In a new stinging rejoinder characteristic of their regular press releases, DotConnectAfrica an applicant for the .africa string has refuted claims by the CEO of its competitor Uniforum ZACR who announced albeit prematurely that they were ready to go on with .africa.
Reacting to a statement “Now we are finally moving out of the application phase, thanks to government support, and are ready to start planning the launch and marketing of the new local domain names.” By Neil Dundas in an interview titled “New local domains see breakthrough”with ITWEB South Africa. DotConnectAfrica have vehemently disregarded these statements as
“very presumptuous and arrogant, and highly inappropriate against the backdrop that the Initial Evaluation results for the .Africa new gTLD are not yet known. We see such comments as contrived to mislead and manipulate and are tantamount to putting the cart before the horse”
This is the second time DotConnectAfrica has poked into the pre-meditated confidence of its competitor. In June 2012 immediately after the new applicant reveal by ICANN, Uniforum went ahead and reported that
“The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) confirmed that there is only one applicant for the .africa Top Level Domain (TLD), namely UniForum SA, the organisation officially endorsed by the African Union.”
This however came as an anticlimax after ICANN went ahead and made changes to DotConnectAfrica’s application from .dotafrica that had brought great excitement to Uniforum and placed the two applicant in tandem for the applicants for .africa.
The recent reaction comes after there have been intense lobbying and GAC advice that was released in the ICANN 46thmeeting in Beijing. DotConnectAfrica has reprimanded the competitor saying,
“Therefore, the fight over .Africa is only just beginning, and any self-proclaimed ‘headway at Beijing’ is a premature and outlandish claim to victory. We see any preparations by UniForum to launch .Africa and start marketing domain names under the .Africa extension as hasty, imprudent, ill-conceived and extremely manipulative. It is important to strongly emphasize at this juncture that UniForum has not yet passed the Initial Evaluation.”
The confidence of the recent proclaiming according to DotConnectAfrica is drawn from perceived yet unconfirmed governmental endorsements “Pride goeth before a fall’: UniForum does not have one single endorsement from any African country government”.
These announcement show just how much the anticipation to set up a local registry in Africa. The processes however have to be carefully charted and transparently organized to avoid Africa falling into a future of unfounded ownership of the continental domain.