Kenic has a new CEO

Kenic, the organisation tasked with managing the .ke domain, has a new CEO. Who may or may not know anything about heading a registry and how to make .ke more stable and resilient. For background on Kenic, you can read more here.

Emma Marube has the difficult task of heading the troubled organisation, as the Communications Authority ponders whether to privatise the entity or retain the multistakeholder model but offer competition on the second level. For example, if someone wanted to provide .com.ke registry services, it may offer competition to .co.ke but at the same time muddle the waters.

We all wish the registry well and we hope that it will be more secure. Most people stopped complaining about perennial outages because…..what will you do? Accept and move on….

I asked for a bio, just to know more about her….. and this is what I got.

“Our acting CEO is Mrs. Emma Bokea Marube. Prior to the appointment, she has been KeNIC’s Finance and Planning Manager. She holds a Bachelor of Business Management (Finance and Banking) and CPA. (K) Emma has also headed Finance and Accounting in several organisations.”
I followed it up with questions on what she had in store for us and how she is planning to steer the registry to prestige and envy that it once enjoyed in Africa ICT circles.
I got no response.
So we can assume that the new CEO knows or doesn’t know what she is doing. Kenic board has the reputation of hiring people who have no clue about running a registry, so I wasn’t exactly surprised when I got no comment.
We can also assume that she is moonlighting….. if this bio on this site is to be believed.
Marube
Moving on…..
The registry now has 76 registrars, holding domains from 27 as the lowest to 4186 currently held by Safaricom and 4788 held by EAC Directory. The desire for lower costs has seen Safaricom selling the domain at sh 500, which includes hosting. Others are selling the domain for as high as sh 3000 per year.
Ends

TESPOK now wants to manage KENIC

About a week ago, I received a press release, which I guess was widely circulated. It was from the Telecommunications Service Providers of Kenya, commonly known as TESPOK.  It was sent by the Access Kenya PR machine, maybe because Kris Senanu, Access Kenya MD is the chair of TESPOK.

Since then, a lot has been said and you can read John Walu’s blog in the nation online and if you are new to matters KENIC and domain names in Africa, you can read some posts I have done over the years.

Back to TESPOK, their concern was that the Communications Commission of Kenya (CCK) soon to be Communications Authority of Kenya (CAK) had not consulted them on the idea of commercialising the .ke domain. The release was responding to a story appearing in the papers to that effect.

Kris Senanu, TESPOK Chair

Kris Senanu, TESPOK Chair

Now, TESPOK sits on the KENIC board, the release clearly indicates that it is one of the founding stakeholders and at the height of the crises at KENIC board, TESPOK gladly took over the technical functions at KENIC. It may well be that TESPOK didn’t want the disruption of services for .ke owners but it may also be that TESPOK was comfortable with the status.There was even a proposal for revenue sharing for performance of technical function.

At the point when it emerged that the new law would change the structure of KENIC, I expected TESPOK to be more vocal and to be the leading light, but maybe its just me, maybe they started the debate earlier.

When I got the release, my first reaction was: What changed at the KENIC board? The balance has been altered.

Then I got to the last segment of the release…. boom….

“Unfortunately, over the last five years interference of CCK, now CAK, in the day to day operations of KENIC has seen the organization experience unprecedented turnover of both Board and staff; with 5 CEO changes. The functions of KENIC have continued to be delivered because TESPOK maintained its commitment to the local industry as per the ICANN Agreement to provide technical and logistical support to the .ke manager.  It is important for CCK/CAK to give the .ke ccTLD manager the opportunity to deliver on agreed key deliverables that have not been met in the last five years. Commercialization is not a solution to meeting the identified and agreed industry gaps within the local internet community.

 TESPOK has both the technical and administrative resources necessary to continue as a sole guarantor of the ccTLD if and when CAK pulls out. It has provided such support in the past. This will evidently lead to consolidating the Internet technical community shared resources under one umbrella body; a move very similar to, the consolidation of the various government agencies handling government ICT deployment and implementation under the Kenya ICT Authority. The scenario would then consolidate KENIC (the .ke manager), KIXP (Africa’s fastest growing Internet Exchange Point) and I-CSIRT (Internet Computer Security Incident Response Team) under the TESPOK stewardship.”

