall it wouldn’t be altogether negative if people could trade in IE domains at some level.
Would a dropcatching service for IE domains be of interest to people?
From talking to both registrants and potential registrants there probably is a market for that kind of service. However if any company, apart from the registry, were to start offering those services in public they would probably run afoul of the registry’s own regulations.
And before you ask about “tasting”.. there isn’t any! Well, you could, in theory, but it would be extremely awkward in practice and I can’t see how you’d actually make any money from it … it’s not as if you could auction off the attractive domains or anything like that…