The application for an exclusive Internet namespace for Durban (under the dotDurban domain) has passed the initial evaluation phase of the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN).
This is according to the .ZA Domain Name Authority (ZADNA) which explained that in the initial evaluation phase, ICANN wanted to determine if the applicant possessed the required financial and technical ability to operate an Internet TLD (Top Level Domain).
According to ZADNA, this development is significant because it means the application has overcome the main evaluation hurdles.
“This makes it likely that we will see URLs ending with .durban, such as tourism.durban and police.durban by year end,” ZADNA said.
The dotDurban TLD project is one of the recent collaboration efforts between ZADNA, ZA Central Registry (ZACR), and the Department of Communications (DoC). Other collaborations include the dotCapeTown and dotJoburg TLDs.
Funding comes from ZACR using revenue generated over time from co.za operations and other investments, ZADNA said.
ZADNA explained that the dotDurban application was ranked ahead of the dotCapeTown and dotJoburg applications when ICANN decided to use a lottery to prioritise the over 1,300 TLD applications it received last year.
The successful evaluation of dotDurban, ZADNA said, means that the ZACR and its partners can confidently expect the dotCapeTown and dotJoburg applications to pass the initial evaluation stage as well.
“The three TLDs are intended to complement the .ZA namespace by making it possible for businesses and people identifying with the three cities to register names carrying the cities’ names,” ZADNA said.
As custodians of their cities’ names, ZADNA said that the relevant metro municipalities will receive priority when it comes to registering names for their entities and programs.
“Expect to see URLs such as police.durban, rates.capetown and pikitup.joburg,” ZADNA said.
Provincial and national governments will be given an opportunity to reserve their names and names of national heritage in the three TLDs before the general public is allowed to register names on first-come, first-served basis, ZADNA said.
These names will form part of a reserved name list which is an important requirement by ICANN for the new TLDs.
ICANN has also tried to ensure that the new TLDs prevent intellectual property and trademark abuse by allowing trademark owners an opportunity to register their trademarks in a database that will be used by TLD operators to ensure that names that are applied for do not infringe in trademarks.
According to ZADNA, preparations for the launch of the three city TLDs are well underway with ZADNA and ZACR planning to hold a joint policy and project workshop with the three cities on 31 May 2013.
The workshop is meant to give detailed feedback and to outline launch plans for the three city TLDs.
This will be followed by a consultation with national and provincial governments to prepare them to reserve their names in the TLDs. All the three TLDs are expected to be launched before 2013.