.ZA Ups Registry Fees, Introduces Registry Lock

South Africa’s ccTLD registry ZACR (ZA Central Registry) has announced the introduction of a Registry Lock as a means of better protecting registrants from domain name theft. And ZADNA announced last week they will be increasing the registry fee for .za domain names on 1 April 2021.

The introduction of the Registry Lock [pdf] means when an added layer of protection for registrants against unauthorised or accidental administrative changes of a domain name, attempted deletion or takeover due to, for example, a cyberattack, error or unauthorised action of third parties.

There will be an additional cost involved in securing .za domain names with a Registry Lock, which is common amongst top-level domain administrators, due to extra costs incurred, mostly in time by registrars and registries, however the cost is inconsequential to business, especially if one’s domain name is hijacked by criminals. This can lead to major losses of reputation and sales. Businesses known to have suffered having their domain name hijacked, and which the option of a Registry Lock likely would likely have prevented, in recent years even include Google, among other high-profile brands.

But while there is this added level of protection, evidence from TLDs around the world is despite their benefits they haven’t proven popular.

“Following a process of policy development and approvals from local and international domain name authorities — the ZA Domain Name Authority and the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) respectively — the ZACR is happy to announce that it is now offering this further layer of protection for the (newer) EPP-based domain names under its management,” the registry said in a statement.

The Registry Lock is available for co.za, net.za, org.za and web.za as well as the four new gTLDs the registry operates, .africa, .capetown, .durban and .joburg.

“The process is quite seamless, as it requires our channel partners (EPP-accredited Registrars) to provide the Registry with a passphrase via a telephonic validation process to enable changes, such as updates, transfers and deletes to be processed on a selected domain name. Manual intervention, although not perfect, has the current benefit of not being easily manipulated like fully automated systems,” said ZACR CEO, Lucky Masilela.

Additionally, following a review of the wholesale EPP fee and the Legacy System fee, last week ZADNA (.za Domain Name Authority), the .za regulator, announced an increase in the EPP wholesale fee (the fee charged to registrars) for co.za, org.za, web.za and net.za domain names of R10.00 from 01 April 2021.

There will also be an increase the Legacy System fee of R10.00 as of 01 January 2021. Moreover, in consultation with key stakeholders, an end date to terminate the Legacy System will be determined and announced upon reaching a decision.

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