Sweet deal for free domains apparently hijacked. Update: Fixed the next day. “Gabon provides .GA domain names for free,” read the press release on September 3, but around 8 a.m. or so New York time Thursday September 5, the website started rejecting all domain names – unless you went to their shop to pay.
No matter what I put in, the message came back “Invalid domain name.” I was hoping for healthnews.ml, but that and any other name I tried all came back with the same message. “Invalid.” I even tried for Fadi Chehade, the head of ICANN. He sets the rules, but here he was invalid.
Later, I found a button marked “shop.” There I discovered all the “invalid” domains suddenly became valid if I were willing to pay $19.95. To prove that, I bought bestmovies. It had been marked “invalid” on the free service, but was immediately available at the shop. I;m guessing what’s going on is that the Dutch realized there was money to be made, but they haven’t returned my emails.
Dutch company Freenom runs .ga on behalf of Gabon. They received the contract after pledging they would offer .ga domains for free, as you can see in their press release below. They also have Mali, CAR and the very profitable Tokelau. Not everything is free; the valuable short domains go for $500/year. You can register the domain for free, but you can’t transfer or sell it without paying. It’s a very sweet deal for Freenom even if they hold strictly to the terms.
“We are proud to be the first African nation to give domain names for free,“ says Moussa Dolo, General Manager of AGETIC for the Malian government. “By providing free domain names to internet users worldwide we will put Mali back on the map. We wish to show the rest of the world the fantastic opportunities our country has to offer.“
I did get Hamadoun.ml and am creating a site for my friend, Hamadoun Touré, coming to New York for the U.N. Broadband Commission.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Gabon provides .GA domain names for free
AMSTERDAM – September 3rd 2013. Gabon liberalizes its national domain and adopts an innovative business model by giving its .GA domain names away for free. Today the My GA Registry opened up registration for .GA domains. My GA – the Gabon domain name – is operated by the Agence
Nationale des Infrastructures Numériques et des Fréquences (ANINF) who pledges to make this national resource as open and easy to use as any generic Top Level Domain, while carrying the Gabonese identity on the internet. Free domain names will be offered to all internet users in Gabon and in other countries from today onwards. There will be no restrictions to registrations of free domains and anyone can claim their own .GA domain. Free .GA domains work exactly like any other extension and can be renewed each registration period at no charge.In accordance with international best practices, Gabon also completed a Sunrise and Landrush period, allowing trademark owners to register their corresponding domain names and protect their intellectual property in the .GA namespace.
“Gabon is working hard to become one of the leading IT hubs in Africa”, says Cyriaque Kouma, DIG Project Manager at ANINF. “By giving our .GA domain names away for free we can encourage businesses and individuals in Gabon to develop their web presence and web applications and in turn diversify our economy and promote e-commerce. This strategy is an important part of our country’svision to develop the Digital Gabon.”
The .GA Registry uses a global AnyCast Cloud, with local nodes in Libreville and in several other
countries, to ensure excellent performance and continuous uptime of all domains worldwide. This
AnyCast Cloud ties directly into the systems of Freenom, a company known for its expertise and
knowledge in the sector, and who works alongside ANINF in this ambitious project.”Thanks to the AnyCast technology our GA Top Level Domain is now one of the most stable in the
world”, Cyrique Kouma continues. “In the past there were several outages of the entire .GA domain,
which hurt the reputation of the registry. But that is behind us now, and our users can rest assured
that their domains will always work no matter what.”
The reintroduction of My GA in 2013 coincides with the “Year of the Internet” in Gabon. Local
businesses and individuals will soon be able to take advantage of the increased connectivity from the
new ACE oceanic cable, which will help spur the growth of the Gabonese IT sector.
Domain names are available on a “first-come, first-served” basis. Resellers are welcome to sign up
and provide further domain name distribution. Further details on the launch, FAQs and the reseller
registration procedure are available on www.my.ga.
About My GA
My GA is an initiative of the Agence Nationale des Infrastructures Numériques et des Fréquences
(ANINF) in Libreville, Gabon. In line with the government’s strategy and local internet community’s
wishes, ANINF’s mission is to develop and promote the usage of domain names and make the .GA
accessible to all. ANINF uses the infrastructure and expertise of Freenom to run the GA domain in a
stable and automated way. With its experienced team, multi-redundant backbones and DNS rootservers located in every corner of the world, My GA can handle millions of registrations and is fully
Freenom is a registry operator for Top Level Domains, and the pioneer of the free domain model. Its
mission is to offer an alternative business model to TLDs in order to make them competitive on the
global domain market. Freenom was previously known under the Freedom Registry name. Its first
joint venture, the .TK Top Level Domain of the nation of Tokelau, was started in 2001 and is today the
largest country code in the world with over 18 million active domains. Thanks to this innovative
model, .TK has more domains registered than Russia and China combined. Freenom is now reaching
out to countries interested in giving their national TLD a new start.
Media contacts and logo pack:
Please contact Marcel Trik at My GA at : [email protected] / T: +31 20 5315726