The Malian ccTLD has announced it will start giving away .ml domain names for free, becoming the second ccTLD to do so after Tokelauâs .tk.
The Dot ML Registry has published the launch schedule for .ML, which will be operated by the Agence des Technologies de l’Information et de la Communication (AGETIC) as a generic, unrestricted, clean and global TLD focusing on individuals and businesses in- and outside Mali.
Free domain names will be offered to all internet users in both Mali and other countries from 15 July onwards. This General Availability will be preceded by a Sunrise and Landrush period, to protect trademark holders worldwide. There will be no restrictions to registrations of free domains and anyone can claim their own .ml domain. It is intended that renewals will also be free of charge.
“Providing free domain names to our own community and to internet users worldwide is a great opportunity for us,” says Hawa Diakite, Chef Service Gestion du .ml of AGETIC. “Because of the events in the Northern part of Mali we have been under a lot of stress lately. We believe that providing free domain names to our internet population will greatly improve the usage and the knowledge of the IT industry in our country.”
Freedom Registry, which is also behind .tk, will provide registry services. Freedom Registry is claiming that with its free domains, Dot TK is the largest ccTLD, with more than 16 million active domain names, ahead of Germanyâs .de with 15.4m.
The .ML launch schedule was released during the ICANN meeting currently underway in Beijing, China. The launch schedule includes a Sunrise, Landrush and General Availability phase. Sunrise starts on 1 May 2013 and will last until 31 May. Landrush will begin the following day and will end on 14 July. General Availability starts on 15 July at the ICANN meeting in Durban, South Africa.
“We are proud to be the first African nation to give domain names for free,” says Moussa Dolo, General Manager of AGETIC. “By providing free domain names to internet users worldwide we will put Mali back on the map. We wish to show the rest of the world the fantastic opportunities our country has to offer.”
During Sunrise and Landrush, hundreds of generic and premium domain names will be released. People interested in developing and utilizing .ML domains are invited to contact the Registry to discuss strategic partnership opportunities.
General Availability will start on 15 July, at which point domain names will be available on a “first-come, first-served” basis. Resellers are not required to perform any technical integration for Sunrise and Landrush and can simply connect to the Registry via API or EPP in time for the General Availability. All phases of the ML launch are open to hosting providers, registrars and trademark protection agencies. Further details on the launch schedule, FAQs and the reseller registration process are available on www.dot.ml.