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DNS: .com price hike looms

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DNS: .com price hike looms

Raises hope for .ng

 

Barring any last minute change, Nigerians who have preference for the popular United States-owned domain name, .com, will be paying more for its registration from December this year, New Telegraph has learnt.

This became clear as Verisign, the company granted exclusive rights to issue .com domains has started negotiations with the U.S. Department of Commerce’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) for an increment as the current price cap agreement expires on November 30.

This may, however, shift Nigerians’ attention back to the country’s top level domain name, .ng, which was hitherto considered expensive.

Over 90 per cent of Nigerian websites are registered with the .com domain name as many shun the .ng on the basis of being local and costly.

As at August this year, Nigeria’s domain name had recorded a paltry 125,814 active registrations and, according to Nigeria Internet Registration Association (NiRA), some were registered by foreigners.
Web owners in Nigeria often blame their choice of domain name on the web developers.

According to them, the developers always advise them to go for .com with the notion that using the .ng would mean they want to localise their business. It is also believed that the cost of registering the Nigeria domain name is higher than that of the U.S.

Verisign, a public company with a market capitalisation of over $19 billion, currently administers about 134 million .com domain names.

Although the cost of running the .com registry is said to be as low as $3 per domain, Verisign charges $7.85.

Due to the dominance of .com, Verisign has no real competitive pressure on their pricing. Before the U.S. government stepped in to cap its prices in 2012, Verisign’s previous contract permitted it to raise prices seven per cent yearly and with the on-going negotiations, the prices may be raised by seven per cent or higher.

The President of NiRA, Reverend Sunday Folayan, has, however, described the reasons given by Nigerians for the preference for .com as unfounded, noting that the ccTLD assigned to each country in Domain Name System is to give national identity on the internet and it doesn’t give any sense of localisation for businesses using it.

Indeed, he said some Asians have been registering the Nigeria’s domain name for their personal and business websites because their names end in (ng) and also using the country’s .ng to customise their presence online.

On the price, Folayan said the cost of .ng was still one of the cheapest globally. However, he noted that as much as NiRA would want to popularise the domain name, it would also ensure sustainability by not undervaluing the product.
He said some domain names on .ng are as cheap as N500, while some of premium value are sold for as high as N600, 000.

A domain name is an identification string that defines a realm of administrative autonomy, authority or control within the Internet.

 

The right to use a domain name is delegated by domain name registrars, who are accredited by the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), the international organisation charged with overseeing the name and number systems of the Internet.
Speaking on the value of  the country’s domain name, the Dean of NiRA Academy, Mr Sikiru Shehu, said Nigerians stand to gain a lot if they embrace the country’s ccTLD.

 

According to him, the preference for foreign domain names is already denying the country of revenue it could have got from selling its own and Nigerians are putting more pressure on the forex situation with their demands for dollars to buy the domain names.
He pointed out that if well exploited, the domain name business is a huge market that could create a lot of jobs for Nigerians if embraced.

 

“We currently have 65 registrars who have been able to register 125,814 .ng domain names. Let’s assume that each of the registrar has one staff each, if you multiply 65 by two you know the number of jobs have been created. You can imagine what would happen if we have one million registration,” he said.

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