ISP Association of South Africa wary of proposed regulations for ‘.za’ domain

The Internet Service Providers Association of South Africa (ISPA) said the project.ZA Registry and Registrar License Regulations and Procedures proposed by the .ZA Domain Names Regulatory Authority (.ZADNA) impose binding restrictions on registrars and domain name holders.

One of these proposed regulations is that registrars will be required to collect identifying information from those wishing to register a .za address. For ISPA, this requirement will result in additional costs for registrars and, therefore, higher retail prices for .za domains, which will deter new customers from registering or renewing domains.

In A declarationthe association further stated that the requirements set out in the proposed regulations would lead trademark owners to abandon the Internet country code .za in favor of one of several generic domains such as .com or .business which are more easy to register.

“The proposed .ZADNA Rules and Procedures, as they currently stand, threaten to undo 34 years of local and international goodwill toward domains ending in .za. The regulations are heavy and cumbersome and as such will discourage the adoption of .za registrations,” said william stickeChairman of the ISPA Domain Name Working Group.

ISPA acknowledged that prior to the draft regulations, the .za namespace had been so well managed by .ZADNA and the ZA Central Registry (ZACR) that the number of registered .za domains has grown from just 400 addresses 3 decades ago to nearly 1.4 million today. However, she pointed out that this project could undo progress.

“A positive growth trajectory will be maintained as long as the .ZA goodwill that has been earned over the years is not destroyed by top-down approaches to domain administration that only serve to sweep away past progress as domain owners and others are moving to more stable platforms that don’t unnecessarily alter what works,” Stucke added.

ISPA believes that for regulation to continue to contribute to the success of the .za namespace, the project needs to be reworked based on a comprehensive understanding of the domain name ecosystem.

ISPA formalities submission to .ZADNA is one of more than 130 received by ZADNA in response to the Draft Rules and Procedures.

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