INFOTECH: .ZA Domain Reaches 1 Million
Recent Gauteng Business News
ZA Domain Name Authority (ZADNA), the regulator of .ZA, announces that the number of registered .ZA domain names has reached and exceeded 1 million this week. This milestone is a first in Africa as .ZA becomes the first country domain in Africa to reach 1 million registrations.
The bulk of registrations continue to be in co.za, which accounts for a little more than 971 000 registrations as of Thursday, 19 February, and continues to grow by a few thousand new registrations every month in the last few years. Org.za comes second with a little more than 28 000 registrations, and the smaller second level domains (SLDs) - such as ac.za, gov.za, net.za and web.za - account for the rest.
Vika Mpisane, CEO of ZADNA, says: “We are excited about this important milestone because it shows that as more and more South Africans embrace the internet, the more they identify themselves with .ZA as their online identity.”
The growth is largely due to South African businesses and organisations seeing value in having online presence through websites that identify them as South African. It is a testament to affordable domain name fees that the .ZA SLD operators – such the ZA Central Registry that operates co.za, net.za, org.za and web.za – continue to charge. .ZA domain name fees are more competitive than those of .com, .net and .org, and are also some of the cheapest in Africa.
“The issue of fees’ affordability is very important, and is an important objective of ZADNA and of the South African government’s pursuit of increased and affordable access to ICT services”, says Mpisane. “That is why as early as 2010, ZADNA committed to establishing a centralised and automated registry platform, which culminated in the establishment of the ZA Central Registry in 2012. The goal was to have an operator that would provide a world-class service at a fraction of a price”.
The ZACR has not only brought the benefit of making it easy and fast to register .ZA names, but has also ensured that the .ZA domain name fees remain very competitive. Its registry platform is world-class and received a vote of confidence last year when the ZACR was given rights to launch and operate the dotDurban (.durban), dotJoburg (.joburg), dotCapeTown (.capetown) – jointly called dotCities - and dotAfrica domains. The dotCities are positioned to serve as local alternatives to .ZA by allowing South Africans to identify themselves with the three cities.
While appreciating the growth of .ZA, ZADNA remains aware that there is still a huge space for growth. “With around 50 million South Africans, around 24 million of whom have access to the internet, reaching a million mark should be taken purely as a motivation to reach the next few millions, and this will require continued investment in education and awareness,” says Mpisane.
ZADNA is encouraging South Africans to continue to buy in to .ZA, and there are a number of reasons why: not only does .ZA clearly marks people as South African online, it also ensures that people are part of a secure and robust namespace that is affordable and easy to access. People also benefit from a wide range of internet service providers (called registrars) accredited to register .ZA names. You have choice because you can register in different second level domains. There is also the .ZA Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) process, which has proven to be a very effective measure for eliminating cybersquatting and trademark abuse in .ZA registrations.
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