|Introduced 1992||Status Active|
|TLD type Country code top-level domain|
Registry Estonian Internet Foundation
Intended use Entities connected with Estonia
Actual use Very popular in Estonia, now available globally
Third-level domain names
The top-level domain .ee was introduced in 1992 and was operated by EENet until July 2010. The administrator of .ee domain was the academic Endel Lippmaa. There was a limit of one domain name per legal entity, and registrations of additional names to protect trademarks were specifically denied because "The domain name has no trademark status". As domains under .ee were meant to be an institution's identification on the Internet (like the register code in the commercial register), registration of additional domains in the defense of a trademark or a name form is not possible. Valid registrations were free of charge.
The new order of registration of .ee TLD became available on 5 July 2010. Estonian Internet Foundation took over .ee ccTLD registry functions from EENet. All existing domains registered before the transition had to be re-registered during a 6-month transition period which ended on 5 January 2011. Registration services can be done through accredited registrars listed on Estonian Internet Foundation website.
New .ee domain rules allow unlimited number of domains to be registered by private and legal persons directly under .ee. Foreign entities and persons can register .ee domains. Domain disputes are handled by Domain Disputes Committee. Domains can be registered and renewed for 1, 2 and 3 years.
Registration fee for registrars is set to 7, 14, 21 Euros plus tax in 2016 depending on the registration period. The final cost is influenced by competition on the market.
The new order of domain registering was met with great controversy. The relaunch of the registry was at one point delayed to be reassessed. When the relaunch was finalized, the annual fee for a .ee domain was announced to be 285 Estonian kroons (~24 USD) plus tax, which was met with wide criticism. A list of shortcomings was presented in a public notice to Estonian Internet Foundation by Tõnu Samuel and Jaan Jänesmäe, mentioning that the .ee domain had become the most expensive TLD in Europe. Their cause gained over 800 supporters on Facebook.
The NGO Estonian Internet Community was founded partly as a reaction to the controversial domain reform with 22 founding members. Its board is made up of Tõnu Samuel, Elver Loho and Heiti Kender. Recently it noted on its blog that several of its members had lost faith in the possibility of any sort of compromise and had independently written e-mails to IANA asking them to step in to resolve the controversy.
On 31 December 2015, it was announced that the annual fee for a .ee domain would be lowered to about 110 Estonian kroons (~8 USD).