Johannesburg - South Africans could soon choose to register their internet sites by using city specific domains, or speciality fields like sport instead of the .co.za domain, the .za Domain Name Authority said on Thursday.
This was due to the boom experienced in the .za domain, said .za Domain Name Authority general manager, Vika Mpisane in a statement.
"The number of internet users now using the South African domain co.za has passed the 500 000 milestone and is increasing at an impressive rate as more and more people register.
"The authority is looking at offering South Africans more secure and easily identifiable options in .za... a limited number of new domains may be opened to provide users with a wider choice including city specific domains," said Mpisane.
Apart from considering domains like sport, food and local city-specific ones, the authority was also considering re-opening domains like web.za and net.za, said Mpisane.
"The recent experience globally has shown that city-specific domains may generate a lot of excitement in the market. The Authority will be willing to explore the possibility of adding city-specific domains in .za," he said.
To avoid issues of trademark and brand name abuse which were likely to hinder the expansion as cyber squatters attempt to profit from confusing or abusing known brands online, the authority will get the Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) Regulations extended to cover other .za domains, said Mpisane.
The ADR process currently covers the .co.za domain only, the largest under the .za banner.
He said the boom on the .za domain was due to South African businesses being aware of the benefits of registering with their country's domain name.
"There are vital reasons to register a .za domain name. Not only do you enjoy the benefit of your country of location being easily identifiable online, as opposed to .com or .org where you are somebody somewhere in the world, you also know that any legal disputes over your name will be settled locally.
"This is not the case with non-South African domains - when you register a .biz, .com, or .net names, you are exposed to foreign jurisdictions which might have severe cost implications.