As of midnight today, the South African Central Registry (ZACR) has opened registrations for websites that have domain names ending in three South African city names: Johannesburg (.joburg), Cape Town (.capetown) and Durban (.durban).
Sadly. even though these are the first cities in the world to get their own domain names, you can’t use them quite yet.
Right now, we’re in the “Sunrise” phase, which according to Neil Dundas of ZACR “is intended to allow holders of priority rights (such trade mark holders) to apply for domain names that correspond to their naming rights.”
So if you run a company with an established brand and want to distinguish the websites for your Cape Town, Johannesburg and Durban offices, you can apply to ZACR to grant you the rights to use YOURCOMPANYNAME.joburg, YOURCOMPANYNAME.capetown and YOURCOMPANYNAME.durban as of right now.
At the same time, general registration will open for any names you can think of ending in the same three domains. Dundas refers to this as the “landgrab” period, which may result in several parties all clamouring over the same domains.
Should that happen – a distinct possibility in this age of domain-squatting – an auction will take place to determine the winner.
Once these two phases are over and legitimate owners of the various domains have been established, ZACR will start the allocation of the winning domains to their respective owners. Expect to see websites sporting the new domains to crop up later this year.
If you have a website (or want to start one) and you’re dying to have its address end in one of the three city names, head over to the ZACR website now to register your intentions.