The DotConnectAfrica (DCA), one of the orgnisations that have expressed interest to implement and manage “.africa” gTLD, has opposed plans to include “DotAfrica,” “DotAfrique” and “DotAfriqiya” top level internet doamins in the List of Reserved Names, a move that would make the strings unvailable during the ICANN’s new gTLD application process in February 2012.
In a commentary posted on the DCA website in reaction to an article published in ComputerWorld Kenya, DCA states that: “The proposal to include DotAfrica gTLD in the List of Reserved Names is a tactic to make this string and similar strings in any language to be unavailable in this ICANN gTLD round so as to give special legislative protection that will benefit the AU, and give it extraordinary powers to separately negotiate and delegate these names outside the ICANN programme.”
The DCA post in reaction to the article which DCA claims creates makes the impression that “the ministerial meeting agreed that the .africa gTLD should be reserved” which means“that organizations that want to bid to manage it must be sanctioned by the AU” and that “ICANN’s new gTLD application process provides for countries and regions with interest in certain names to reserve them.”
DCA further states that even though it was opposed to the the draft resolution, the final resolution was later adopted without any regard for dissenting viewpoints by the Experts Meeting of the African Ministerial Round-Table.
“Therefore, it must be noted that the official request contained in the communiqué still has to be reviewed by the ICANN Board, the only relevant authority that has the power to approve or deny the request to include DotAfrica in the List of Reserved Names,” notes the post.
“The current name strings in the
List that are in the approved version of the ICANN new gTLD Applicant Guidebook does not include DotAfrica, and any approval of this extraordinary request by the AU will necessitate an amendment to relevant sections of ICANN’s New Applicant’s Guidebook,” notes DCA.
The DCA post further states the move to include the strings in the list of reserved names “is an invidious plan that would make DotAfrica unavailable to other applicants simply based on a special legislative protection that will create an anti-competitive situation and unfairness.”
Noting that it is is “quite problematic to change the rules very late in the game,” DCA adds that correnbtly the only the names for the Olympic movement and the International Red Cross movement are the only gTLD strings ineligible for delegation during this initial application round.
“The DotAfrica name string is not at risk, and as such could be applied for under the open and transparent new gTLD programme of ICANN. Our belief is that those who have advocated for the inclusion of DotAfrica in the List of Reserved Names are only doing so to enable them bypass the ICANN process, and obtain the mandate for DotAfrica through a separate process negotiated directly with the African Union,” states DCA, adding that proponents of “this approach lack the confidence to apply directly at ICANN and are only hoping that the AU will assist them in their illegitimate agenda to hijack DotAfrica.”