The .Africa Sunrise Phase which was open only for brands finally comes to an end today and the launch now goes to the first phase of the Landrush. During the Sunrise of .africa, some 500 domain names were registered by companies. So far, I haven’t seen any .africa websites online but that could be due to the target market during the Sunrise phase. Most of them were companies that already had well established websites and they were registering the .africa domain names defensively. A defensive registration is where a company acquires its brand name or related name to prevent it from falling in the hands of cybersquatters or competitors.
The first phase of the landrush will run from 5th June to 10th June. During the landrush phase, the .africa domain name registrations will be open to all registrants from across the world. The registry has in the past stated that it is targeting the Chinese market where it expects to sell the bulk of the .africa domain names. However, during the landrush phase, the domain name registration costs will be relatively high. I have heard from some sources that domain name registrations will cost $150 per year during the landrush phase. I am not sure if there will be a variation in the pricing for the subsequent landrush phases.
Each landrush phase will last five days as follows:-
5th June 2017 to 10th June 2017: .AFRICA Landrush Phase I
12th June 2017 to 17th June 2017: .AFRICA Landrush Phase II
19th June 2017 to 24th June 2017: .AFRICA Landrush Phase III
26th June 2017 to 1st July 2017: .AFRICA Landrush Phase IV
To be honest, I don’t understand the rationale behind the phase landrush rollout. The registry is also planning a phased rollout of the general availability where in the first phase, the domain names will be sold at a higher price.
At $150 per domain name, I don’t expect too many domain names to be snapped up by end users. The real race for the best .africa domain names will begin on July 4th during the general availability.