In a move that often portends the introduction of new policies, Zimbabwe’s ccTLD manager POTRAZ has asked that country’s stakeholders to provide comment on several significant changes to the .zw domain name management system.

The full publication can be found here.  It spans a wide range of topics related to the .zw ecosystem and covers each with more or less the same format.  There is a summary of how things currently work, followed by an overview of the industry best practice, then concluding with a question that prompts the reader to select the appropriate policy for the topic in question.

The paper is written in a leading fashion, with the reader clearly meant to conclude that .zw should move its policies in line with the industry best practice.

POTRAZ delegated management of .zw to local telecommunications company TelOne back in 2004.  Although no direct criticism is levied against TelOne, the publication reimagines the ecosystem as one with POTRAZ retaking the role of protaganist and leading .zw into a new era of modernity.

Some of the main changes would be:

1. Centralization

There are four different registries currently operating in Zimbabwe:

  • TelOne / .zw and .org.zw
  • ZISPA / .co.zw
  • University of Zimbabwe / .ac.zw
  • GISP / .gov.zw

The “suggestion” is to unify these registries under one set of policies, a common Whois and a marketing plan aimed to benefit all extensions equally.

2. Registry/Registrar Model

POTRAZ proposes a model where it retains the role of ccTLD manager and delegates the role of registry operator.  In turn, the designated registry operator should service only accredited registrars and not provide domain name services directly to end users.

3.  Nature of Organization Acting as Registry

In a section that is reads like a sincere request for feedback, POTRAZ identifies four different models of organizations that could potentially serve as registry operator and asks which is preferable:

  • Newly-created government agency
  • For-profit company operating on license
  • Non-profit organization, supervised by POTRAZ
  • Non-profit organization, operating independently

Any stakeholder wishing to submit their comments for consideration is asked to mail them by post to POTRAZ before August 9.  There is no mention of the next steps, but it stands to reason that conclusions and a plan of action will follow some time later in the year.

.zw is a notoriously difficult ccTLD to register and as a result, is often missing from defensive portfolios.  Let’s hope whatever changes POTRAZ decides to implement benefit both the local business community and international brands alike.