Newsletter publisher wins first Net Visionary Award


Mr Liam Ferrie, the founder of Irish Emigrant Publications, has been presented with the inaugural Net Visionary Award by the Irish Internet Association (IIA).

The award, presented by the Minister for Public Enterprise, Ms O'Rourke, recognises Mr Ferrie's contribution to the development and promotion of the Internet in Ireland and worldwide. Mr Ferrie is probably best known by Irish emigrants who subscribe to the Internet newsletter, the Irish Emigrant, which he launched in 1987.

A former Digital employee in Galway, Mr Ferrie originated his business as an informal e-mail newsletter to friends abroad. It evolved over time into the Irish Emigrant, a newsletter with a conversational style, which paraphrases the more newsworthy stories from Irish newspapers.

It is now received by more than 15,000 people in 112 countries, and five years ago a hard copy edition was introduced for distribution in the US.

Mr Ferrie was chosen for the award after an online voting procedure where members of the public and the Internet industry cast their votes from a shortlist of 10 nominees.

The other nominees included Mr Seamus Conaty of The Irish Times Electronic Publishing Division, Mr Cyril McGuire of Trintech, Mr Fran Rooney of Baltimore Technologies, Mr Barry Flanagan, founder of IOL and now,, Mr Frank Quinn of Scope Publications, Mr Gerry McGovern of Nua, Mr Frank Kelly of the Department of Education, Ms Vivienne Jupp of the Information Society Commission and the Minister for Public Enterprise, Ms O'Rourke.

Separately, a decision has been made to move the Irish service for domain name registration, the .ie Domain Registry (IEDR), off the UCD Belfield campus to operate as an independent commercial entity. The decision follows protracted deliberation on the future of the registry, after a good deal of industry criticism had been levelled at it for the arbitrary nature of its criteria.

Mr Mike Fagan, general manager of the IEDR, told The Irish Times a number of changes could be expected when the independent registry establishes itself shortly. This is likely to include the addition of "sub-domains" which would correspond to trademark categories, along the lines of "" in the UK.