Proudly South African brands and organisations can now differentiate themselves online with the arrival of new dotCity domains for Cape Town, Joburg and Durban.
These new Generic Top Level Domains (gTLDs) are being released as part of a wider initiative by the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), which will make hundreds of new gTLDs available over the next three years. The new gTLDs are assigned in several different categories including the dotCity domains, generic terms with a broad audience (such as dotShop), and those targeting more specific communities (such as dotHotel or dotClub).
These new domains have great brand building power. They are not only unique, punchy and more memorable – but also help to build your brand personality from the get go. With a dotCity address, you can immediately associate your brand with a location, which will appeal to residents in the area as well as those who wish to travel there or do business there. In this way, you can engage your audience before they even land on your home page.
The ZA Central Registry (ZACR) has been awarded the right to operate four new geo domains, including dotCapeTown, dotDurban, dotJoburg and dotAfrica. The dotCity domains are being released in three phases. The first two – Sunrise and Landrush – started on 1 July 2014, while the third – the General Availability phase – should start in November 2014.
According to Hetzner, the Sunrise period is an opportunity for companies to claim a domain name that is related to their brand, based on a trademark or similar right. Applications will be gathered over the first 90 days and thereafter, registrations will be announced. All uncontended applications will be registered automatically, while domains with multiple applications that adhere to the trademark criteria will be allocated through an auction with ZACR.
In terms of trademark criteria, Sunrise applications must include an SMD or a VT file, obtained independently at a trademark clearinghouse. These files are unique keys which validate a trademark as authentic. This serves to protect the rights of trademark holders during the launch of the new gTLDs.
The Landrush phase offers applicants a chance to pre-register their interest in popular domain names that do not relate to their trademark and are more generic in nature (e.g. restaurants.capetown). This phase is also currently open and will run for 120 days in which applications will be gathered. Thereafter, uncontended applications will be registered and those domains with multiple applications will again be allocated through a ZACR auction.
The third phase is the General Availability period, which is due to commence on 1 November 2014. This is the open-ended phase where applicants can register the new gTLDs on a ‘first-come, first-served’ basis.
If you would like to register a new dotCity domain name, enquire about pricing options, or find out more about this exciting development – chat to us today.