Nigeria’s .ng Second Level Domain has for a long time been viewed as one of the most valuable extensions in the domains market for an obvious reason: it creates virtually any verb-related web domain on the surface of the Internet.
Just imagine domain names like facebooki.ng, googli.ng, bloggi.ng and a host of other verb-related words bei.ng used with a .ng SLD as suffix to end them.
In January 2011 when news broke that one of Nigeria’s leading newspapers, ThisDay had acquired a N7.5 million ($50,000) domain name, Thisday.ng, there were speculations that the sale could make the .ng Second-Level Domain the hottest in the global domains market.
Before then, the Nigerian Internet Registration Association (NiRA), the country’s official TLD registrar had built a ‘walled garden’, so-to-speak around the .ng SLD and thus introduced an auction process that puts generic domains or brand names at a premium price.
As a result, global companies such as Google and Microsoft took a slice of the .ng second (2nd) level cake, each of them reportedly paying about $20,000 (about N3 million) for a .ng SLD in order to protect their corporate identities and their brand in Nigeria as well as disrupt the party of domain squatters.
An industry source revealed to TechLoy that over $1 million has been generated from the sale of the .ng SLD since the auction process began to date.
But it appears that the NiRA auction process for the .ng SLD has been revised, according to a tip-off from a source. We’ve learned that starting from April 2013, NiRA will open up the .ng 2nd level domain for general registration at a price of N15,000 (about $100 USD) per domain name.
However, the domain registrar has reserved “a special category of domain names determined to be of premium value”, which “will be available via auction only”, as stated in the NIRA Domain Name Auction Policy.
According to the amended policy made available to TechLoy, the domain registrar stated:
“Effective April 2013, NIRA Executive Board have approved the opening up of .ng domains for general registration at the price of N15,000 per domain save for special category of domain names determined to be of premium value. These premium value domain names will be available via auction only. The procedure for auction will be as stated in the NIRA Domain Name Auction Policy. The NIRA Executive Board reserve the right to determine which domain names are classified as auction and may review these names from time to time.”
What this means is that if you wish to register a domain name on the second-level, for your company or start-up, for example Techloy.ng, you can now do so at the price of N15,000 only, instead of paying millions.
Our source said that this fee is fixed by NiRA, so accredited domain name registrars/resellers would not be allowed to mark up the price, although we doubt that this would be the case, as most registrars would expect to make some margins from the sale.
That said, it’s also likely that the registrars may sell at the approved price of N15,000, but rely on NiRA’s special category of domain names determined to be of premium value, to mark up prices and make gains.
While the NiRA has officially approved this policy, it would take a few weeks before accredited registrars would start selling the SLDs at that price, so start getting your credit/debit cards ready to register your desired .ng SLDs.
Could this new policy make the .ng the most popular domain name extension in the world?
Time will tell.