In the domain name world there is a distinct line drawn between a generic Top Level Domain “gTLD” (e.g. .com) and a country code Top Level Domain “ccTLD” (e.g. co.uk and .de). Most businesses use .com or other gTLDs to create an international presence while the ccTLD is mostly used to target a local market.
HSBC uses hsbc.com to promote its overall business around the globe while hsbc.co.uk is used to provide specific services to clients based in the UK.
The United Republic of Tanzania, through the Tanzania Communications Regulatory Authority (TCRA), manages the .TZ ccTLD, with the most popular being CO.TZ. In 2018, TCRA passed a law requiring all businesses in Tanzania to “register and use” a .TZ domain.
It mandates that a .TZ domain name be used for “all official correspondences unless where proved technically not possible”. If a business does not comply (e.g. uses a .COM domain and not a .TZ domain) they will be prosecuted by TCRA.
Below is an edited extract of the type of notice a business in Tanzania may receive if they breach local laws. This does pose a risk to international companies conducting business in Tanzania who may be unaware of this law.
A brief search reveals how international and local companies could be affected by this law.
Swissport (an international aviation services company) has a
local company registered in Tanzania yet they use swissport.com as
the main means of communications in that country, however, the
domain name swissport.co.tz appears to
be registered by a local registrar.
If swissport.co.tz has been registered
by a squatter Swissport may have to follow the local Domain
Dispute Resolution procedures to recover the domain name.
Swala Oil and Gas (Tanzania) plc is an oil and gas company listed on the Dar es Salaam Stock Exchange yet they use swalaoilandgas.com while the matching local domain name swalaoilandgas.co.tz is available for registration.
It is recommended that all companies comply with the law and register their matching co.tz domain names as soon as possible firstly, to avoid prosecution and secondly, to avoid being victims of domain name squatting.
Lexsynergy is a locally accredited TZ registrar working with international and local clients to ensure TZ compliance.