Looming Pre-Delegation Price Wars, the interesting Journey of DotAfrica

Since the late 2010 there has been different aspersions cast on DotAfrica a domain that has got to be one of the most interesting domains ever applied for in the ICANN new gTLD series, I personally think it’s one of my most watched domains.

From its origins, it has been a duel between two groups with one seemingly copying right after the other, Its interesting because even an attempt to write the history of DotAfrica was in itself a quest that took a different tangent, with every side claiming a stake, DotConnectAfrica saying that it practically resuscitated the project after a previous attempt to do it by a DotAfrica group went silent.

The most recent fight is on the final prices that would be allocated the domains once ICANN has delegated them to the winning registry perhaps late 2013 or thereabout. Uniforum Otherwise trading as ZACR did put their initial price at 18 USD per registered domain, From their announcement (.africa domain names almost here for US $18 (Ksh1, 500))during their launch, they put the most minimal price at 18 USD.

DotConnectAfrica on the other side worked on a price of 10 USD from the very beginning and even budgeted and did their proposal based on the same value, in their application saying that it would benefit registrants in Africa and compete favorably with other domains like the .com or .org.

However in a recent announcement (10 dollars pour acquérir le dotAfrica à partir de 2013) by Uniforum, they has reaffirmed they are going to work on a range of 10 USD to 18 USD, a move that was loudly read by DotConnectAfrica as a mimicry and sabotage , in their latest press release, DCA said in part “This is similar to an international competitive bid (ICB) situation whereby a bidder with an outrageously high commodity price attempts to reduce its quoted prices after all submitted bids have been opened and bid prices announced, simply to bring its prices closer to the lower bid amount of another competitor. DCA Trust believes that this is clearly against the rules of fair competition. 

This move is likely to stoke more animosity between the two .Africa applicants; Uniforum clearly must have taken the new move re-announcing their unit price range to counter the successful bid that is anticipated by DCA.

What Does this read for Africa:

Competition is important and especially during this stage, even as the applications undergo evaluations, DCA has said “This is why DCA Trust is quite alarmed, and is viewing with great concern, the intention of UniForum to revise its quoted domain name registration price downwards to US$10.00.”  Meaning that they certainly take this seriously.

The frequent changes that Uniforum have shown are perhaps consistent with the way they have shown us their different faces including Uniforum trading as “ZACR”,  or “Registry.Africa” or the previous use of “ARC” , and others that have since been set aside.

We in the industry will continue to watch the developments and sincerely hope that African Internet community will benefit from the .africa domain and certainly at a lower pricing.

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