The end of the Sunrise period for dotAfrica domain registrations closes on 2nd June and trademark owners best get to stepping if they want to secure a new URL.

The Sunrise period started on 4th April and trademark owners were invited to register dotAfrica domains during the 60 day period.

Applicants are required to submit a Validation Token (acquired through The Trademark Clearhouse) or a Signed Mark Data file (acquired through the Mark Validation System) to prove that the trademark is owned by the applicant.

This does all sound rather complicated and that’s because it needs to be. While this process falls in line with ICANN’s technical guidelines there is another reason, it prevents domain squatting.

The domain rush

The next phase of dotAfrica domain distribution is the Landrush or Early Access Program which happens across four phases each five days in length. During this time trademark owners that missed the Sunrise period and want to register for a domain will be given priority so long as the relevant Validation Token or Signed Mark Data file are presented.

However, should somebody try to register a domain that has already been registered will receive a Claims Notice from Registry Africa that the domain is registered.

The onus is then on the applicant to acknowledge they are aware of the prior right and that they wish to continue with the process, and this is where things have the potential to get messy.

Should there be a contested domain at the end of a phase an Auction phase will be held that lasts 24 hours. The highest bid wins the domain providing they make a full payment.

Speaking of which, pricing for dotAfrica domains during the Landrush phase isn’t what we would call cheap. During the first phase pricing is expensive and gets cheaper as we progress through the phases but the risk of not getting a specific domain increases. The pricing below follows’s pricing though the entity says that during each phase the price will be converted to rands.

dotAfrica registration prices
Standard Premium Renew
Sunrise $195 $750 $18
Landrush Phase 1 $6,000 NA $18
Landrush Phase 2 $2,600 NA $18
Landrush Phase 3 $1,500 NA $18
Landrush Phase 4 $750 NA $18
General Availability $175 $750 $18
Price Reduction Phase 1 $25 $195 $18
Price Reduction Phase 2 $18 $195 $18

The Landrush phase will end on 30th June and the General Availability period will begin on 4th July at which point domains will be registered on a first come, first served basis.

Simply put, if you want to register a shiny new dotAfrica domain for your business and you hold a trademark the best time to do that is sometime within the next two weeks.