 

The last para is where the weight is, TESPOK wants to handle the .ke registry. It is very clear that they have outlined their capacity. Please note, it says TESPOK can continue as the sole guarantor of the ccTLD, (.KE) and not of KENIC.

Technical capacity? But, KIXP was recently moved to the Liquid Telecom data centre, does it mean the KENIC registry will be moved there too?

There is a registrar organisation known as DRAKE that is represented in the KENIC board, are they ok with this? (Aly Hussein used to be the representative, now I have no idea how to get to the new rep, if you know, please help me 🙂

I am told of  battles of supremacy between DRAKE and TESPOK over who is the industry voice and who is king. There are some who think that registries like .ke thrive because of registrars example Nominet in the UK, while others feel the role of ISPs is vital.

It depends on which camp you are because there are arguments that ISPs have shifted from domain and hosting business and left it to smaller players who make it their core business.

There is no doubt that the KENIC story is convoluted and the decision for CCK to leave KENIC board and be replaced by the ICT Authority doesn’t make much sense. It is the same government, CCK and ICTA are brothers or sisters, whatever they want to do they can, let us not kid ourselves.

CCK says it has extended the comments on the new law by a week and when the time comes for the application process, I wonder whether TESPOK will put in a separate bid or will seek to protect KENIC and have it continue with the functions.

Time will tell…….

 

 

Kenic Publishes .Ke Registrar and Domain Numbers

About a month or so ago, Kenic, the .ke domain administrator shared the numbers that the registrars were pulling in. This was in a marketing campaign meant to increase the number of domains.

The list was shared to all the registrars and I guess anyone who was interested. To me it looked like name and shame but when I spoke to Anthony Wambugu, the new Kenic CEO, it was a way to motivate the registrars.

I said thanks to Wambugu and team for sharing this list because in many occasions, people close to the Kenic board say “I sell so many .ke domains” and when I look at the list, it is such a shame.

I also had a chance to visit Kenic offices and hear of how the .ke has changed, the plans for the future etc…. Yes, they have changed, at least I got some tea and samosa 🙂 and for the other aspects, it remains to be seen.

The team seemed eager to prove that Kenic is way better. They kept on saying how the online reputation was bad, courtesy of some bloggers and with a straight face I asked “who are these bloggers?” and I got a silent stare from the marketing manager 🙂

Before I digress to other things…… first enjoy the numbers…..

