By Jean –Pierre Afadhali
Multinationals are leading the quest to adopt Dot Africa, the continent’s web address that was recently delegated to a South African company.
Africa’s web address was unveiled early this year to give the continent an online identity, following the delegation by the worldwide web administrator, Internet Corporation for Assigned Names & Numbers (ICANN).
In an exclusive interview with PanafricanVisions at Africa Internet Summit held recently in Nairobi,Kenya ;Mr. Lucky Masilela ,CEO of ZA Central Registry NPC (ZACR), the company that manages the web address; revealed over 760 multinationals have applied for Africa’s cyberspace name as of 29 May.
“We are quite happy, this is the highest of domain names sold during sunrise in the world,” said Mr. Masilela
The “record” was not independently verified, but the launch phase of domain registration known as’ sunrise’ allows companies that hold intellectual properties of their brand names to pre-register names that are the same to their trademark in order to avoid Internet names’ theft.
The period that ended on the 2nd June saw international brands including names such as BMW and Apple register the Africa’s web name to show their presence on the continent market.
According to Masilela, South African companies followed in acquiring DotAfrica.
The current phase known as ‘Landrush’ is meant for premium high value names, meaning names that can be commercialized.
“For instance ‘Banks.Africa’ can be applied to get all banks under that domain names,” explained the CEO of ZACR ,the company that runs Africa’s web address through its subsidiary called Registry Africa Ltd, adding that other high value names includes domain names with short characters.
ZACR said the price for a domain name for a year will be less than 20 dollars the wholesale.
“Your registrar will put some other services like hosting and it goes to 25-30 dollars but for us we are selling to registrars at a wholesale price,” he noted
While getting more organizations to register their brand under the recently launched Africa’s web name is a milestone; it appears there is still a long way to go to convince more African companies and others organizations that operate on the continent to adopt the internet name.
“For us it is a journey,” said Masilela “It is going to take a lot to convince them (businesses)”
“We need to provision this name to the African community that they need to trust this name,”
According to internet marketing experts, the Africa’s domain name will help companies operating in Africa to market their business online, allowing them to brand their pan African market presence.
“We are going to be visiting different countries and work with local registrars to ensure that there is uptake of the name,” revealed the CEO who was attending Africa Internet Summit.
General Availability will commence on 4 July 2017, and this is when the general public can apply for their .Africa domain names.
During this phase any organization or business can apply Africa’s Internet name.
“It is the market open for anybody including myself, I can go and apply the name,” Mr Masilela explained, adding it is first come and first served stage!
According to the South African Internet Company, all these phases are meant to avoid Intellectual properties rights conflicts, amid increasing domain names theft in the cyberspace.
The South Africa Company has signed an agreement with African Union to use undisclosed amount of revenues generated from the commercialization of DotAfrica, in financing the continent ICT development projects.