The new second-level .za domain policy draft

The ZA Domain Name Authority (ZADNA) recently issued new drafts of its general second-level domain policy, and second-level registrations policy for comment.

The amendments clarify that the general policy for second-level domains applies to third-level registrations.

For example, ufs.ac.za is a third-level registration under the ac.za second-level domain. Similarly, mybroadband.co.za is a third-level registration in co.za.

ZADNA also amended its general policy to open the possibility of second-level registrations (e.g. piz.za), which will be subject to the separate second-level registrations policy it released for public comment.

The key amendment ZADNA made to its second-level registrations (SLR) policy was around dealing with conflicting third-level registrations (3LR).

This is when a name is registered in more than one second-level domain (SLD), such as myname.co.za and myname.org.za.

However, when new second-level registrations become possible, it is conceivable that conflicts may occur on the new second-level domains that are created.

Conflicting third-level registrations

Let’s say a new SLD comes online – blog.za. If you own myname.co.za, and someone else registers myname.blog.za, the conflict resolution policy will kick in to resolve the issue.

Currently, the policy is worded to resolve conflicts by auction, though ZADNA reserves the right to use any other process that it considers to be feasible.

ZADNA also highlighted an alternative approach it may adopt.

“In the received submissions to the SLR Public Discussion Document, there was a split of view between resolving conflicts through giving preference to co.za third-level registrations, versus simply using auction,” said ZADNA.

“In reality, co.za 3LRs account for around 97% of the total .za 3LRs, which means that the likelihood of conflict between 3LRs is limited to the remaining 3%. It is unlikely to be too difficult, then, to use auction to resolve conflicts for the remaining 3%,” said ZADNA.

“Where there is an SLR that matches a 3LR that registered in different SLDs by different registrants, preference for the matching SLR shall be given to the matching 3LR that is registered in the co.za SLD.”

ZADNA added that applications for SLRs that are confusingly similar to the current .za SLDs shall not be accepted.

ZADNA said it will also recognise the rights of existing domain registrants, in terms of a domain name matching an existing 3LR in an SLD.

“ZADNA shall notify, in writing, the registrants of 3LRs for whom matching SLRs have been reserved.”

ZA Central Registry responds

The ZA Central Registry (ZACR), which manages various second-level .za domains, said it will definitely respond to ZADNA’s call for public comment.

“The SLR Policy – an entirely new policy – read with the National Integrated ICT White Paper may have a drastic effect on the way in which domain name administration takes place,” it said.

It noted that the .za General Charter provides the basic framework and guidelines against which the current .za 3LRs are administered by the ZACR.

“ZACR NPC is currently assessing the impact of the proposed changes and is unable to comment in detail until such time as this internal evaluation process has been completed,” the organisation said.

ZADNA has set the deadline to comment on the policies for today, 12 July 2018.

The ZACR told MyBroadband that a longer public comment period would have been better.

Now read: Second level .za domain names – Really bad timing

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The new second-level .za domain policy draft