South Africa’s Naspers, and its subsidiary MultiChoice, may soon forfeit the generic top-level domains (TLDs) they applied for in 2012.
The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, better known as Icann, has sent termination notices regarding 10 TLDs owned by Naspers and MultiChoice, the pay-TV operator that owns DStv, M-Net and SuperSport.
Examples of TLDs include the popular .com, .gov and .net.
According to the specialist website Domain Name Wire, the 10 TLDs in jeopardy are .naspers, .payu, .supersport, .mzansimagic, .mnet, .kyknet, .africamagic, .multichoice, .dstv and .gotv.
According to the website, the domains were applied for as .brand TLDs but Naspers and MultiChoice have been slow to proceed to delegation (a final part of the process of assigning the domains).
“Icann warned last month that it would begin termination proceedings with applicants for about 200 top-level domain names unless their owners showed progress toward delegating the strings,” the website reported. “The laggards are .brand applicants who are probably rethinking their decisions to operate a registry.”
The TLDs would have allowed Naspers and MultiChoice to operate websites such as investors.naspers, guide.dstv and rugby.supersport.
Applications for the TLDs cost US$185 000 each (about R2,8m at the current exchange rate, or R28m for the 10 domains).
Former DStv Online CEO John Kotsaftis, who now heads streaming video service ShowMax in South Africa, told TechCentral at the time that MultiChoice applied for the domains in 2012 that there were a number of reasons for the applications.
For example, he said it would be easier for consumers to enter Web addresses on mobile phones because they’d be shorter. Also, in the case of .mnet, the company was not able to secure mnet.com, and so it allowed it to create a single brand identity for all the markets across Africa where M-Net was broadcast.
A MultiChoice spokeswoman was not immediately able to respond to questions on the Icann decision and whether the company intends ceding the TLDs. TechCentral will update this article with MultiChoice’s reaction as soon as it’s received. — © 2016 NewsCentral Media