.Co.Za Domains Most Popular Among SA Businesses
According to the results of the latest survey by the South African Domain Name Authority, (ZADNA), South African businesses and private website owners prefer to use .co.za domain names, rather than .com ones.
Although we probably can’t claim much credit for the findings of the survey, we feel that we nonetheless have to point out that we’ve been advising local businesses that they should stick to a .co.za domain name for over a decade. Indeed, we’ve never really understood why local businesses, targeting local customers, should want a .com. It may be because it is perceived as more valuable or more credible, but for local businesses and customers, a local domain makes more sense.
Understanding The Internet
ZADNA’s extensive survey began in November 2009, and involved literally thousands of interviews, both telephonic and online, with domain name registrants that ranged from business people to non-profit organisations. It was finished in February, and according to ZADNA, will help them understand the .co.za market better. They’ll be paying particular attention, they say, to any needed improvements, with the aim of making local domains better serve the interests of South Africans.
Vika Mpisane, ZADNA MD, said, “The research results are very important as they provide answers to most of the questions we and our stakeholders had about improving the .za space. These answers clarify what interventions ZADNA or its stakeholders need to make to improve ZADNA.”
According to the results, some 83% of south African businesses have chosen to use a .co.za domain name for their websites. Although 58% of respondents said that having both a .co.za and a .com domain registered was important, only 15% of businesses actually have a .com domain.
Mr. Mpisane explained that the context of the answer was important though. “The perceived need for registering your product and brand names across multiple domains results from the ever-increasing instances of trademark abuse online. To counter the potential for such abuse, a growing number of local and international businesses now register in as many domains as possible.”
Although other .za domains, such as gov.za and org.za are still outranked by .coms, it is almost certain that this is as a result of the far smaller sector that those specialised domains are focused on, as well as the fact that only a small number of sector-specific sites use such domains.
Interestingly, the lower price of a .co.za domain was only second in the reasons for choosing a local domain. 50% of respondents cited a sense of loyalty to South Africa as the main factor influencing their choice of a local domain name, while 75% percent felt that a local domain gives their business more local online credibility.
One issue that respondents felt strongly about was that it should be easier to register their domains.
In response, Mr. Mpisane said, “The need for more automation can never be over-emphasised, and ZADNA will answer this through the licensing of dot ZA domain registries (i.e. operators of domain name databases) and registrars (i.e. ISPs registering domain names), and the introduction of a central registry that can standardise such automation across most .za domains.”