Stakeholders Move to Create More Awareness among Nigerian Internet Users as Populating Dot NG Domain Name Drags

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Mohammed Rudman

Emma Okonji

Worried about the slow growth in adopting dot ng (.ng) domain name among Nigerian internet users, especially among those who run their own businesses, industry stakeholders are planning to create more awareness for the adoption of .ng domain name across all sizes of business.

President, Nigeria Internet Registration Association (NiRA), the body that manages Nigeria’s Country Code Top Level Domain (ccTLD), Mr. Mohammed Rudman, told THISDAY that despite the set target from NiRA to achieve 100 per cent annual increase in .ng domain name registration and renewal, the number of registered.ng domain name still remained low.

In technical parlance, .ng domain name is Nigeria’s identity in the cyberspace. It is a nomenclature that identifies all persons who registered their business in Nigeria and they are transacting online from any part of the world. It identifies the Nigerian business name online and it ends with the suffix, .ng for top-level domain names. Each country has its own online identity, given by a global body called the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA). While Nigeria is identified as .ng, South Africa is .co.za, America is .com, and the United Kingdom is .co.uk.

A recent statistics on .ng domain name, released by NiRA obtained by THISDAY, showed a drop in the second and third level domain name across the country, which covers the total number of .ng domain name registration, renewal and restoration.
According to the statistics, the total number of registered and renewed .ng domain, stood at 172, 787 in the month of September 2021, a figure that is very infinitesimal, compared with the number of active internet users in Nigeria, which stood at over 140 million as at August 2021, according to the data, which THISDAY obtained from the website of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), the telecoms industry regulator.

Despite the low adoption rate for .ng domain name, registration and renewal even dropped from 183,195 in August 2021, to 172,787 in September 2021, according to the statistics released by NiRA, a situation that got industry stakeholders more worried.
According to he statistics, in July 2019, the total number of registered and renewed .ng domain name was 142,476, but the figure increased slightly to 144,169 in August 2019, with another slight increase to reach 149,508 in September 2019. In July 2020, the total number of registered and renewed .ng domain name was 164,542, but the figure increased slightly to 167, 798 in August 2020, and recorded another slight increase to reach 171, 129 in September 2020. In July 2021, the total number of registered and renewed .ng domain name was 182,509, but the figure increased slightly again to 183,195 in August 2021, and then dropped to 172,787 in September 2021.

Rudman who spoke with THISDAY about the dwindling growth of .ng domain name, said: “We are seeing growth in the .ng domain name registration, but the growth is not commensurate with our set target and expectations. NiRA is already discussing with industry stakeholders on how to come up with a research study on why Nigerians are not adopting .ng domain name. We sought to seek whether it is an issue of trust, or pricing, or inadequate awareness strategies on the part of Registrars and we intend to work with the Registrars in order to come up with a position statement that will address the issue. NiRA is not really happy with the slow adoption rate and we are also planning to carry out .ng promo in November and December this year, that will reduce the price of entry level domain names by 60 per cent. We are working with the Registrars to achieve this.”

He however said the slow rate was not peculiar to Nigeria, since the growth rate for domain name has equally dropped globally, while blaming the decline in the global adoption of domain name to the effect of COVID-19, which he said, ravaged the entire globe and slowed down businesses.

“A lot of global and local businesses that are supposed to launch new business ideas, products and services, have slowed down because of the effect of COVId-19. Although most people have moved towards online businesses, but majority of them are using apps to address their online needs, and it is only when new businesses are registered online, that people tend to buy new domain names to register such business,” Rudman further said.