Frequently Asked Questions

If you cannot find an answer to your question from the list below, please feel free to contact us and we will revert as soon as possible.

Registrars can view Technical information concerning the Onboarding Process here.

We have launched all new ZA city TLDs on 1 July 2014. See for the latest updates.

The ZA Central Registry (ZACR) is the designated applicant for .capetown, .durban and .joburg TLDs, based on a mandate from ZADNA, the Department of Communications and local authorities. As the applicant, the ZACR retains the rights and responsibilities of administering the TLDs, including reporting to and interacting with ICANN itself. The ZACR’s administrative functions for the city TLDs will be overseen by ZADNA and the relevant city authorities (incl. national, provincial and local government).

ICANN is the entity responsible for allocating TLDs (otherwise known as generic Top Level Domains or gTLDs). It is a multi-stakeholder-driven organisation that manages the central root zone (repository) of the Internet domain name system (DNS). ICANN elected to open up the root zone for additional TLDs following the growth of current gTLDs (such as .com, net, org), which eventually led to competition in the registration of domain names being stifled due to decreasing availability of desirable names.

ICANN is therefore responsible for the establishment of new TLDs, including prescribing general standards for their administration. However, ICANN does not determine the purpose, qualifying criteria or the detailed operational policies for a TLD. This is left to the applicant.

ICANN sets basic requirements and standard (technical, regulatory, administrative) that each new TLD registry must meet. Beyond this the TLD applicant must decide the manner in which the TLD should be run on an operational level. In the present case, the ZACR is the applicant and, together with the ZADNA and the various authorities, will determine the operating policies and procedures for the city TLDs.

You will be able to register your domain name from any ZACR Accredited Registrar. See a list of Accredited Registrars here.

Will all domain names for Durban, Cape Town or Johannesburg have to change?
No. Your existing domain names will continue as per normal. See the Value Proposition above for good reasons to have a City domain name.

Will my domain, www.welcome***** become obselete?
No. You can continue to use any existing domain.

Can you please inform me how I go about registering a .durban, .capetown or .joburg domain name?
Registration can only take place through an Accredited ZACR Registrar.

I'd like to find out if we could reserve certain names on the new gTLDs.
You will be able to reserve a name before General Availability if you are a trademark or rights holder. Where there is contention between two rights holders, the domain will placed in auction. Subscribe to our newsletter and we will keep you posted during each step of the launch process.

The overall primary purpose of the three (3) city TLDs is to provide local authorities with an online platform through which they can promote their respective cities as tourist and/or business destinations. This is keeping with the trend set by some of the leading cities in the world, including London, Paris, Tokyo, New York and Sydney who have also applied for their corresponding city TLDs.

A secondary, but no less valuable objective is to allow the local public access to the TLDs. Should they elect to register and use these new domain names they will indirectly, in the course of their trade and social interactions, promote the city brands. Think of private citizens and organisations using the city names in their corporate website URLs or as part of their private email addresses.

The expectation is that local authorities should include (or engage with) officials from the tourism, communications, marketing, policy, legal and strategy divisions. This is due to the fact that launching a new TLD will cut across these functions and more.

ZADNA will assume this responsibility, in consultation with ZACR and the relevant local, provincial and national authorities. While ZADNA will drive the overall policy coordination and public consultation campaigns, the ZACR will establish and implement supplemental operational policies and procedures. Operational policies are supplementary and based on the dictates of ICANN’s requirements and the general policies and charters established by ZADNA.

As indicated above, ZADNA as the domain name authority of South Africa, is driving the policy development and consultation processes concerning the city TLDs. As part of this process ZADNA, in collaboration with ZACR and the relevant authorities, is responsible for establishing education and awareness campaigns for the city TLDs. The city authorities themselves will be encouraged to assist and participate in these campaigns, which could mean the difference between the success or failure of the dotCity project as a whole. Of critical importance is the development and implementation of uniform polices and standards across all three (3) city TLDs in order to avoid unnecessary complexity and confusion amongst the user community.

Other than the US$185,000 (about R1,6 million) application fee paid for each TLD, a substantial amount of time and money has been invested into this project by the ZACR and ZADNA. Much more time and money will need to be invested in the coming months to ensure that the TLDs are successfully launched.

