Trademark holders can now apply for reservation of their chosen domain names within South Africa’s three new city Top-Level Domains (cTLDs), following the commencement of pre-registration by the ZA Central Registry (ZACR).

The parallel Sunrise and Landrush periods began yesterday (1 July) and are intended to protect the rights of intellectual property owners who will receive priority when it comes to registering domain names within the dotJoburg (.joburg), dotCapetown (.capetown) and dotDurban (.durban) cTLDs.

This parallel period will run for 90 days. General availability will follow, during which any Internet user globally will be able to register a South African cTLD, on a first-come, first-served basis.

“The imminent availability of dotJoburg (.joburg), dotCapetown (.capetown) and dotDurban (.durban) domain names is a golden opportunity for organisations and individuals with a particular affinity for South Africa’s three best-known cities to claim a piece of their valuable brands,” says Vika Mpisane, CEO of the ZA Domain Name Authority (ZADNA).

While the ZACR operates, and now the SA cTLDs, ZADNA is the government-appointed regulator of the greater .ZA namespace.

The Landrush period is the first opportunity that the general public will get to apply for an Internet domain name using the new .durban, .joburg or .capetown suffix. This period does not employ the first-come, first-served principle, but will instead open an application window for 120 days, running concurrently with the Sunrise period. During this phase, registration requests will be submitted for generic and premium domains.

Registration of names will follow the usual process where applicants register names through their chosen accredited registrars.

“As is normal practice, different registrars will charge different prices due to bundled services they provide in addition to the basic domain name registration service,” says Mpisane.