Comment of a Registrar from an *Underserved* region!
As an ICANN Accredited Registrar from an Underserved Region, and being implicated in the last few years with ICANN in developping Domain Name industry in both Middle East and Africa, I will share some of the key thoughts!
2 Years ago I met Fadi Chehade in Addis Abbeba where he stated that we would like to have 25 Registrars instead of 6 in the region back at that time and I told him: With all due respect, domain names are not drugs, it's not by increasing the number of Registrars that the number of domain names will grow.
I do not want lesser barriers for Registrars from underserved regions, not that I'm being selfish because I somehow overcame these barriers, but still! One thing I learned about ICANN is everyone is the same! if we would like to address this issue, then we should not treat Africa or Middle east any differently.
To develop the Domain Name industry, it's a whole ecosystem that needs to be put in place, to talk about E Commerce, we need to talk first about Commerce.
I was last month in Benin for an event about Domain names trademark and we had two power outage during the event, when you go out at night, there is no proper public lighting... The problem is here! You can't talk about Domain name nor Internet where you don't have electricity or lack of electricity.
We have spent ten of thousands dollars in campaigns, tradeshows, street marketing to try and raise awareness about the importance of being online, but we just noticed that we are throwing money out of the window, people just don't get what we are offering, tried the approach of offering a professionnal emails, tried freemium, and the solution was just to stop spending anymore energy and money in this. The only way this could work is one to one meetings but we just can't afford doing to sell a hosting and domain name for 30 bucks a year, neither offering much higher values for more money because then business won't be able to afford it.
What ICANN should do, is work closely with the established Registrars to develop this together, then when the industry flourishes, other players may see an opportunity here and therefore become Registrars and probably not the other way around!