REGISTRAR 2012 ACTURALS 2013 TARGET
2013 Monthly TGT
2013 Weekly TGT
1 EACdirectory 2042 4000 333 83
2 SawaSawa.com Limited 1296 3000 250 63
3 Sasahost Limited 1104 2000 167 42
4 Safaricom Limited 913 2000 167 42
5 Webhost Kenya Ltd 887 2000 167 42
7 deepAfrica Co Ltd 347 1000 83 21
8 Kenya Website Experts 273 1000 83 21
9 AccessKenya Group 156 500 42 11
10 ALMOND COMMUNICATIONS 155 500 42 11
11 STRATECH OFFICE SYSTEMS 155 500 42 11
12 Kenyaweb Hostmaster 147 500 42 11
13 Afriregister Limited 142 500 42 11
14 Mambo Microsystems 119 400 33 8
15 ETIQET SOLUTIONS LIMITED 117 400 33 8
16 Greenbell Communication Ltd. 117 400 33 8
17 Jambo Telkom LTD 117 400 33 8
18 Get Online Hosts 116 400 33 8
19 Intrepid Data Systems 116 400 33 8
20 Wananchi Online Ltd 106 400 33 8
21 iWay Africa Kenya 79 300 25 6
22 Imagine Brands 77 300 25 6
23 CNETGLOBAL 74 300 25 6
24 Kenya Softnet Ltd 74 300 25 6
25 Nairobinet Online Ltd 72 300 25 6
26 Aplin 71 300 25 6
27 Blueprint Technologies 71 300 25 6
28 Yengas Technologies 69 300 25 6
29 Heartbit Computer Solutions 66 300 25 6
30 Shine Web Technologies Ltd 57 200 17 4
31 Swift Global LTD 55 200 17 4
32 Callkey Networks Ltd 51 200 17 4
33 Infoken Solutions 49 200 17 4
34 Gempack Dot Net Enterprises 48 200 17 4
35 ICT Consultants Limited 48 200 17 4
36 Government Information Technology Services 46 200 17 4
37 Arise Online Ltd 45 200 17 4
38 Peak and Dale Solutions 35 200 17 4
39 Ignite Africa Limited 34 200 17 4
40 Packet Central Technologies 34 200 17 4
41 RevWebolution Business Solutions 33 200 17 4
42 Massive Dynamic 31 200 17 4
43 JBA Advertising Co ltd. 30 200 17 4
44 Kenya Webhosting 29 200 17 4
45 Xpressive Advertising and Design 27 200 17 4
46 Digital Horizons Ltd 26 200 17 4
47 Globefinity Systems Ltd 25 200 17 4
48 Dotsavvy Limited 23 200 17 4
49 Kenya Data Networks 23 200 17 4
50 MTN Business 23 200 17 4
51 WebSoft Development 23 200 17 4
52 Transworld Computer Channels 22 200 17 4
53 Visual Pixel Systems 22 200 17 4
54 Kenya Education Network 21 200 17 4
55 Palm Online Systems 21 200 17 4
56 Domain Masters 20 200 17 4
57 Geda Limited 20 200 17 4
58 GELATI Limited 20 200 17 4
59 mbambu ltd 20 200 17 4
60 MIH Internet East Africa 20 200 17 4
61 secunets Technologies 20 200 17 4
62 Ajibu LTD 17 200 17 4
63 Dynamic World Technology Ltd 17 200 17 4
64 Ecobiz 17 200 17 4
65 Intersurf Communications Ltd. 17 200 17 4
66 Messaging Labs Africa Solutions 17 200 17 4
67 Starnet Solutions 17 200 17 4
68 Swiftweb Technologies Ltd 17 200 17 4
69 KEMNET TECHNOLOGIES 16 200 17 4
70 Web Host Africa limited 16 200 17 4
71 Extra IT Solutions 15 200 17 4
72 Ideas Africa Ltd 15 200 17 4
73 Infiniti Software Solutions Ltd 15 200 17 4
74 Softlink Chain LTD 15 200 17 4
75 Metrocomia East Africa 14 200 17 4
76 Footprint Computer Solutions Limited 13 200 17 4
77 SasaHivi Media Ltd 13 200 17 4
78 Xtranet Communication Ltd 13 200 17 4
79 Creative Edge Ltd 12 200 17 4
80 Cyberworld Internet Solution Providers 12 200 17 4
81 WEB TRIBE LIMITED 12 200 17 4
82 Asterisk Technologies 11 200 17 4
83 Computer Doctors 11 200 17 4
84 Domains Kenya Ltd 11 200 17 4
85 Four99 11 200 17 4
86 Jamii Telecommunications 11 200 17 4
