THE number of websites registered with an "ie" suffix fell 15pc last year, as businesses continued to suffer with the downturn.
According to the IE Domain Registry (IEDR), which manages the .ie internet domain, some 33,484 sites were registered last year, compared to 39,398 in 2011.
Including sites that were not renewed, only 9,139 more .ie sites existed in 2012 than 2011.
The group's chief executive David Curtin said it was a decent performance in a difficult year.
"It's been a good year in the context of the terrible economy," he said.
"We had good topline growth but disappointing losses in terms of the deletions," he added.
Mr Curtin blamed the deletions on a mixture of companies going under and the growing trend of businesses registering sites for short periods for things like promotions and so on.
"We all know about the insolvency numbers but the interesting thing is a shift in people keeping sites for shorter time.
"A business might have its core website "abusiness.ie", but it will register another site such as "abusiness2013.ie" if it's running a special deal and then let that lapse once the promotion is over," he added.
Registrations are down 6.4pc so far this year, but Mr Curtin emphasised that there were still huge numbers of small firms that did not have a website.
"That might be surprising at this stage but SMEs in particular need to have a site that allows them to sell their wears 24/7," he claimed.
Overall the IEDR saw profits after tax fall 19pc to €282,706. Revenues came in almost flat at €2.6m but more investment pumped up the group's administrative costs by a fifth to €1.24m.