Nigerians would rather have a .com web address than .ng—and not just because it’s cheaper

Visiting .com or .ng?
Visiting .com or .ng?
Image: AP Photo/George Osodi
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On the internet, Nigerians are opting for more global identities through web addresses.

Nigeria Internet Registration Association (NiRA), the body in charge of the process of registering .ng domains, Nigeria’s country code top level domain (ccTLD), is worried that Nigerians aren’t that enthusiastic about splashing out on a local address. So far only 80,000 .ng domains have been registered in the country  but over in South Africa over a million .za domain names have been registered according to Sunday Folayan, NiRA president, who says .ng registration is ”low and needs to be embraced.

On the face of it one simple explanation for the low rate of adoption is price. Compared to more popular web domains available in Nigeria, the country’s .ng domains are far more expensive, costing more than double what it takes to register a .com, .org or .net domain.

But another reason .ng domains are not flying off the rack is likely because .com web addresses offer a global outlook, something that’s cherished in Nigeria’s marketplace.

“Experience has shown clients prefer .com domains because of their dreams of going global and not just being a local business,” Dikachim Nwankwo, a Lagos-based digital media strategist, tells Quartz. “The hype behind .ng domains was about getting clever domains such as trendi.ng or shoppi.ng but Nigerians have not been proven to care much about that,” Nwankwo says.

To reverse the trend and boost .ng registrations, the NiRA is planning online and offline marketing campaigns. But there’s just one problem: rather than hinge it on core benefits, such as the likelihood of availability of preferred web addresses, NiRA will seemingly hinge its campaign on intangible national pride. “It is right to flaunt our national identity in cyberspace, it is our own, it is our pride,” Folayan said, according to Premium Times.