[AfrICANN-discuss] ICANN to host panel in Nairobi

Mwendwa Kivuva Kivuva at transworldafrica.com
Mon Aug 25 16:42:18 SAST 2014

Let me add my two cents.

While engaging with a seasoned veteran in the industry during one of the
ICANN meeting, he asked me a very simple but provoking question. "Why can't
an African company rise to the level of Godaddy? Who said you have to limit
yourself to ccTLDs?". That my friends is a question worth reflecting on. I
compared the revenue of Godaddy (US$1.14 billion 2011) to that of Kenya's
leading telecom Safaricom ($1.428 Billion 2013). From this, you can see if
any entrepreneur invested seriously on the DNS business, they would reap
maximum benefits. The registrants at home or office are not concerned by
the location of the registry or registrar, they only need a competitive
deal, and great customer service.


Mwendwa Kivuva, Nairobi, Kenya

"There are some men who lift the age they inhabit, till all men walk on
higher ground in that lifetime." - Maxwell Anderson

On 25 August 2014 17:04, Ben Fuller <abutiben at gmail.com> wrote:

> I want to follow up on what Mark and Oluniyi add. A ccTLD in Africa has no
> excuse to NOT be automated.  There are two opensource options. A little
> RTFM and time spent asking questions on support lists can get anyone going.
> With over 50 countries in the AU, we can expect a lot of different
> policies. South Africa has the largest and most developed economy in
> Africa, so what they do may not work somewhere else. What is important,
> however, is the stability of policies. In Namibia our policies are
> basically unchanged for over 15 years. Markets, businesses and investors
> like stability and predictability.
> One thing Mark left out is the role of resellers/registrars. IIRC co.za
> has a long history of resellers. These are the operations that do the
> marketing and selling of domain names. In Namiba we have a growing list of
> registrars who also sell connectivity, web hosting, development, etc. They
> are the businesses with the store fronts and sales people who can explain
> domain names to customers, and carry out the tasks needed to register a
> name. This is a component that gets left out of discussions about the
> domain name industry in Africa.  There is too much focus on the top --
> ICANN accredited registrars -- and not enough on the underlying foundations
> of the industry in each African country.
> Ben
> On Mon, Aug 25, 2014 at 2:20 PM, Mark Elkins <mje at posix.co.za> wrote:
>> On Mon, 2014-08-25 at 02:27 -0700, SM wrote:
>> > Hi Becky,
>> > At 22:42 24-08-2014, Rebecca Wanjiku wrote:
>> > >ICANN set to host a panel that doesn't address the issues affecting
>> the region
>> >
>> > I read the following:
>> >
>> >    "First, that IANA website can be a maze."
>> >
>> > Are you referring to the ICANN or IANA web site in that comment?  I
>> > went to the web site and I found a link on the main page about the
>> "Root Zone".
>> >
>> >    "It is no contest that when it comes to tech, Africa adopts last.
>> >     That is why the domain name business is still lagging behind."
>> >
>> > A few months ago, I did a comparison of the domain cost and I found
>> > that it was six times cheaper to get a gTLD.  Wouldn't that be a
>> > better explanation about why the domain name business is still lagging
>> behind?
>> Which ccTLD and which gTLD????
>> Speaking for myself...
>> I pay R39.90 (Inc 14% VAT) for a co.za and I sell it for R70.00 inc VAT.
>> Thats via an EPP Interface. If a person comes to me, it takes about 10
>> minutes to type in the persons details. The registration time is a
>> simple button push and waiting for the EPP to work - the refresh of a
>> screen.
>> Second time around - the same person can probably get a domain in 10 or
>> so seconds (assuming the same details).
>> Even before EPP, it wasn't much slower. The E-Mail system worked pretty
>> well.
>> The current US$ to ZAR conversion rate is about 1 : 10.70 at the moment
>> - call it about R10 to the US$
>> To buy a gTLD (.COM), I'm looking at $11 a year (from OpenSRS). That's
>> before any markup/profit. So South African domains are much cheaper.
>> So in my opinion, what magic made the South Africa Domain Name business
>> work?
>> Low prices: We've always had reasonable pricing. Used to be R200... then
>> stepped down to R50. The pricing was then split down to R35.00 (+VAT)
>> for EPP accredited registrars (which cost R5000 - R6000 (or similar) for
>> accreditation) -and- R75 (inc VAT) for the e-mail based legacy system -
>> for anyone who has the technical ability to run their own Nameservers.
>> Low prices can only come with numbers if the fees collected are to pay
>> for the running of the system. Initially, we had one employee in a half
>> day job plus my (initially) voluntary time. Today, there are 35 or so
>> people. I believe a small registry (under 10,000 names) can be run by a
>> small team - maybe three people. They may not need to be full time.
>> Automation: COZA has been automated for the best part of the last 20
>> years. I know, I wrote the (legacy) code. This meant that a good idea
>> could be turned into a domain in an hour or so. Transfers and updates
>> took 24 hours. Whether via e-mail or EPP - its been automated -
>> therefore deterministic. It wasn't difficult.
>> The Organisation: has only ever spent within its means (ie - look at our
>> initial employees). The people (I'm one of them) always tried to be fair
>> and honest with respect to the business. We travelled to ICANN and other
>> associated meeting to measure ourselves against who we came across and
>> changed how we worked to better the organisation. We supported our local
>> industry and community, assisting with funding appropriate conferences,
>> etc.
>> Policy: This essentially allowed anyone to obtain a domain - whether a
>> resident or not. The same policy was applied to everyone. We do have our
>> "strange" rules (nameservers must be operational before the associated
>> domain is added to the Zone).
>> Trust & Respect: I believe we have the trust and respect of our
>> community. That is why we manage almost a million domains, that is,
>> 950000 CO.ZA Domains and other SLD's following... We might not please
>> everybody, all of the time, but the majority most of the time.
>> The Magic Mix? - a mix of all the above perhaps?
>> --
>> Mark James ELKINS  -  Posix Systems - (South) Africa
>> mje at posix.co.za       Tel: +27.128070590  Cell: +27.826010496
>> For fast, reliable, low cost Internet in ZA: https://ftth.posix.co.za
>> _______________________________________________
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> --
> **********************************************
> Dr. Ben Fuller
> abutiben at gmail.com
> ben at fuller.na                http://www.fuller.na
> blog: http://www.fuller.na/  skype: drbenfuller
> *****************************************
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