Application Comment Details


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DotConnectAfrica

DotConnectAfrica Trust

ZA Central Registry NPC trading as Registry.Africa

AFRICA

1-1243-89583

Geographic Names Evaluation Panel

Not an African Community application

4 September 2012 at 15:28:53 UTC

UniForum has submitted a standard, non-Community Application for .AFRICA without applying on behalf of the ‘African Community’.

A Communiqué released by the AU Commission not too long ago revealed that it had selected UniForum as the registry operator that would be applying for .AFRICA on behalf of the African Community. The Communiqué notes: “the AU Commission selected UniForum SA (the ZA Central Registry Operator or ZACR), to administer and operate dotAfrica gTLD on behalf of the African community.” (See http://www.au.int/en/sites/default/files/AUC-dotAfrica-Communique-.pdf). However, following the ICANN publication of the list of applied-for strings and applicants, it was revealed that UniForum has not applied for a .AFRICA Community TLD but instead submitted a standard application for the geographic TLD. Their answer to Question 19 (Is the application for a community-based TLD?) indicates ‘No’.

It is clear from this answer that the .Africa gTLD application submitted by UniForum ZA CR is not a Community TLD application. However, reading through their application, it is quite obvious that an attempt is being made to characterize it as the official African Community application that is sanctioned by the AU Commission, African governments and the African Internet Community. DCA believes that the application submitted by UniForum is an outright misrepresentation and fraud

One only needs to see the published parts of UniForum’s application and their answers to Questions 19 and 20 to verify that UniForum deliberately failed to name any Community in their official answers to ICANN. We strongly urge the ICANN Evaluation to pay particular attention to this and fail them accordingly.

In their answer to Question 19 (“Is the application for a Community based TLD?”), they unequivocally stated “No”. The question No. 20 (a) – (e) which immediately follows: (a) Provide the name and full description of the community that the applicant is committing serve; UniForum intentionally left it blank, thus indicating that they have not actually named any community that they claim to be committing to serve in their .Africa application.

According to the published parts of their application, all the key questions relating to a Community TLD have been blank (Nos. 19, 20 (a) – (e); meanwhile, they keep trying to identify their application as belonging to the African Community based on their presumed relationship with African Internet Community Organizations. We urge the ICANN Evaluation not to be fooled by this dishonest gimmick. If they have actually submitted an application on behalf of the African Community according to their putative, or rather specious, letter of support from the AU Commission, then they should have been confident enough to truthfully answer question Nos. 19, 20 (a) – 20 (e), and reconciled same to their stated Mission & Purpose.

Therefore, their claim that they have the support of African country governments cannot be substantiated, since the African Governments have been misled to provide support for an African Community TLD application, but none was actually submitted to ICANN by UniForum based on the answers provided to above questions.

We believe that by not submitting a Community TLD application on behalf of the African Community, such letters of support from the AU or African Governments are no longer valid, and have become illegitimate after the fact.