Friday, December 30, 2011

Tanzania expands its Second Level Domain Namespace

Tanzania will be expanding its second level domain namespace from 7 to 12 by introducing 5 new second level domain names(SLDs) in 2012 namely:

hotel.tz for Hotels in Tanzania for example www.serena.hotel.tz
mobi.tz for Mobile and mobile applications websites for example www.apps.mobi.tz
tv.tz for Multimedia and Television Stations. for example www.ea.tv.tz
info.tz for informational websites for example www.airlines.info.tz www.flights.info.tz
me.tz for personal branding and personalized online profiles such s blogs, photo websites, resume websites for example www.ali.me.tz www.hussein.me.tz

Existing SLDs include .go.tz  .ac.tz  .mil.tz  .co.tz  .or.tz .ne.tz .sc.tz

 I agree with the blogger at ccTLD Community that the solution to Africa's ccTLD domain problem is not to expand your TLD's second level domain namespace. A second level domain like hotel.tz should have been registered by an individual user and not made an entire SLD namespace under the management of the registry.

 I had this discussion recently on Facebook with someone from KENIC who said that allowing second level domains such as .net.ccTLD .or.ccTLD .me.ccTLD creates variety/diversity in the namespace. While this might be true, the overwhelming majority of internet users love to register domains in the second level! A look at the performance of some of KENIC's second level domains drives this point home very emphatically:

.mobi.ke 19 domains (10 of these probably registered by KENIC staff :) )
.ne.ke     29 domains
.info.ke   54 domains
.me.ke    551 domains

All these second level domains are unrestricted and the total number of domain registrations for the above is a paltry  653 domains over the years. So TZNIC should extrapolate these figures to Tanzania and they can get a clear idea of the number of domain registrations they will expect in the next two years.

Users want short and "nifty". Allow domain registrations in the second level and then make the pricing reasonable. This is from a consumer's point of view, and I believe I speak for many consumers as I have interacted with many of them.

Another thing, once the registry gets into the habit of creating second level domain namespaces, it becomes hard to transition to second level domain registrations as volume increases. The reason for this is that thousands of  established brands have already registered domains in the third level under the existing SLD namespaces, so when one day tzNIC changes its policy to allow registration in the second level, it will face stiff push-back from established brands as it will be forcing these brands to defensively register domains they had registered in the third level in the second level which will be quite costly. A country like South Africa with over 700,000 domains registered under its various SLD namespaces is probably "beyond salvation"; unless they will allow brands with existing marks registered as third level domains to acquire their marks for free, if(at all) they allow registrations in the second level some day.

.ME.KE Promo Smashing Success!!!

On a positive and ironic note(ironic because I have dedicated the whole post to bashing SLD namespaces), it appears KENIC's December Promotion for the .me.ke second level domain has yielded fantastic results. Just over a month ago, there were 241 .me.ke domains in the .ke namespace. The number is now 551, an addition of 310 domains in one month. Promotions work and registries should be prepared to undertake domain promotions at during certain periods of the year. Consumers love Promos and Special Offers :)

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