With user affordability in mind, DCA Trust proposed the sum of US$10.00 as the registration cost per standard domain name in the new .Africa gTLD extension.
In addition, DCA Trust also provided the hefty sum of US$300,000.00 (Three Hundred Thousand United States of America Dollars) as a financial guarantee for the mandatory Registry Continued Operations Instrument (COI) required by ICANN to ensure user and registrant protection in the event of registry business failure. The Registry COI amount would be utilized to enable ICANN safely transition the operation of the .Africa gTLD registry to an approved Emergency Back-End Registry Operator (EBERO) thus ensuring uninterrupted registry services for users and registrants.
In comparison however, the published parts of UniForum’s application shows that this competing bid for the management and administration of the .Africa new gTLD that was submitted by UniForum ZA Central Registry features an unreasonably high domain name registration price of US$18.00 per standard domain name.
Whilst DCA Trust evidently based its domain name pricing criteria on affordability, UniForum on the other hand could be almost accused of inexcusable profiteering based on its exorbitant US$18.00 unit domain name registration price.
Even so, UniForum’s COI amount of US$140,000.00 is far lower than DCA’s more robust US$300,000.00 for the Registry Continued Operations Instrument (COI). One thing is rather patent and helps to contrast the financial details of the two competing applications:
UniForum’s financial plan is evidently to the serious disadvantage of users who shall be forced against their will to pay a higher domain name registration fee without making any adequate provisions to put in place a sufficiently large Registry COI amount to protect users and registrants from the risk of registry business failure.
Benefit of DCA Approach
DCA’s principal objective is that all projected cost benefits in terms of affordable domain name pricing should directly accrue to users and registrants of the .Africa new gTLD; and that all users and registrants should benefit from more easily affordable domain names that are optimally priced, and registration fees should be comparable to the global price of existing gTLD domain names in such extensions like .com, .org, and .net which are typically priced at US$9.99 or less from global resellers of gTLD domain names.
DCA’s domain pricing approach is therefore in line with the global standard with a view to ensuring that Africans and other prospective global users of .Africa can afford these domain names.
The competing application by UniForum which proposes US$18.00 as the registration cost per standard domain name will put .Africa domain names out of the reach of ordinary Africans, against the backdrop that Africa has many low-income economies. In the UniForum ZA Central Registry application for the .Africa new gTLD, they have unequivocally stated that “Initial registration fees are estimated to be in the region of US$18 per year.”
This is why DCA Trust is quite alarmed, and is viewing with great concern, the intention of UniForum to revise its quoted domain name registration price downwards to US$10.00. Recent reports in the media by somebody who is associated with the UniForum application quoted him saying: “we are working on a table of 10 to 18 dollars” (Please see http://www.agenceecofin.com/
However, the above statement which purports that they are working on a “table of 10 to 18 dollars” clearly shows that UniForum is probably considering a downward revision to their stated domain name registration fees in order for it to be more competitive.
This is similar to an international competitive bid (ICB) situation whereby a bidder with an outrageously high commodity price attempts to reduce its quoted prices after all submitted bids have been opened and bid prices announced, simply to bring its prices closer to the lower bid amount of another competitor. DCA Trust believes that this is clearly against the rules of fair competition.
Since new gTLD bids are currently under evaluation, DCA Trust expects that the ICANN Financial Evaluation will not allow the modification of the unit domain name registration price stated in the financial bids submitted by a .Africa gTLD applicant such as UniForum ZA Central Registry.
DCA Trust hereby reiterates its unwavering commitment to the global Internet and African community of prospective users and registrants of the new .Africa gTLD that domain names in the .Africa extension will be quite affordable, and that we have put the interests of users and registrants first by providing ample financial guarantees in line with ICANN recommended guidelines to help mitigate any risks of registry business failure.
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