At a recent conference in South Africa, there was a push among registrars for allowing second level registrations of .za domain names.
Currently registrations under .za are at the third level, for example .co.za. But at the recent iWeek conference ZA Domains’ Jade Benson said he thought the country was ready for the introduction of second level domains for the South African ccTLD, according to a Business Live report.
The South African interest in second level registrations follows their introduction in .uk and .nz in 2015 and their approval to be introduced in .au following a consultation.
According to Business Live, Domain Name Authority (Zadna) CEO Vika Mpisane said a shift to second level registrations wouldn’t happen without the registry’s blessing.
“Mpisane cited a survey that Zadna conducted in 2010, which showed that people were satisfied with the use of .co.za. The respondents were not keen on an additional domain name such as .za. Mpisane says Zadna would run another survey to determine whether an additional domain name was necessary.believes there is no need to run another survey, because there is enough support for the introduction of .za.”
But Benson doesn’t see the need for another survey and the domain industry believes the survey is out of date. “The sooner it is implemented the better,” Benson said.
“Variety is the spice of life, and typically consumers who cannot find their desired .co.za domain would look to international registrars to purchase a .com or similar,” says Benson. “.za domains would provide them with an alternative opportunity to find their desired domain name and ensure that small business and consumers are supporting local businesses.”
Lucky Masilela, the CEO of ZACR, a non-profit organisation, says the price of new domain names needs to be addressed to make it affordable to switch to or add the .za.
“For us it’s not about making money,” he says. “We are positioning it for future use and giving people more choice.”
Shorter extensions may find more favour. Wayne Diamond from domains.co.za says that from a brand-building perspective, the .za has “fantastic potential”.
“We need to stay relevant and need to make future-proof decisions and [introducing .za] follows on what other countries have done,” he says.
In South Africa there has also been the introduction of three city gTLDs – .capetown with 4,780 registrations, .joburg (3,620) and .durban (2,590). There are some in the South African domain industry such as Benson who believe they have been a failure.
ZACR has struggled to achieve a higher number of sales for new domains, mostly because of a “monopoly within the market and exorbitant pricing”, said Benson according to the report. However Masilela said as there are fewer registrars who sell the gTLDs compared to the .co.za, this has limited their potential.
The full Business Live report is available at: