"It speaks volumes that CO.ZA has powered over the 1.25 million-mark during the current lockdown. Anecdotal evidence suggests that South Africans are increasingly snapping up domains to help them launch businesses, pursue creative and study endeavours, secure their digital identities and generally become much more active online," says Lucky Masilela, ZACR CEO.
ZACR says that new domain name registration by SMMEs (small, medium and micro enterprises), in particular, has picked up significantly since late March, with many new CO.ZA registrations since lockdown by small business owners.
The CO.ZA second-level domain now accounts for just over 95% of all domain name registrations within the .ZA country code Top Level Domain (ccTLD).
Masilela attributes South Africa's growing domain name sector to key decisions taken during the tenure of the late communications minister, Dr Ivy Matsepe-Casaburri when she spearheaded the adoption of the 'Triple R' domain name management model. The model is based on a clear separation of roles and responsibilities according to registry / registrar / regulator in the local domain name space.
"We now see an authority, a registry operator and channel partners in the form of registrars," says Masilela.
"The above ultimately led to the establishment in 2012 of the ZACR as the Central Registry, envisaged by the late minister and responsible for the management, growth and technical wellbeing of South Africa's entire presence on the worldwide web," adds Masilela.
According to ZARC, the establishment of the Central Registry has seen exponential domain name growth. By replacing the legacy email-based domain name registration system with a new domain name registration platform, based on Extensible Provisioning Protocol, ZACR was able to build on earlier achievements.
This was especially true in terms of local DNS stability, resilience and security, and add a quarter-million domains to the CO.ZA tally within five years.
"Our current model championed by the late minister is one of the reasons South Africa boasts the highest number of domain name registrations, coupled with the lowest domain name operating and registration costs on the continent — even within the current framework of an inflationary-based wholesale fee adjustment request," says Masilela.
"Significant benefits have already been unlocked by using a local player and home-grown technology to establish a South African-based central registry. We're confident that the benefits of enabling the authority to interface with a single, local player rooted in African excellence will increasingly be felt as the central registry takes CO.ZA and the other managed second-level domains to even greater heights," concludes Masilela.
For more information, visit www.registry.net.za