The Dot Nom Dot Za Domain

South Africa partakes in the multistakeholder model of internet governance, which grants some role to civil society along with government & business. One interesting result of this is that we have a non-commercial domain space for personal use, in the form of [your_name] URLs of which each person may have (not own - you can’t sell it) one for life (on condition they actually use it). This has been around for years but almost nobody knows about it, because most of the people who do, work in the industry which makes money renting out domains by the year, and they would lose trade if they advertised a free alternative.

For those not acquainted with domain administration, let me point out that once you have the basic domain, you can add subdomains, for example (of course you still have to arrange hosting for whatever content your domains & subdomains point to, but free and cheap options exist - such as Ctrl-C Club!).

The most exciting (to me) aspect of this is that the intention is, when 10 000 such domains have been registered, to call a general meeting of registrants at which the future of the name-space will be decided, with a preference towards co-operative governance. While it may be helpful to have the government involved in some way (e.g. in resolving contested identities), the last thing we want is for politicians to have the power to deprive anyone of their domain. Hence some form of foundation or trust could be launched as titular holder of the space.

Screenshot of the login page of the website