DotAfricanism: Dissecting the Future

June 2011, historic Singapore meeting concludes after significant advances to the internet’s naming system.  The greatest announcement being that ICANN the internet body on 20th approves historic change to the internet’s domain naming system. This breaking news now means that dotafrica and many other new generic TLD’s can now get underway preparing and sprucing up their applications awaiting January 2012: the year when  applications from bidding organizations shall be expected to make real their desire to own a domain name. Currently, there are 22 generic top-level domains, including .com, .org and .net.
Just recently the addressing systems are switching to the longer inexhaustible IPV6 after the long serving IPv4 regime ages away…and what a better time for applicants to indulge than now when all systems read “GO”. Taking a moment to analyze just what it takes for one to shop for a gTLD:
  • A whooping  $185,000
  • A well written EOI
  • Prepare your infrastructure in readiness.
But before we start imagining the 2012 .Africa future, let’s get something’s straight up!
1.      Bottom up approach:
If your father was a politician it is easy to create a monarchy of sorts, the “Top Down” formula, sadly though the current world is unknowingly going for performers who have taken the long route, those who have experienced rather than heard the “bottom up” approach. Dotafrica in the recent days being a possible successful candidate for addition to the existing 22 gTLD’s is becoming a pet project and two organizations are working towards becoming the custodians of this continental brand.
Africa and certainly other continents have had brilliantly hot projects that would otherwise have yielded prosperity quickly ram to oblivion due to them being handled by individuals of questionable character and past, the major indicator being previous employees of failed regimes who  made good the word “bad governance” the people who want to implement the top-bottom short-cut.
Dotafrica being a so important subject and pet project must be allowed to go full circle , with its foundations formed on sustainable ,non-politicized and non-profit grounds, this way it will benefit you and me.
  1. Extra domain or not
I bet many analysts and critics who mean good for the upcoming gTLD’s would quickly want to dismiss them as excesses of ICANN forums, a closer sober look though will not categorize them and more importantly .africa as an extra gTLD rather it is a necessary domain that is not a substitute or option but an entity that will need its own space and niche.
.africa will be a standalone brand that will give new impetus to the African continent whose wealthy belly is grossly unexploited. Our patent systems are weak and .africa comes in as a free way to let African products be African.
  1. Take up
Having talked about .africa not being equated to an extra domain, it’s important to notice that it will come as a gTLD that will have an upper hand and that organizations and individuals will register their domain in Africa and point all other domains to it as the main address. Other advantages include curbing cyber squatters who have spent enough time clinging and taking up space and thus getting a revenue out of online users who are not keen. It will take enough marketing and information for enough people to see the advantage of owning a .africa domain meaning the winner of this bid must not be seen to be quick to expect billions in revenue and equate it to a money making venture but be patient to set up sustainable infrastructure that will be able to handle all the growth phases and stomach all challenges without quickly diminishing or faltering otherwise all these efforts will be vanity.

By Gideon Rop