KENIC Massively Reduces .KE Domain Name Registrar Pricing In Kenya
The Kenya Network Information Center (KENIC) is a non-profit organization that manages and operates the .KE Country Code Top Level Domain (ccTLD). This basically means that if you want to register a .KE domain name it has to be done via KENIC through one of their many .KE domain name registrars. I used to sit on the KENIC Board a few years ago and the one of the major areas of contention had been their relatively high pricing for .KE domain names.
At the time, as was the case till the 31st December 2014, the domain names with the most popular ‘.co.ke’ extension were purchased by registrars for Kes. 2,000.00 plus 16% VAT prior to being re-sold to domain name registrants (people and/or businesses like you and me) who are the end-users/owners of the domain names. This meant when marked up once again, ‘.co.ke’ domain names would be sold for Kes. 3,000.00 plus 16% VAT or more on average which is more than twice what you could purchase a ‘.com’ domain name for. Clearly, this has been a problem for many even after KENIC introduced other less expensive but not quite as desirable .KE domain name extensions.
Therefore, it comes as something of a surprise (and really good news?) that from the 1st January 2015 KENIC massively reduced the pricing on most of its .KE domain name extensions for registrars including the highly popular ‘.co.ke’ domain name extension. In addition, some of the lower priced extensions had their prices increased marginally as a result of the price changes which affect ALL .KE domain name extensions. This means that previous volume based discounts are no longer relevant for .KE domain name registrars so that ALL registrars across the gamut will be selling .KE domain names at the same rates which is actually good thing!
I find KENIC’s pricing move to be somewhat counter-intuitive(?) since one of the major concerns (in the past at least?) had been that lowering .KE domain name pricing could have seriously eroded its ability to generate sufficient revenues to run its operations. Indeed, total .KE domain names registered in Kenya still stand at just under 40,000 the last time I checked in a market that has over 20 million Internet users according to the Communications Authority’s latest sector statistics. That being said, unless KENIC has thrown all caution into the wind, both .KE domain name registrars and registrants should be rejoicing! What remains to be seen is whether the reduced pricing will find its way to domain name registrants as KENIC has recommended pricing to be Kes. 1,000.00 plus 16% which is almost on parity with ‘.com’ domain names.
Going forward, although KENIC has lowered their domain name registrar pricing by over 71% in some cases, what remains to be seen is whether there will be deluge of .KE domain name registrations and renewals in 2015. Indeed, as you will see below in the price analysis tables I have done, its actually cheaper to renew a domain name rather than register a new one which creates an incentive for existing domain name registrants to renew their domain names going forward (churn has been a serious problem in this respect over the years for .KE domain name registrants).
Another factor for .KE domain name registrants is that the Communications Authority announced in the media late last year that they need to be certified with them as well and not just with KENIC (thereby possibly confirming rumours that the Communications Authority plans to dissolve KENIC completely going forward so that it takes over the mandate for the .KE ccTLD directly?). This has rattled many .KE domain name registrars as its seen as being excessive regulation from the Communications Authority as KENIC is seen as being an impartial private-public sector partnership that ‘works’ in the best interests of ALL stakeholders.
I took sometime to map out the old and new .KE domain name registrar pricing for both new registrations and renewals using the pre and post 2015 pricing in the tables below:
KENIC Domain Name Registration Pricing (excludes 16% VAT)
|Domain Registration||Old Price||New Price||Price Change||% Reduced||% Increased|
|.co.ke, .or.ke, .ne.ke||Ksh2,000.00||Ksh650.00||Ksh1,350.00||67.50%||n/a|
|.me.ke, .go.ke, .ac.ke, .sc.ke||Ksh500.00||Ksh650.00||Ksh150.00||n/a||30.00%|
KENIC Domain Name Renewal Pricing (excludes 16% VAT)
|Domain Renewal||Old Price||New Price||Price Change||% Reduced||% Increased|
|.co.ke, .or.ke, .ne.ke||Ksh2,000.00||Ksh580.00||Ksh1,420.00||71.00%||n/a|
|.me.ke, .go.ke, .ac.ke, .sc.ke||Ksh500.00||Ksh580.00||Ksh80.00||n/a||16.00%|