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UniForum selected for .africa gTLD app

Kevin Murphy, February 23, 2012, 17:17:15 (UTC), Domain Registries

UniForum, the South African .za domain name registry operator, has reportedly been selected to run the proposed .africa generic top-level domain.
The African Union announced the appointment today, following a December tender, according to a report on
In a sane world, the deal would sound the death-knell for DotConnectAfrica’s long-running campaign to run .africa, but DCA recently has been making noises about applying with or without AU support.
The ICANN Applicant Guidebook is pretty clear when it comes to .africa – it’s a protected geographic term that will require the support of 60% of the affected nations to be approved.
It’s less clear whether AU backing can proxy for individual letters of support from all of those nations, but it’s certainly better than no government support at all.
However, if DCA can get two African governments to object to the AU-backed bid, it might stand a chance at getting a piece of the .africa action.
DCA had a letter of support from the AU dated August 2009, but it was retracted last year. The company has spent the last several months alleging cronyism as a result.
UniForum doesn’t have the best technical reputation in the world. It has managed the .za registry since 1995 but it only switched to an automated, EPP-based shared registry system last year.
Before August 2011, registrations apparently had to be carried out via email. Let’s hope its new EPP system is up to ICANN’s exacting standards for new gTLDs.

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Comments (3)

  1. Neil says:

    Must add that UniForum’s email system (now referred to as the Legacy System) was a fully automated system that saw the CO.ZA name space grow to over 700,000 names. For a look at the latest registry website refer to

  2. Mark says:

    Yes – UniForums automated e-mail system was old fashioned.. it took me at least 120 seconds to get a new domain into the CO.ZA zone… thats from sending an e-mail in order to create the domain to being able to browse to the new web site. Last time I checked, there were about 700,000 domains – obviously characteristics of an unsucessful and technically backwards system, along with the fact its been supporting IPv6 records longer than any other ccTLD on the continent, I think from about 2007?
    There will always be the ‘odd’ person who complains. Was that your ‘technical reputation’ source?

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