Saturday, September 17, 2011

dotZulu: Will the Zulu Nation have a new Top Level Domain Name?

dotZulu is one of the newTLD initiatives to have emerged in the last year or so but is also one of the most dormant newTLD initiatives. The initiative to establish dotZULU is led by Top Level Domain Holdings'(TLDH) Minds and Machines subsidiary. In fact, the dotzulu initiatives' domain http://www.zulutld.com/ is registered to Fred Krueger, Angel investor and the Chairman of TLDH and Clark Landry, an Angel Investor and also co-founder at TLDH.

 The dotzulu campaign started on a high note last year when they received an endorsement from the Zulu Monarch King Zwelithini Goodwill kaBhekuzulu in which he made  a plea to ICANN to delegate .zulu to his people:

"I am hoping that ICANN will ensure that the Zulu nation will always have a distinct home on the internet. The dotZULU top level domain will help to secure our heritage and empower our great progress forward. This a chance to create a driven community. One that reflects the rich enduring spirit of the Zulu nation and will nurture new ideas, new solution and new hope. It will help us come together look ahead and share our world with the larger world. So as the King of the Zulu nation, I request that you grant this opportunity to me and my people so that we may hold fast to our identity as we swiftly and surely advance towards a bright future."

Since then, the dotzulu campaign has been shtum about the progress of the initiative. We do not know whether they are doing an outreach to the Zulu nation, in its Kwa Zulu Natal heartland and the rest of South Africa to adopt the dotzulu newTLD the same way other newTLD initiatives such as the dotAfrica campaign by DotConnectAfrica, the dotgreen campaign, the dotberlin campaign by dotBerlin GmbH & Co. KG, the dotnyc by DotNYC LLC, dotirish by DotIrish LLC have been busy doing outreach to their respective communities.

Which brings to the fore the question: is the initiative dead? The website has never been constructed(Coming Soon for the last one year!!) to communicate the mission and vision of the organization and initiative to the Zulu people; there is no social media presence or any Press releases. This perhaps was an initiative that was ahead of its time. Also, did TLDH approach the Zulu nation on possibility of collaboration in launching the newTLD or did the Zulu nation approach TLDH to help it secure .zulu? I do not want to speculate but either way something must have gone sour and the Zulus will ot be seeing a newTLD soon.

There are between 10-11 million Zulus spread across South Africa and the Southern African countries and they are as proud as the morning about their culture and history, having had the most powerful state and military organization in the 19th Century Africa. President Zuma is also a Zulu. A well marketed dotzulu will certainly resonate with many Zulus but is there market for domains amongst the Zulus? How many Zulus have access to the internet and broadband services? I was thinking that may be the Provincial authorities in Kwa Zulu Natal should have been more interested in launching a Zulu TLD to market the province they are so proud of to Africa and the rest of the world.

I like the idea of the community(ethnic) and city new gTLDs such as .zulu across Africa but launching ICANN's newTLDs costs a fortune at $185,000. If the cost can be reduced to $47,000 for developing countries perhaps initiatives like .zulu .ibo and even .cape .nairobi will become certain reality.  A friend has however told me that instead of repartitioning Africa for the second time, we can just have a Pan-African newTLD:dotafrica.

 
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