87 Lexsynergy Kenya Limited 11 200 17 4
88 Logic Outsource Limited 11 200 17 4
89 WebRunner Limited 11 200 17 4
90 3mice Interactive Media Ltd 10 200 17 4
91 Alphagen Limited 10 200 17 4
92 MyISP Limited 10 200 17 4
93 Digital Vision EA Ltd 9 200 17 4
94 J.S. ENGINE 9 200 17 4
95 K.I.O.S.K. Limited 9 200 17 4
96 Loksons 9 200 17 4
97 Safenames Kenya 9 200 17 4
98 Sahannet Ltd 9 200 17 4
99 Tangerine Ltd., 9 200 17 4
100 Alence Solutions Limited 8 200 17 4
101 CompEdge Solutions Ltd 8 200 17 4
102 Mackphilisa Systems 8 200 17 4
103 Pwani Telecomms Ltd 8 200 17 4
104 Samnet Africa Limited 8 200 17 4
105 Web Dynamics Limited 8 200 17 4
106 Internet Solutions Kenya Ltd. 7 200 17 4
107 ITwenty Seven Ltd 7 200 17 4
108 Ace Solution Africa Ltd 6 200 17 4
109 Aja Limited. 6 200 17 4
110 Bunia.net 6 200 17 4
111 Espawebstars Enterprises 6 200 17 4
112 Exemplar Technologies Limited 6 200 17 4
113 Flametree Systems Engineering 6 200 17 4
114 Flex Solutions 6 200 17 4
115 HASOFT KENYA 6 200 17 4
116 IVORY PROFFESSIONALS VENTURES 6 200 17 4
117 Muva Technologies Ltd. 6 200 17 4
118 Overdrive Consultants Ltd 6 200 17 4
119 Sayari Communications Ltd 6 200 17 4
120 Scalable Wizards 6 200 17 4
121 WEBKRAFT KENYA LTD- wkl2 6 200 17 4
122 Wunderman Nairobi 6 200 17 4
123 Brand Consultants Ltd 5 100 8 2
124 Comtel Systems Ltd 5 100 8 2
125 Mindgem Concepts 5 100 8 2
126 Pure Concepts Ltd 5 100 8 2
127 Satori Solutions 5 100 8 2
128 SOURCE CODE LIMITED 5 100 8 2
129 Sumatran Technologies Solutions Co. Ltd 5 100 8 2
130 Zote Telkom 5 100 8 2
131 abba.co.ke 4 100 8 2
132 ARK CREATIVE LTD 4 100 8 2
133 FortisCL 4 100 8 2
134 frepactech – Danson pasi seet 4 100 8 2
135 Interactive Technology Ltd 4 100 8 2
136 ITworX Limited 4 100 8 2
137 Linux Solutions Company 4 100 8 2
138 Monshasha Technologies 4 100 8 2
139 Newsline Media Productions 4 100 8 2
140 Nouvelles Images 4 100 8 2
141 Onpoint-IT Solutions International 4 100 8 2
142 Sisi Communications Limited 4 100 8 2
143 Smile Telecom Solutions Ltd 4 100 8 2
144 TEXADA LTD 4 100 8 2
145 Way Forward Technologies 4 100 8 2
146 Beninda Dot Com 3 100 8 2
147 Converged Media Solutions 3 100 8 2
148 eazywiz web solutions 3 100 8 2
149 iridiumInteractive 3 100 8 2
150 Jaynet Telecoms Ltd 3 100 8 2
151 My Kenyan Host 3 100 8 2
152 PrimeSoft Solutions (K) Ltd 3 100 8 2
153 Skyprime Solutions 3 100 8 2
154 Tuseme Africa Ltd 3 100 8 2
155 Voneo Media Group 3 100 8 2
156 ZAMOYA.COM LTD 3 100 8 2
157 Allied Technique Inc 2 100 8 2
158 Chui Technologies 2 100 8 2
159 Cyber Dream 2 100 8 2
160 Francis Montet 2 100 8 2
161 Kenya Network Information Centre 2 100 8 2
162 MobiKash Afrika Ltd 2 100 8 2
163 Pensoft Systems Limited 2 100 8 2
164 Sentinel Systems ltd 2 100 8 2
165 TechDirect Solutions Ltd 2 100 8 2
166 Twenty Four Interactive 2 100 8 2
167 Eighty Four Inspired (84Inspired) 1 100 8 2
168 Frontier Optical Networks 1 100 8 2
169 ITech Solutions Ltd 1 100 8 2
170 Knowledge Technology Ltd 1 100 8 2
171 LANet Consulting 1 100 8 2
172 Mzoori LTD 1 100 8 2
173 Octopus ICT Solutions LTD 1 100 8 2
174 Online Kenya Technologies 1 100 8 2
175 Quintica Kenya Limited 1 100 8 2
176 TraceSoft Limited 1 100 8 2
10875 47000 3929 959

