by Baher Esmat and Fahd Batayneh
There are a plethora of untapped opportunities in the Middle East’s domain name sector, both in existing domain names and new ones. Last week’s Middle East DNS Forum, held in Dubai, confirmed just that. These opportunities lie in not only new gTLDs, but also in the regional ccTLDs that have yet to be utilized to their full potential.
Akram Atallah, President of ICANN’s Global Domains Division, speaks during the first day of the forum.
The forum, which took place from February 3rd to 4th, was hosted by the Telecommunication Regulatory Authority (TRA) of the Untied Arab Emirates (UAE) and co-organized by ICANN and ISOC, brought together over 100 participations from across the region, as well as business leaders and experts from around the world. They came from governments, ccTLD registries, local registrars, small businesses, universities and local media. The discussions were vibrant, and the interaction with the audience was exceptional.
The discussions ranged from topics such as:
- Updates to the new gTLD program and the efforts various groups are undertaking to prepare for their arrival.
- Marketing strategies and promotional campaigns for TLDs.
- The value of IDNs in the Middle East despite challenges hindering wide deployment, including lack of implementation in many applications.
- The important role of ccTLDs in developing regional industries and successful models of public-private partnerships.
- Opportunities in the gTLD Registry and Registrar space, as well as those for Resellers and local ccTLD Registrars.
We were enthused by the number of questions participants asked, both on-location and remotely. All of the sessions ran well beyond their intended timeslots. It not only indicated that the discussions were interesting and informative, but also reflected on how interactive the discussions were. Even more exciting was how eager some attendees were to host future DNS forums in their respective countries.
Breakout sessions were scheduled to give participants a chance to come together in small groups and engage in an open and informal dialogue. Organized around three main tracks of Business, Policy and Technical aspects of the DNS, the sessions were incredibly well received by participants.
In the closing session, many emphasized the importance of such a regional forum in bringing the community together to work toward advancing the domain name sector in the Middle East.
We are off to an excellent start, and look forward to the 2015 Middle East DNS Forum.
Baher Esmat – Vice President, Stakeholder Engagement – Middle East
Fahd Batayneh – Stakeholder Engagement Coordinator – Middle East