A wholesale (the amount charged to the Registrar) fee of approximately R180, per domain name, per year is currently proposed. This fee is internationally competitive and is intended (in part) to mitigate against over speculation and abuse within the names space.

Once ICANN approves the applications, the ZACR will launch the TLDs and commence the public allocating of second (2nd) level domain names in a phased and controlled manner. A key factor for the launch of each TLD concerns the protection of priority rights (trade mark and other recognised intellectual property -IP- rights) when allocating domain names. Various mechanisms have been developed both locally and internationally to ensure that trade mark and IP rights holders can submit and validate their priority right claims prior to the launch of the TLD.

The key rights protection mechanisms include:

- Reserved Name List (RNL) programme to ensure that national, provincial and local authorities are afforded an opportunity to reserve domain names that meet the RNL criteria.

- Sunrise process to allow priority rights holders an opportunity to secure their trade mark and other recognised intellectual property rights prior to general availability.

- Alternate Dispute Resolution (ADR) mechanisms that are intended to ensure that abusive and/or offensive domain names are dealt with appropriately.

A wholesale (the amount charged to the Registrar) fee of approximately R180, per domain name, per year is currently proposed. This fee is internationally competitive and is intended (in part) to mitigate against over speculation and abuse within the names space.

Free market (competitive) principles will govern the retail fee that Registrars will charge Registrants (users). It is likely, but not a certainty, that the retail fee will be higher than the wholesale fee. It really depends on the Registrar’s business model and whether it intends to bundle additional value added services onto the domain name.

We estimate that the likely retail fee for a second level city domain name will be in the region of R200 – R400 per year (excl. VAT).

All funds will be accounted for in an open and transparent manner and this will naturally be made available to the relevant authorities. It is unlikely that the operation of the city TLDs will reach a break-even point in the short to medium term. This is the risk that ZACR has taken in applying for the TLDs. In essence, the operation of the TLDs will be subsidised from the revenue generated from the delegation of .ZA domain names. It must be noted that ZACR is a not-for-profit company, and therefore operates on a cost recovery principle.

If, in the future, significant surpluses are generated through administration of the domain names it is likely that the wholesale price will be lowered. Any accrued surpluses will be reported and will be committed to socio-economic developmental projects agreed to with the relevant local authorities.

National, provincial and local authorities will be required to compile a reserved name list of domain names that meet the RNL criteria. Beyond the RNL process the ZACR will delegate the balance of the available names on a first-come, first-served basis to the public.

Generally the three (3) city TLD applications are at the same stage because they were applied for during the same application window. Although the intention is to launch all three (3) cities at the same time, ICANN has allocated prioritisation numbers to applications through a lottery, and has prioritised their evaluation based on the number allocated.

Currently, .durban is ranked the lowest in the ICANN prioritization scheme, and will therefore be evaluated ahead of the other two (2) applications. However, the other two (2) applications should be evaluated within a short space of time after .durban. This means there is a good likelihood that the three (3) city TLDs will be launched at the same time.

Other city TLDs (e.g. .London and .Paris etc.) are also going through the ICANN initial evaluation phase. Some of these TLDs are substantially more advanced in terms of their launch planning and marketing efforts. However, the ZACR and ZADNA are upping the ante and, with the assistance and partnership of the relevant authorities, we will soon catch up and surpass our international competition.

Please refer to:

148 Helsinki
199 Tokyo
200 Paris
294 Okinawa
303 Durban
307 Africa
350 Melbourne
423 Berlin
465 NYC
566 Joburg
635 London
761 CapeTown

Pre-registration or Reservation of domain names is not possible. The concept of reservation is a common practice amongst Registrars whereby a "best-effort" is applied in order to obtain the domain name when the namespace launches. Any application submitted during any of the DotCities Sunrise phase must have a corresponding validation token (SMD) in order to obtain the highest possible priority allocation.

If an applicant wants to secure the best possible claim to a domain name application during the launch, it must be associated with a pre-validated trade mark in either the TMCH or MVS. Without this a claim to the corresponding domain name is relegated to lesser priority status. The official way in which you can best secure your rights to a name in the new ZACR gTLD namespace would be through the pre-validation of a registered mark.