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domains ICANN: 2023 Africa Domain Name Industry Study

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May 28, 2024

While domain names are the primary focus of this study, there are several inter-related factors that contribute to the health – or lack thereof – of the DNS industry within each African country. We found that the various countries were very diverse in how they have succeeded under various metrics. For example, Mali, Equatorial Guinea, Central African Republic, and Gabon had high numbers of domains because of these being given away by Freenom and SafeCow, some others have had some success in exploiting their ccTLDs potential for a domain hack, while others have not.

While many indices of various types are published, none of them met the specific requirement of this Study to quantify success in the DNS Industry in Africa. In addition, few of them consider all 54 countries. For example, one of the best known is the ITU’s ICT Development Index211. This has recently been revised212 and the 2023 edition213 was published in December 2023. This was after the publication of the Draft Final Report of this Study. This is unfortunately too late to enable extensive revision of this report to incorporate their figures.

However, it only had data for 39 Africa countries and was discontinued in 2017. As a result, we have developed a Country DNS Success Index (CDSI) based on a combination of the rankings of all 54 countries in Africa on each of the following criteria:

Number of domains registered under the ccTLD.
Number of gTLD domains identified as having an African Registrant.
Number of webpages indexed by Google.
Price of registration (Lower is better).
Number of Registrars.
Number of locally hosted websites.
....

Read more / download PDF (section 6)
 
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Interesting, thanks for sharing.
 
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The most noticeable reductions in the number of recorded ccTLDs are in Mali (from 240,000 domains in
2017 down to 8,000 domains in 2023) and Gabon, which has dropped from 690,000 down to 5,000. These
enormous changes are most likely due to the demise of SafeCow,47 which used to sell them as “domain
hacks”, which is discussed in Section 5.3.3, as is the more recent demise of Freenom.
That's quite extreme...

However, this document says .ga deleted almost seven million domains in 2023, after FreeNom contranct termination. "ANINF estimates that there are currently over 7 million domain names in stock in the .ga name base. However, independent bodies consider that there is widespread technical abuse on ‘.ga’ domain names. As part of this switch-over operation, several million domain names will be deleted as the previous operator has not provided the data that concern them."

I couldn't find a similar data/analysis for .ml but they also terminated (or let expire) their contract with FreeNom in 2023. Since .ml was free before .ga, I suspect there might have been a similar or larger number of free .ml domains in circulation.
 
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