Kenic CEO fires first salvo at govt, terminates all employees

In a strange move, Sammy Buruchara, change manager, acting CEO (etc) at Kenic, the .ke registry, has issued termination letters to three employees on the payroll, in a move likely to cause friction within the government.

The move comes barely a week after Bitange Ndemo, Permanent Secretary in the ministry of information and communication announced plans to increase government influence at the Kenic board.

Now, the board and the CEO seem to have pulled the rug on Ndemo’s intentions, because if there are no employees, what will the board be doing, therefore nullifying Ndemo’s intention.

To digress a bit, this is not the first time Kenic has defied the PS. Last month, Kenic undertook to sponsor and foot the cost of Kenya IGF under a body constituted by the PS. After the event, Buruchara threw a tantrum and said he can not pay because the Kenya IGF committee formed by the PS had no legal standing. Apparently the agreement was that Kenic would pay suppliers directly but the promise was reneged. The event was held at Jacaranda and one of the organizers, Grace Githaiga, is at a loss, wondering how to pay Ksh. 130,000 as the stand off between the Kenic board and the PS continues.

Anyway, back to the employee termination story, the excuse is that so many of these actions are being taken after the institutional assessment, I have read the document and this is what it says…..

“Based on the findings, the following recommendations were made:

  1. Review the strategic plan to make it SMARTER and include pertinent chapters that were missing; Align the budget, organizational structure and systems to the Strategic plan
  2. Develop a marketing strategy for ease of implementation of the strategic plan.
  3. Review existing policies (Human Resource, Finance, Procurement & Information Technology) in alignment to the laws of Kenya and corporate best practise. Design Business continuity and Risk Management policies and procedures.
  4. Review board charter and align it to the Memorandum and Articles of association and corporate best practise. Review KeNIC’s stakeholders and bring on board, stakeholders who will add value to KeNIC and support it deliver on its mandate.”

Now, I do not understand why the board would terminate all employees, its not like .ke registry is a matatu where you fire a driver in the morning and immediately get another one to replace. How do you get a system admin to run the registry, learn and run its back ups etc.

According to the Institutional Assessment, “the Kenic board reviewed the staff salaries in 2011 and provided increments of 32%,50% and 38% for staff in grade M1,M2 and M3.It is not clear how this increments were arrived at though the Board’s aim was to incentivise the staff to perform in implementing the strategic plan.”

I have read the document and I cannot see the recommendation that all employees should be terminated, how about business continuity? I have written to Buruchara asking for further info on the contingency plan but he hasn’t responded, as soon as he does, I will copy paste the response 🙂

Just to be clear, Kenic has three (3) full time employees and a board of Seven (7) members to oversee the operations 🙂

Here is the Institutional Assessment of the growth in the past nine years…

 .Ke Domain Names Growth

Year Domains Growth % growth
2003 2218
2004 2961 743 33%
2005 3733 772 26%
2006 5625 1892 50%
2007 6600 975 17%
2008 10000 3400 51%
2009 12,200 2200 22%
2010 15300 3100 25%
2011 20061 4761 15%

On a separate note, TESPOK has proposed to take over technical operations at Kenic. Here is the proposal brief on what Kenic and TESPOK responsibilities will be.

KENIC will attend to the following responsibilities:

  1. Act as a trustee for the .ke country-code-top-level-domain
  2. Become the .ke domain administrative contact
  3. Oversee the administration of the .ke ccTLD and its Second Level Domains
  4. Ensure a cost-effective administration of the .ke ccTLD and its subdomains
  5. Notify the Internet Corporation of Names and Numbers (ICANN) of any change to the contact information about the.ke ccTLD
  6. Allow ICANN to access .ke zone files and registration data (up to date development).
  7. Ensure appropriate billing and collections for all domains registered under .ke
  8. Outsource the technical operations of the .KE registry
  9. Conduct periodic audits of the system and financials

TESPOK will be responsible for:

  1. Provide Domain name Registry services for all .ke, and ensure that the database is secure and stable
  2. Maintain and promote the operational stability and use if the .ke ccTLD
  3. Manage system operations, upgrades, implement new features and technologies as well as technical changes to the .ke database as instructed by KENIC at no additional costs to KENIC
  4. Provide the technical back-end solution for .KE DNS, WHOIS, Network Security, Data Escrow and Billing
  5. Provide appropriate skill sets and expertise to handle the .ke technical requirements
  6. Avail all relevant information to facilitate decision making as and when required by KENIC

Trouble at KENIC as 4th CEO in 5 years leaves

I have written so much about KENIC, the .ke country code Top Level Domain administrator that this post will have to be a short one 🙂 you can read more here.

