Monday, June 25, 2012

.Ummah(dotUmmah) The New gTLD Application from Gambia

I sort of got curious about the new gTLD application from Gambia for a few reasons. For one, Gambia is a relatively small African nation with a population of just 1.7 million but with a vibrant internet community including ISOC Society and IGFs. You are likely to find a lot of Gambians active in global internet circles, key amongst them was the former ICANN Board member Katim Touray who is also spearheading this new gTLD application.

So what is .Ummah all about?
Ummah  is a term more familiar to Muslims and can loosely be translated to an Islamic Commonwealth. In "Christianspeak", it would refer to "Christendom". This new gTLD application is therefore targeted at the entire Muslim Commonwealth, or Muslim nations with population totaling 1.6 billion. A gTLD for 1.6 billion people is definitely something. According to the dotUmmah ICANN Application:

The .ummah gTLD will finally provide Muslims and Islamic organizations a means to translate to the Internet, the Muslim identity that has been used since the birth of Islam about 1,400 years ago.  Beyond that, .ummah will also provide a much-needed choice that will help them build their sense of community, and build bridges between the Islamic and non-Islamic world.  Internet users will thus be able to find Islamic organizations, institutions, government agencies, businesses much easier with .ummah than without it.  In the same vein, non-Islamic entities will find .ummah domain names an effective route to reaching their target audiences in the Islamic world.

Ummah Registry will use  COCCA Registry Services as its Registry backend services provider and the application is Standard.  There is another application for .Islam(dotIslam) by a Turkish Applicant that targets the same demographic.

With  Africa's internet giants such as Nigeria, Kenya, Morocco, Uganda, Tunisia, Algeria not adequately represented in this new gTLD round, Gambia has certainly done well. The poor representation of Africa is a bit disappointing given that opportunities like Applicant Support Programs which could have supported a myriad of African new gTLD applications have gone to waste. Anyway, good luck to Katim and team.

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