After years of waiting, it seems that .ng, the international TLD suffix for Nigeria is finally gaining traction. Let’s look more closely at this domain, how it’s growing and why, and also what might be next for domains in Nigeria.
Growth in Nigeria
In the three months leading up to September 2017, domain registrations for .ng, grew by 6%, to a total of 96.130. The biggest of these months was July, with 2,813 new domain registrations. There were also 6,130 domain renewal registrations during this period, showing confidence in the .ng domain suffix.
This announcement was made by the President of the Nigeria Internet Registration Association, Sunday Folayan.
What is .ng?
The domain suffix .ng is the international top-level domain (TLD) for the country of Nigeria in West Africa. Nigeria is the most populated country in Africa and the 7th most populated country in the world. It’s known as the Giant of Africa, with Africa’s largest economy.
Despite this, the .ng domain suffix has been slow to take off and has had a checkered history. The suffix .ng was founded in the early days of the internet, in 1995. Around 100 domain names were registered in 1995, but 10 years later, in 2005, the number of domain names was only around 2000.
The Nigeria Internet Registration Association (NiRA) was established in 2005 to administrate domain name registration in Nigeria. Before NiRA, there were no expiry dates on .ng domains, so if you registered one, it was yours for life whether you used it or not. NiRA put an end to this, and .ng domain names can now be bought for one to five year periods, the standard across the world.
Why is .ng Growing?
The growth of the .ng domain mirrors the growth of the Nigerian economy. To put it simply, as more businesses are founded in Nigeria, more .ng domains will be registered.
NiRA put the growth in .ng registration down to an increase in the number of micro, medium and small businesses being founded. The sign of an economy becoming more sophisticated.
In addition, more people in Nigeria are using the internet, for business and pleasure. E-commerce has taken a while to take off in Nigeria, but now Nigerians are happy to buy things online, just like the rest of the world.
Finally, some of this growth can be credited to the efforts of NiRA. They have extensively promoted take-up of the .ng domain, with their ‘Switch to .ng’ advertising campaign.
Another body, GoOnline Nigeria, has been instrumental in promoting the .ng amongst the business community, through outreach schemes and their oddly named website, goonline.ng.
The growth of .ng is a source of pride for NiRA. It’s seen as a sign that Nigerians are overcoming traditional problems with the online world.
Problems with the Online Landscape in Nigeria
Nigeria has had a difficult relationship with the internet. Things are improving, but problems still remain.
Nigerian people have been slow to adopt the practice of buying things online for many reasons, not least that it can be more expensive than buying products the traditional way. Online payment systems in Nigeria enforce extra charges on the customer, meaning customers wouldn’t use them, and businesses wouldn’t bother setting up shop online. NiRA is looking at ways to abolish these charges or set up new systems that don’t charge people extra.
Next is a lack of knowledge. Nigerian people have not grown up with the internet, and have not learned how it works like they do in the more developed world. At the moment, they consume the internet, but they do not produce. However, as their economy and living standards improve, this will improve too.
There is also a lack of web hosting options in Nigeria, another thing that NiRA is looking to improve. More and more hosting companies are offering domains with the .ng suffix.
Finally, you can’t talk about the internet in Nigeria without mentioning the ‘f’ word. Fraud. Nigeria is synonymous with cybercrime and internet scams. Billions of dollars a year are stolen through crime operations involving Nigeria. It’s no wonder people are wary of setting up businesses online there. However, the government is trying hard to educate people about staying safe online, as well as arresting the perpetrators. It’s so ingrained, it will be hard to eliminate, but Nigeria is trying.
The Future of .ng
All signs point to the further growth of the Nigerian economy, and with, it the .ng domain.
More affordable hosting options are becoming available, encouraging Nigerian businesses to open their doors up to the world online.
Cheaper payment systems will encourage more Nigerians to do business online, and once there are buyers and sellers in one place, eCommerce will grow exponentially.
The 100,000 domain registration level will be reached very soon, if it hasn’t already by the time of publishing. The next milestone, 150,000, won’t be far away. It’s the sign of a growing economy.
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