David Wambua, the fourth CEO in five years has left, quit, fired and any other term you can fix there, depending on who you believe. Former CEOs are; Michuki Mwangi, Vincent Ngundi, Joe Kiragu and now David Wambua.

Word is that the guy was incompetent; the board hired a marketing guy to do a technical job. However, I spoke to someone who understands the organization and its politics and told me that being a marketing guy was not the issue; it was his unwillingness to understand the organization and how it works.

I am told that the board hired him from Brand Kenya, believing that he was the guy to take the organization to the next level, a year later, the board felt that the level was down and they expected it to be up.

Picture this; .co.za has 700k domains, .0rg.za has 20k and the whole of .ke has 21k as at march 2012. With all the bragging that Kenya is taking off in tech, you would expect the domain to dance around 300k 🙂

The failure to understand KENIC and its history probably manifested itself in the case of Rwanda and its efforts to revive .rw. You see, Kenya is considered a tech power house in the region, so, when Rwanda thought about setting up its .rw registry, it approached Kenic for help.

Kenic adopted the system from the Christmas islands and locally made some enhancements to suit the market and started using it in 2010 or there about. The system has an Mpesa interface for registrars to pay and also an alert system for the end users, alerting you when your domain is about to expire. The system is open source and has been used by a number of African registries, you can read more here.

When David went to Rwanda, he told the .rw guys that the best he could do, is giving them the contacts of the company that customized it for .ke. If David understood Kenic, he probably would have looked for a way to help.

Kenic through the help of Brazil registry for .br, they trained Michuki Mwangi free and gave Kenya their registry system to customize, the only challenge was that the manuals were in Portuguese. Tanzania also benefitted from the same training and you can read the 2006 post here.

When they could not get help from Kenya, Rwanda got help from Tanzania, which is great but doesn’t make a good showing for Kenya. I am not privy to the details of the contract with the .ke system developers but with the history, I am sure it must say somewhere that Kenic can take the system and offer it to someone else for customization or something like that. With the level of underdevelopment of many registries, you would expect others to ask for help and give it, the way you got it from Brazil.

Then there is the problem of board interference.  The micro management at Kenic is just something else. I am told its only one board member who doesn’t like to let things run smoothly. I can not name him without being accused of malice 🙂

Its basic business knowledge that having five CEOs in five years means that there is a problem with the organization; either the employees or the board.

Kenic is a multistakeholder body, owned by the tech community. Board members are:

    Sammy Buruchara – Telecommunication Service Providers Association of Kenya (TESPOK) 

  • Alice Munyua – Kenya ICT Action Network (KICTANET) – Chairperson
  • Michael Katundu – Communications Commission of Kenya (CCK)
  • Lucky Waindi – Communications Commission of Kenya (CCK)
  • Charles Njoroge -Communications Commission of Kenya (CCK)
  • Ali Hussein – Domain Registrars Association of Kenya (DRAKE) – Vice-Chairperson
  • Moses Kemibaro – Kenya Internet Marketing Association (KIMA)
  • Prof. Jimmy Macharia – Kenya Education Network (KENET)
  • Charles Nduati – Kenya ICT Federation (KIF)
  • J.N Muiruri – e-Government

A visit to .co.za domain registry

The other day I got an invite to visit .co.za (South Africa) registry and given my following or obsession over domains in Africa, I could not miss a chance, even if its just for the sake of writing a blog post.

The domain numbers in South Africa are impressive, compared to other African countries. Many countries have issues and .co.za has been cited as a model of how to market domains; .co.za has over 700,000 paid domains (the number is over 800,000 but you will always have suspended domains, those with disputes, etc its better to count paid ones) .org.za has over 20,000 domains and you can now add .ac.za etc. Compare that with .ke which has a total number of 18,000 domains, counting all the strings- .co.ke, .ac.ke, .me.ke etc.

