The Nigeria Internet Registration Association (NiRA), the body managing the country’s domain name registration, has revealed that the total number of dot ng domain name registered in the country in the last 10 years, is 68,050, as at July 2016.
NiRA however explained that should all Nigerians online decide to identify with the country and register, using their domain names with the suffix .ng, instead of the free domain names like yahoo and hotmail that are common with Nigerian registration, the county would hit up to 10 million registered domain name within the next one year.
President of NiRA, Mr. Sunday Agolayan who made the disclosure, told THISDAY that since NiRA has reduced the cost of registering domain name like .name.ng to N500 to end users, NiRA expects all Nigerians to register their names, using .ng domain name, instead of the yahoo, gmail and hotmail that most Nigerians registered with. He said the initiative to reduce the cost of domain name, was to populate the .ng domain name in Nigeria.
In technical parlance, domain name which could be country code Top Level Domain name (ccTLD) or generic top level domain (gTLD), is the identity of individuals and organisations in cyberspace. For anyone to have access to internet activities privately, the individual must register with a domain name that represents a country. For instance, Nigeria’s domain name in cyberspace must have the suffix .ng, Canada is .ca, South Africa is .za, United Kingdom is .co.uk, among others.
The federal government had in the past, reiterated the need for Nigerians to identify with the country’s domain name, which is .ng that NiRA is promoting in the country.
Giving reasons why NiRA could not make projections of expected number of registered domain name in the country at a given time frame, Afolayan said “the registry is not in the actual business of registration with the registrants but relies on registrars to drive the business of domain name registration in the county. What we do is to create policies that will drive goals and we do not set targets.”
Giving insight to the number of domain name registrations recorded from January to July 2016, Afolayan said 17,809 dot ng domain name were recorded, with 10,808 renewals. He said in July this year alone, the country recorded 2,843 domain name registrations, 1,537 renewals and 88 transfers. He said the figures showed an increase in domain name registration in the country.
“The growth of domain name registration in the year 2016 has been on a steady increase. With 2,843 registrations and 1,537 domain renewals and 88 transfers in July 2016, these figures are the second best figures on a monthly basis this year. There were 88 domain transfers between the NiRA Accredited Registrars. The slight increase in fresh domain name registrations could be attributed to the new price regime introduced early July 2016,” Afolayan said.
Explaining the importance of domain name in a country, Afolayan said marketing of products and services has shifted from the old conventional method to a new world driven by the internet with an important tool known as domain name.
Having and using a domain name makes communication easier and seamless over the internet. A domain name could be registered at different top levels such as the country code top level domain (ccTLD) and generic top level domain (gTLD) or even directly as a name, he said.
He added that the top level domain, known as TLD, for example .ng has become a buzzword in the internet world in the past few years. Everyone from web developers to owners of small businesses are buying TLDs of choice for their websites, and their popularity is growing on a daily basis.
“Top level domains are important because they help narrow down searches in engines like Google. These searches could be narrowed down by profession like a lawyer or a doctor, to events in certain cities or geographical location. With all the data that search engines have to sift through, this could really help in a relevant search,” Afolayan said.
This will almost certainly change how Google search results are created. For example, a tourist who is looking to book a luxury hotel in Nigeria would only have to type in “luxuryhotel.ng” in order to find relevant and real time results for their query. Someone who is looking for a house to let would only need to input “housing.com.ng” into the search engine and find what they are looking for.
With domain name registered on the right TLD, Nigerians have created first hand marketing for business because the name would be friendly to search engine and thereby get better ranking from the search engine, Afolayan added.