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South Sudan launches .SS

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The Republic of South Sudan, the world’s youngest nation located in East-Central Africa, is soon to launch domain name registrations under its country code Top Level Domain (ccTLD), .SS.

In an Anchovy News article published in February 2019, we wrote how the Republic of South Sudan, which seceded from Sudan in July 2011 further to an independence referendum, had finally been assigned the .SS ccTLD in January 2019 despite the controversy around these two letters, which are associated with the Nazi regime in Europe.

Over a year later, the .SS Registry has announced that it is ready to launch its ccTLD. However it is only opening domain name registrations at the third level. Registrations at the second level, that is to say directly under .SS, will be made available at a later stage. This might be to avoid further debate and potential controversial domain name registrations at the launch of its ccTLD.

Domain name registrations will be available under a number of extensions. The main ones will not have any registration requirements:

  • .com.ss
  • .net.ss
  • .biz.ss
  • .me.ss

The remaining extensions will be restricted to South Sudan entities: .org.ss (for South Sudan NGOs), .edu.ss (for South Sudan Higher Education), .sch.ss (for South Sudan Secondary and Primary Schools), .gov.ss (for South Sudan Government entities).

The launch of the .SS ccTLD will take place in three phases:

  • Sunrise Period: 1 June – 15 July 2020 This period is aimed at brand owners who will be able to register their brands as domain names.
  • Landrush: 17 July – 17 August 2020 During this period, anybody can apply for any available domain name, but at a premium price. An auction will take place if there are several applicants for the same domain name.
  • Early Access Period (EAP): 19 August – 29 August 2020 Before General Availability starts, applicants will have ten days to reserve domain names that are still available. Prices will be lower than during Landrush, but higher than during General Availability.
  • General Availability: 1 September 2020 From 1 September onwards, anyone can register any domain name on a first come, first served basis.

It is worth noting that the Registry has made a list of Premium names which will not be available for registration during the launch process. After the ccTLD has launched, the Registry will put into place an auction system where Premium names will be sold to the highest bidders.

It will be interesting to see if this launch is of interest to internet users and whether it will result in many domain name registrations. In any event, brand owners are advised to secure their domain names under this new unrestricted ccTLD.

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