.Za has been well supported by the local companies that have ventured into the region. For instance, Multichoice (DSTv) still uses .za emails for their employees all over Africa. Calculate the marketing value, whenever they advertise their contacts.

Indeed, Neil Dundas, one of the directors at UniForum, the .co.za registry, feels that the support from South African companies venturing into other markets has boosted the growth of .co.za uptake.

Local uptake

Apart from local companies venturing out, international companies setting up base have had to buy .za domains as a way of proving they are local. There was research done on .za domain perception by the .za Domain Authority, I will look it up and support my assertion with the data but the sheer number of domains can give you an idea of whether people like it or not.

Suffice to say that the marketing campaigns, training of registrars and the work under Coza foundation has helped a great deal. UniForum put in R40 million (abt KSh. 400 million) to start off the foundation. The foundation trains teachers among other outreach activities. Now its branching out as a separate entity so that it can receive money from other supporters.

But is that all?

One of the things that struck me when I got there was a team of customer support, I wondered why they needed but that is because the old Coza model interfaced with buyers/endusers/consumers, technically known as registrants. That is the old system, the new system incorporates registries but they are all served by the customer service team.

Then there was another team of developers, who are continually developing the Extensible Provisioning Protocol (EPP) that is robust and flexible that it allows registries and registrars to carry out transactions. Kenic has it for .ke and it has improved the time taken to register domains and also sends you alerts when your domain is registered or renewed, allowing you to keep tabs with your registrar. The older manual system is another story all together and unfortunately most registries in Africa are on some shade of that. You can read more about the EPP system here.

One of the other feature of the .za domain name space is their developed domain dispute resolution mechanism. Just read the news from the zadna to get an idea of how the disputes are dealt with.

Before this post becomes too long and I start digressing, Neil mentioned that one of the biggest drivers is the low cost. You can get a .co.za for R35+VAT which translates to Ksh 350+VAT. I have talked so much about the cost of .co.ke domains that am not going to belabor the point.

I hear some arguing that wanjiku.me.ke is available for Ksh 500 but why pay that for a second string while wanjiku.me may still be available on the top level?

What are your views?

 

Guest post: what is your take on .ke domain?

African domains left a comment on an earlier post on .ke. I thought its better to publish the piece, so that its just not me. Here we go ….

I always hear the same argument whenever I complain about the high .co.ke prices: “It’s not that simplistic”. What’s not simplistic? The truth is that the domains are overpriced! Why doesn’t KENIC borrow from the examples of other nations like South Africa, Tunisia, Morocco etc where the domains are quite affordable?

Believe me , we all want all those .KE domains. There are thousands of attractive generic keyword domains names still available in .ke namespace. We covet them but we can’t afford them. They are just too costly for a local entrepreneur. When Kenyans build more quality websites using .ke names instead of .com or .org, it will add value and more visibility to the .ke namespace!!

It’s quite telling that those sitting on KENIC Board are not using .ke names. Why do they insist on selling to Kenyans domains that they can’t even afford themselves???

KENIC does not even try to offer advantageous pricing and marketing promotions to Kenyan web users. The last time I saw a promotion, they were offering red KENIC branded bags. Do we need bags or domains? In Singapore, they were celebrating their independence month in August and the Registry was selling domains at $3.90 for the whole month to ensure mass adoption and enable citizens to express themselves online using their identity.

Why doesn’t KENIC try these promotions and see if we won’t take up these domains? They can launch promotions for example for Madaraka Day, Jamhuri Day etc and offer even 10,000 .ke domains at Ksh.750 and watch what happens! Like Wanjiku says, if they lower prices, they still get sufficient revenue because of mass uptake! Why aren’t those registries offering low-priced ccTLD domains elsewhere going under?

By its stubborn refusal to listen to the local internet users, KENIC is stifling the Kenyan domain name industry, out of sheer stubbornness. From the stats on KENIC website, it seems KENIC adds an average of 600-700 domains per month, quite pathetic in a country with 10 million internet users.”

I think the argument “It’s not that simplistic” is used to shut off criticism and resist change and open Kenyan users to exploitation. Next time there’s an internet governance forum, Kenyans must loudly express their displeasure at this!!!