Domain Name Registrars hoping to attain the new .africa gTLD (geographic Top Level Domain) will have to adhere to three requirements before they will be allowed to submit a domain name application during the waning Sunrise Period.
The Sunrise Period running from 4th April, 2017 – 2nd June, 2017 allows trademark owners to secure domain names matching their registered trademarks before .africa is made available to the public during the General Availability Phase from 4th July, 2017 where domain names are allocated on a first-come-first-served basis. A Trade Mark Clearing House (TMCH) however must first validate the registered trademarks.
According to Lucky Masilela; CEO of ZA Central Registry, the Sunrise Phase is technically different from the General Availability Phase during the launch plan of a new domain name space.
“During the Sunrise Phase, domain names are allocated in terms of a limited rights protection process and not on a first-come, first-served basis. This is intended to provide priority protection to established and verifiable brands,” she said in a press statement.
Domain Name Registrars are the customer-facing entities through which the public typically purchases domain names.
Below are the three (3) requirements domain name registrars have to meet:
- They need to be ICANN (Internet Corporation for Assigned Names & Numbers) accredited, i.e., be able to provide the Registry with an official registration number issued by IANA (Internet Assigned Numbers Authority).
- Domain Name Registrars have to integrate with the .africa Registry System and this means either completing the on-boarding process from scratch or activating their ability to provision .africa domain names within their current account held with the Registry. Part of this process requires ICANN Accredited Registrars to accept the .africa Terms and Conditions applicable to RaRs.
- Finally, in order to actually submit a valid Sunrise Application, Domain Name Registrars will most likely need to engage with the Trademark Clearing House and/or the Mark Validation System. This is to ensure that Sunrise Applications submitted to the Registry actually correspond to a validated trademark right.
.Africa is the new top-level domain for the African continent. It is an African initiative created by Africans for the international Internet Community in order to ensure responsible growth.