Why .ke Domains Will be Priced Higher Than .co.ke and Understanding Domain Segmentation

The .ke domain will be premium, come at a higher cost

dot ke

dot keKeNIC (Kenya Network Information Centre), the organization mandated by the Communications Authority to manage the Kenya country code top level domain (ccTLD) last week announced that .ke domain extensions will soon be available for purchase. This is the Kenya second level domain (SLD) extension.

KeNIC has always managed the Kenyan domain extension but on the third level extension .co.ke. This is going by the arrangement shared by all Commonwealth countries to segment the market and make it easy for users to identify the area of operation for the domain owner. It goes as follows:

  • .co.ke for business entities, thus identifying as a commercial entity.
  • .or.ke is intended for non-profit organizations.
  • .ac.ke is for higher learning institutions
  • .sc.ke is for lower learning institutions
  • .go.ke is for government institutions
  • .me.ke is for individuals

According to Abdalla Omari, the KeNIC CEO this covers the basics, by rolling out the second level domain KeNIC considers this a premium domain.

“What KeNIC is now doing is rolling out the second level domain, which will not have a specialization angle, put a general identification. Normally, these kind of domains are taken as premium domains. You will notice, South Africa, which is the 2nd largest economy, is still on the 3rd level domain, that is, .co.za, .ac.za, .org.za. They are yet to roll out their second level the way KeNIC intends to do,” says Abdalla Omari.

KeNic will be rolling out the .KE second level domain as from July 23, 2017, which will happen in four phases:

  • Sunrise Period – Trademark holders whose trademarks have been registered under the Trade Marks ACT (CAP 506) Laws of Kenya, will have 90 days (from 23rd July 2017 to 22nd October 2017) to register Domain Names similar to their trademarks. Applications received during this period will be evaluated during the subsequent Cooling-off period and Domain names will then be allocated to eligible Applicants based on the criteria contained in the Second Level Dot KE Domain (SLD) Policy. During this period, domain names will trade at Ksh.10,000.


  • Land rush Period – KeNIC will run this period for 30 days, 23rd October to 22nd November 2017. Domain names with more than one eligible Applicant will proceed to an auction conducted by the registry between the competing Applicants and awarded to the highest bidder. At the end of the Land-rush Period, applied-for SLD Names with a single eligible Applicant will be allocated to such Applicant. Domain names at the Land rush period will retail for Ksh.9,000.


  • Cooling period – For a period of 30 days after the Sunrise and Land rush period end, KeNIC will assess whether the applications meet the eligibility criteria for the respective phases. Eligible applications will be evaluated and prioritized according to the following principles before Domain names are allocated:
    • Sunrise applications have a priority over Land-rush applications.
    • Land-rush applications with multiple eligible applicants are resolved by means of an auction.
    • Where no eligible applications for a Domain have been received during the Sunrise Period and multiple eligible applications were received during the Land-rush Period, the Applicant or Applicants with a trade mark registered under Trade Marks ACT (CAP 506) Laws of Kenya shall be given priority.


  • General availability – This will begin immediately after the cooling period ends, which is approximately 150 days after the launch of the .KE second level domain. KeNIC recommends that the retail price for the SLD to be Ksh.8,000. KeNIC notes that at this stage, Domains shall be available on a first come first served basis.

Abdalla notes that the higher price for 2nd level revenue will be used to fund various ICT based activities KeNIC needs to do for registrars and the larger community, which the organization is not able to do currently due to financial constraints.

“You will notice, if you have been active in fund raising, these days getting grants to support activities is a very difficult activities. On another note, the 2nd level domain has been able to assist the Nigerian registry to do a lot of activity including, opening a college,” the CEO added.


  1. Nigeria’s NiRA forcefully recalled and put up for sell a trademark-free premium .NG domain after a user had already registered and paid for it. That’s how business is conducted in Africa and it was just sickening.

  2. Why isn’t everyone talking about how expensive hosting locally is? And if you do, the servers are over 6 years old.

    • The business of scale and small funds. Think about the small numbers of people hosting locally. Hosting is an annual fee, meager. With around 1k customers for a Web host, where is the money? They have to balance it off with a higher price. My 2 cents.

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