So DotAfrica is finally about to launch. Years of being embroiled in legal disputes would make anyone impatient to start earning revenue. But sending out marketing emails based on the argument that people should register their trademarks before someone else does? Really?
For a registry, this seems so 2012. Surely now that new gTLDs are with us, registrants are looking for value in specific strings rather than trying to register in every single one for protection? A task that not only seems Herculean and mega expensive, but also slightly passé thanks to the new mechanisms like the Trademark Clearinghouse (TMCH) and the Uniform Rapid Suspension System (URS) which came with the new gTLD program.
So to get an email from DotAfrica entitled “THE RISK OF NOT SECURING DOTAFRICA DOMAINS NOW” and which reads: “Trademark owners who don’t register dotAfrica (.africa) domain names matching their brand names during the sunrise phase, which commenced on 4 April and will run until 2 June, could find themselves incurring significant legal costs later on… “
Well let’s just say DotAfrica could probably do a much better job of enticing people to sign up for the new domain. Perhaps by highlighting the positive reasons to register a DotAfrica…
The email did serve one purpose though. It confirms the DotAfrica launch dates (Sunrise from April 4 to June 2, then a 5-phase Landrush from June 5 to 30th, before general availability starts on July 4).
Plus it lays out an interesting initiative from DotAfrica, as an alternative to the TMCH. The registry is offering the Mark Validation System (MVS) to validate trademarks which are not yet registered, company names, trust names and common law trademarks, as well as to grant protection to registered trademarks owned by people who did not go for the TMCH.