Registrations for Nigeria’s country code top level domain (ccTLD), .NG, have boomed compared to previous registration statistics following a dramatic cutting in the registration fee. But the ccTLD, along with many others, is still saddled with overpriced registration fees.
Today registrations have passed the 30,000 mark, up from around 9000 in 2011 with a reduction in the fees from ₦500,000 ($3170) to “just” ₦15, 000 ($95).
While the reductions are laudable, one has to ask how any TLD can justify such a high price? Especially in a developing country with a population of 174.5 million and a gross domestic product of $2700 (coming 180th out of 229 countries and territories according to the CIA Factbook). This compares to the United States with a GDP of $49,800 and .com domains easily available for $10 to $20.
Speaking at the fifth Annual General Meeting of the Nigerian Internet Registration Association (NiRA), Mr. Ope Odusan, the organisation’s Chief Operating Officer, is reported to have said:
“It’s ironical that the foreigners who many often say are not always ready to do business with any business with .ng domain constitute the largest owners of the .ng domain names.”
Odusan is also reported to have said “only 32 .ng domain names were sold in three years, and 30 out of the 32, were bought by foreigners doing business outside Nigeria, while only two were bought by Nigerian residents, THISDAY Newspapers and MTN Nigeria,” according to a This Day report.
Well, it’s hardly surprising. Not many Nigerians would be in a position to afford a .ng domain name and were they intending to, it is much cheaper for them to register a .com domain.
But in part NiRA recognises that the high costs contribute to registrations, with Odusan saying that as part of measures to increase the usage of .ng, NiRA ‘crashed’ the cost according to Nigeria’s National Mirror. But this reduction still makes .ng domains unaffordable to a large proportion of Nigerians.