The .ZA Domain Name Authority ( ZADNA) says it is embarking on an awareness campaign to educate many South Africans about the importance to use a local domain to register their websites.
.ZADNA’s mandate is to administer, regulate and issue domain licenses in terms of the Electronic Communications Act.
Earlier this week, Communications and Digital Technologies Minister, Stella Ndabeni- Abrahams, urged Parliamentarians to encourage South African Companies and organisation to register under their local domain saying it will boost the economy.
She said,”Members I know most of you have your private email addresses and most of you love .Com. We want to plead with yourselves to ensure that the monies that we spent in this country get to be spent here and contribute to the GDP when we talk about the politics or the economics of the domain registration, your e-mail addresses. Because you want data to fall, government must incentivise, we must do this, but we take all this money outside South Africa and we come and complain about the lack of development of the sector. We complain about jobs that are not there but the monies how (do we) we spend (it) ?. You have read ,- ok at least now it has been resolved,- the Trump/Huawei issue. Can you imagine Whip, one day if Trump says, I am withdrawing Microsoft and Google from all other countries, what would happen to South Africa?)”.
ZADNA says just over 1-point 2 million domains are registered under .ZA.
“I must admit that there is lack of awareness on the .ZA name space, because currently the population of South Africa is 58 million and we only have one million-220 domains that are registered under Dot ZA. So if we do more in terms of registering and educating people on the importance of the .ZA (dot ZA) name space, we will find our economy going much better and improving people’s lives. At .ZADNA we are embarking on an awareness campaign. We already started in Limpopo. We will be going to Mpumalanga and we are going to North West soon. We intending to cover the entire country on educating people on the importance of .ZA,” says .ZADNA’s Acting CEO, Peter Madavhu.
An Independent Analyst & Researcher on ICT Policy and Regulation, Charley Lewis says the only way for South Africa to create wealth and generate income through the internet, is to encourage more South Africans to use the web. He says registering more companies and organisations under the local .ZA domain won’t generate enormous income for the economy because it’s annual fees that are generated. Lewis says it’s the internet usage traffic volume that counts.
He adds,” The daily use of such websites generates traffic. And it’s the traffic that generates the revenue. So, whether you are using the .com domain or a .co.za domain makes very little difference in terms of income and traffic generation in South Africa. Using local domain names or international domain names generate traffic and the traffic is what brings the income to the internet service provider and has a positive impact on the economy. So really, if you want to use the internet to generate income and create wealth and provide jobs, we need to strengthen and encourage people to use the internet. The difference between .co.za and .com is relatively minor and relatively immaterial in that particular case.
He says the use of local domains names are more linked to national identity.
“Encouraging people to use local domain names .co.za..org.za and the like, is to some extent a matter of national pride. It’s also closely linked to our marketing intentions as an organisation. First, it’s important just to note that very-very few people have a proper understanding of how the domain registration naming conventions work. Most people assume that .co.za is the only available umbrella unto which to register a website in South Africa. Very few people understand that .co.za is specifically for profit making entities. Occasionally, you get trade unions for example, – when I was at COSATU, one of the trade unions registered their website as a .co.za domain name and I could never understand why because they are a trade union and not a profit making entity. Very few people understand the distinction between .co.za and .org.za, .ac.za and the like .”
Lewis says marketing is also critically important when it comes to the choice of domain names. He says people who register websites need to understand what their marketing intentions are.
“If your audience is South African, if you are a commercial company, particularly targeting South African consumers, surely a .co.za is critically important for you. If on the other hand you are an international company seeking to generate revenue from clients all around the word, a .com name registration may well be much more appropriate for you. So, I think there is a very important marketing consideration that organisations, entities and companies need to bear in mind when they choose their domain name. There are also a number of domain names that do not have the .za suffix,- for example .capetown, .durban, .joburg. And in my own particular case, I have a website registered under .africa and that’s because a lot of my work involves countries elsewhere in Africa.”