Why is .co.ke domain names so expensive?

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Domain names are used in URL to identify particular Web Pages. Every domain name has a suffix that indicates which top level domain it belongs to. Acquiring a domain is therefore an important part of establishing an online presence.

Kenya Network Information Center (Kenic) charges 2,000 for .ke top level domain name registration. The amount on itself is more than two times the amount charged for the other top level domain names like .com, .org, .net. The licensed registrars would in turn want to make something out of the business and therefore will add between Kshs.1000 to Kshs.2000. At the end most Kenyans end up paying between 3000 to 4000, for co.ke domain name. Can somebody from Kenic or ICT Board or CCK explains the reason why it is so damn expensive to get .co.ke than other commercial top level domain names. To register a .com domain name, for non premium second level domain name, the price will not be more than US$15 (15*75) = Kshs.1125. And even that is probably on the higher side.

It is envisaged that the cost of registering a Kenyan Domain would for the first 2 years be KSh 2,000 per annum to ensure that the organization can cover the costs of its initial setup. Thereafter the fees would be reviewed. ?kenic website

That above statement might make you think that kenic has not been existence for more than two years. That is not the case, the history of Kenic dates back to 1993, although back then it was being run by volunteers. The consultations and the foundation of Kenic took root around 2001. To be fair to Kenyans the prices should have been reviewed long time ago. The question being asked now is the organization on it for business or it still takes pride of being a trustee for the .ke country-code-top-level-domain

They also indicate on their website that the registration of local domain names hits 10,000mark last year. Congratulations are in order by the way, for such a small number landmark achievement. If all things were constant with competent organization and right pricing for the domain names, I bet the number of local domain names bearing the .co.ke extensions by last year could have been more than hundred thousand.

Supporting the .ke

Supporting the .ke

We all love to have a co.ke. I mean it is a symbol of Kenyan branding, a clear indication of Kenyan based entity. By the way this has nothing to do with the phrase ?I am proud to be Kenyans.? The one I consider meaningless, unless you look at its political dimension. Threatened or insecure leaders world over use the issue of patriotism to win hearts and minds of the citizens. For God?s name who doesn?t love his/her country. We all are proud to be Kenyans all the time. The phrase was adopted by politicians(The mouth piece Dr.Alfred Mutua acting on their behalf) to actually make Kenyans feel guilty when they think of criticizing the Government. Somebody once said that at anytime don?t confuse the government of the day with the country. Governments come and go, politicians get born and die, but the country remains.

The events taking place far away in Hong Kong this week may change the dynamics for Kenic operations in Kenya in the near future. ICANN (Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers) is set to conduct a consultation session on issues related to the new generic top-level domains — such as .sport , .Afric a, .Nairobi , .food , this coming Friday in Hong Kong. If at the end of the consultative sessions which will be hosted in four more other cities (New York, London Abhu Dabi and Sydney), ICCAN decides to go on with the plans, then in theory anyone can apply to become a registry in their own right.

ICCAN announced last year that it was going to liberalise the market for domain name extensions, but ran into a lot of criticism from corporations with large portfolios of domain names. They are aggressively pushing for the ICCAN to go slow and instead concentrate on how protect trademark owners to prevent cybersquatting and other bad practices such as phishing.

What is your opinion on the topic?
Kennedy Kachwanya
Lead Blogger at Kachwanya.com
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Kennedy Kachwanya is a technology blogger interested in mobile phones both smart and dumb, mobile apps, mobile money, social media, startups ecosystem and digital Savannah. New media must not forget the strength of old tech.
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