dotAfrica (.africa) is the new generic Top Level Domain (gTLD) for the African continent just as Europe has dotEu (.eu). It is an opportunity to you or business to forge a unique online identity which will associate your products, services and/or information with the continent and people of Africa. This will ultimately alter the digital landscape on the internet forever.
The Process Before the Launch
The domain application process of dotAfrica was initiated 2012 by in a new top-level domain application process in 2012 by The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), the organisation responsible for the coordination of the global Internet’s systems of unique identifiers.
The Applicant for the dotAfrica gTLD is the ZA Central Registry (ZACR), a non-profit company based in Johannesburg, South Africa and currently responsible for the registry functions of the .ZA namespace. The dotAfrica application has been submitted with the endorsement and support of the African Union Commission (AUC) and individual African governments and regional governmental agencies and organisations.
The dotAfrica project enjoys widespread support from the African community, including AfriNIC, AfTLD, ITU, UNECA and Nepad. The dotAfrica gTLD will bring the continent together as an internet community under one umbrella allowing e-commerce, technology and infrastructure to flourish.
The Legal Battle
ICANN board passed a resolution in favour of the ZACR claim on running the .africa domain but he DotConnectAfrica Trust (DCA) challenged this resolution, taking its fight to court. The court granted the ZACR’s motion to dismiss all claims against it by DCA giving them the go ahead to launch the domain name.
The Rush for dotAfrica domain Name
The dotAfrica domain is getting great interest from buyers right from the Sunrise Phase of its launch where only registered trademark owners are allowed to apply for domain names. This is followed by a Landrush Phase, which let brand owners, businesses, and the general public register premium .africa domains.
The .africa domain recorded 981 registrations by trademark owners over 60 days from 4 April, placing it within the “global top 10” for the largest number of domain registrations during the Sunrise Phase.
Registrations Open to the Public
The .africa domain is nearing the end of the second Landrush Phase, and registrations are now open to everyone, without restrictions. “The long journey to delegate the rights to administer .africa to the ZACR has clearly created a tremendous amount of pent-up demand for Africa’s new home on the web,” said ZACR CEO Lucky Masilela.
“Domains are now available for registration on a first-come, first-served basis,” said Lucky Masilela. Users can register .africa domains through registrars listed on DotAfrica’s registry page.
Domain Registration Prices
After the ZA Central Registry opened registrations for the .africa geographic top-level domain to the public. Domains.co.za announced that it is selling standard .africa domains for R350 ($26.05) with an annual renewal fee of R250 ($18.61). Hetzner has also launched registrations for .africa domains at R389 ($28.95) per year.
Sources: MyBroadband, Africainonespace