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SA closes in on 1m domain names

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The ZACR wants to advance its expansion strategy of becoming an international central registry.
The ZACR wants to advance its expansion strategy of becoming an international central registry.

SA will have more than one million domain names ending in .za by the first quarter of 2015 as new Web sites maintain a steady pace in going live. This is according to Lucky Masilela, CEO of the ZA Central Registry, who was speaking at the iWeek annual Internet industry conference this week.

According to the ZACR, there are currently 969 190 registered domain names ending in .za. Masilela said: "A growing stock of registered geographic Top Level Domain (geoTLD) names is of crucial importance to modern states because of the role the Internet can play in boosting economic growth. A nation's combined intellectual property, particularly that relating to the Web, is every bit as important as its bricks and mortar infrastructure."

He said the number of registered .za domains is impressive, considering there are currently just over 60 000 registered .ng (Nigeria) domains. "Nigeria has three times the population of South Africa but less than one-tenth of the number of domain names."

Masilela added that SA's high comparative figures are a "tremendous opportunity" as the ZACR seeks to advance its expansion strategy of becoming a fully-fledged international central registry with administered domains beyond just .za.

Gaining momentum

ZACR administers co.za, org.za, web.za and net.za while the ZADotCities domains of .joburg, .capetown and .durban are set to enter the general availability phase in November when domains ending in those geoTLDs can be registered on a first come, first served basis.

The registry is also set to administer the planned .africa (dotAfrica) geoTLD once Internet regulator ICANN (the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers) overcomes certain regulatory challenges.

More than 400 local registrars are responsible for registering domains on behalf of individual Internet users as well as organisations around the world. Masilela said 15.8% of those registrars are located outside of SA, which hints at a healthy international interest in .za. Foreign registrars account for 6.8% of co.za domain name registrations (around 57 000 domain names).

Masilela noted 166 registrars are located in Gauteng, 106 in the Western Cape and 39 in KwaZulu-Natal - figures he said the ZACR would like to increase, particularly in small towns and cities. He added that 34 registrars were in Europe and 16 in North America.

According to the ZACR, of the 969 190 .za names registered, co.za accounted for 942 755 domains, while web.za, net.za, and org.za accounted for the rest.

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