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Breaking News: dotAfrica Launch pending ICANN approval, tentative date 4 April, 2017 for Sunrise

Overview of the ZACR's Structures and Mechanisms for Mark Validation and Sunrise relating to its new Geo TLD Applications.

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WHAT WERE THE BIG CHALLENGES REGARDING THE "POLICY-MAKING-PROCESS"?
Fortunately, being the the administrator for the largest second level domain in .ZA for the past 18 years, we (ZACR) have developed a good capacity to generate and maintain registry related policy. However, for dotAfrica, we had to bring onboard members of the Africa DNS community in the policy development process. In order to achieve this we have established a sub-committee of our existing dotAfrica Steering Committee to assume the role of policy oversight. On a practical level we have successfully balanced the need for clear operational policies development in collaboration with the broader community via the Policy Oversight Committee.
 
WHAT ARE THE KEY  POINTS OF THE .AFRICA POLICY?
One of the key policy issues focuses on the launch phase of our application. We have elected to implement a special launch program that sees applications for sunrise and land rush names occurring in parallel, but allocations (delegations) occurring to a priority scoring matrix. The highest priority scoring will be awarded to trade marks registered in an African jurisdiction. Another unique policy element is the introduction of a localised mark validation system (MVS) to pre-valdiate priority rights, including unregistered trade marks and company names.

 

THE AFRICAN INTERNET LANDSCAPE IS ABOUT TO GET A DRAMATIC MAKEOVER!

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Frequently Asked Questions

Ask your Domain Registrar or ISP about dotAfrica domain registrations. You may wish to participate in Sunrise if you have any rights to the name. Find a dotAfrica Domain Registrar here.

For the latest status updates, please visit dotafrica.org.

The .africa TLD will be launched in two phases, namely:

  • Sunrise and Landrush. For the Sunrise phase, trademark & brand names will be the priority. Landrush applications are usually for premium or sought-after domain names.
  • General Availability: This is the general open registration and continuous operations phase.

If you are a trademark holder ICANN prescribes a process, which we as the Registry Operator need to follow to ensure that genuine trademarks are protected and sold to the valid entity. The trademark holder will need to register their trademarks with the ICANN Trademark Clearing House or the Mark Validation System.

This will depend on individual Registrar pricing, in which launch phase you register the domain and if the domain is a premium name or not.

There are various protection mechanisms and policies, which the Registry Operator needs to adhere to and we are also bound by ICANN to make these policies part of our operations.

The various policies include:

  • Rights Protection Policies
  • Dispute Resolutions
  • Sunrise Policy
  • Landrush Policies, etc

See the Policy menu item above for more information.

Pre-registration .africa domain names will not be possible. Any application submitted during the dotAfrica Sunrise phase must have a corresponding validation token (SMD) in order to obtain the highest possible priority allocation.

If an applicant wants to secure the best possible claim to a domain name application during the launch, it must be associated with a pre-validated trade mark in either the TMCH or MVS. Without this a claim to the corresponding domain name is relegated to lesser priority status. The official way in which you can best secure your rights to a name in the new .africa namespace would be through the pre-validation of a registered mark.

See the MVS at www.markvalidation.com for more information.

For more detailed information on the launch program with the anticipated timelines, click here. If you have any rights to the .africa domain/s name you want, you should apply during Sunrise.

dotAfrica is the new Top Level Domain (TLD) for the African continent: It is an African initiative created by Africans for Africans and the worldwide audience of companies, organisations and individuals interested in, associated with and connected with the African community and markets.

The dotAfrica initiative is fully endorsed by the African Union (AU) and has widespread support across the continent - from African governments, the business sector, civil society and the technical community. dotAfrica is led by a multi-stakeholder Steering Committee from across the continent.

Benefits of a dotAfrica TLD

  • Identify with the continent.
  • Showcase your brand and commitment to Africa's growth and development.
  • Expand your footprint and influence in the region.
  • Establish a home for Africa-specific services, products and information.
  • Acquire valuable online reale-state in a fast-growing high potential market.
  • Secure and protect your Intellectual Proerty Rights (IP).
  • Participate in Africa's online renaissance.