When NiRA first announced that the .NG extension was available for anyone to grab, the outrageous price placed on it was a rather big disappointment. At a point, you had to be a millionaire to afford the “luxury” of using a .NG domain name but the price was later slashed to around $100 in 2013.
Businesses and private individuals haven’t really adopted the ccTLD as NiRA had hoped and recently, it was reported that the country is losing millions of naira because of this. The adoption rate has been pretty slow and NiRA is partly to blame for this.
There was excitement back then considering the ccTLD would be used for creative domain names like shoppi.ng, bi.ng, googli.ng but unfortunately, we only have a few of these.
Price: the ultimate deciding factor
.NG ccTLD had quite a huge potential at the beginning but NiRA killed it with greediness. Why would a body like NiRA put such a huge price tag on a ccTLD of a nation like Nigeria? That was an attempt to keep the domain names away from everyone. It was more like an attempt to make as much money as they could from brands who could afford it.
Even at ₦15,000, it’s still pretty expensive. Anyone would prefer a generic ₦2,000 domain name to a ₦15,000 domain name. This has been one of the factors holding back the adoption rate of the .NG ccTLD. Until the price is reviewed and the price is on the same level as the .com TLD, things will pretty much remain the same.
Nigeria’s good old reputation
This is another reason why not everyone wants to be associated with this ccTLD. To outsiders, Nigeria is synonymous with 419 scam and anything that has the Nigerian name on it is to be avoided. This is one of the reasons some Nigerians are afraid of using the country’s domain extension.
There’s that potential it’s going to hurt your business in the long run. Even websites like Scam Advisor warn users about any website with a .NG extension whether it’s a trusted site or not.
Search Engine Optimization
NiRA claims using a .NG domain name gives you SEO advantage for local search queries and this may be true. However, this is only useful for brands like Hotels.ng. A site targeting a global audience with a .NG domain name may not really do well on Google.com. This is the reason a number of sites in Nigeria using this extension in the past switched to .com TLD.
There’s only one lasting solution
.NG ccTLD may be Nigeria’s identity on the internet like NiRA says but until this becomes appealing globally, it’s going remain another obscure ccTLD in the sea of TLDs.
Montenegro’s .ME domain name is one of the most used ccTLDs in the world because it’s used for personal branding and of course, .NG ccTLD too has the same potential as .ME and can be used for creative domain hacks. But many thanks to NiRA, it is under-utilized. Montenegro government decided to make .ME a generic name considering the worldwide appeal and its potentials, this has worked well for them.
Until anyone can register sexti.ng, gambli.ng, danci.ng and similar domains for less than $30 per year, until NiRA decides to make .NG ccTLD become a generic TLD like .ME, its full potential will never be unleashed.