The KeNIC we want is one that delivers, lives, breathes its mandate:
increase the uptake of .ke domains, full stop!
KeNIC is the largest player in the Kenyan ccTLD market, setting the pace
of the local domain market. It is thus instructive that the body acts in
the best interest of growing the market. It must avoid any moves that run
counter to this goal.
There are 4 key factors in the success of any business: price, product,
place and promotion. The 4 P’s of marketing. In our case, the product is
the domain, which for all practical purposes, is a commodity. The place is
‘everywhere with an internet connection’, meaning that you can now get a
.ke domain from all over the world. Promotion is generally Internet-based,
as the case with most other domains. The big P however, is the price –
which was kind-of okay until 2017, when it was doubled overnight.
In a commodity market, eg sugar, salt etc, the biggest determiner of a
successful sale is the price. Not allusion to patriotism or other such
ideas. A case in point; when at a supermarket, what drives the purchase of
a 2 kg pack of sugar? Country of origin, or price? What is your answer if
one 2kg packet is 250/- while the other is 500/-? This very scenario is the
current scene in the local domain market. And yes, to the non-attached
person, a domain name serves the simple purpose of translating a
human-readable name into an ip address. mydukakenya.com vs
mygeneralduka.co.ke inspire little difference to many – thus a commodity.
But why is this important? In your question, Bw. Kivuva, you posited that
South Africa has 1.3 million domains while Kenya has 80,000 domains. A
quick glance through the Internet (place, promotion) shows that the annual
renewal for a .co.za is 75 rand, roughly equivalent to 525 Kenya shillings.
Now, this is the price of the commodity in a South African market where the
GDP per capita is USD 7,500 (KES 750,000). In comparison, the wholesale
renewal price, as set by KeNIC, is a whopping 1,160 Kenya shillings –
double the South African retail price. For a registrar to sell this off at
a decent margin, the price set will be around KES 2,320! This, by the way,
is in a Kenyan market whose GDP per capita is USD 3,000 (KES 300,000).
In a nutshell, we are selling the commodity at *4 times the price* to
people with *half the economic power* and wondering why they are not buying
from us.The comparison is worse when considering the .com domains where
most buyers are in the American economy. Ditto the .de domains and the
German economy. *It is the equivalence of selling a loaf of bread for
400/- at a local Kenyan supermarket. A supermarket where other loaves of
bread are going for 50/-. *
This thus begs the question, what would push a body, whose sole reason for
existence is to encourage the adoption of Kenyan domains, make such a
clearly blinded move? The earlier conversations here about governance – how
we do things – come to the fore. As general knowledge, governance is the
glue that ties the organization to its mandate. When governance is poor,
the organization drifts away from its mandate. All decisions and movements
made by KeNIC must be to the benefit of the Kenyan domain market.
If the allegations made by one of KeNIC’s members, DRAKE, are thus founded,
then one must draw a line of connection between this bad pricing situation
and bad governance. The inefficiencies and losses suffered through poor
governing systems must be covered by something, or someone. Inefficiencies
come up through bad purchases that bring little value back,
market-insensitive decisions, poor hiring and firing reasons – the list
goes on. These inefficiencies are covered by higher domain prices. As
discussed above, this is as short-sighted as it can be, market loss is