The difficult process of registering local domains in Zimbabwe is something we have written about extensively here on Techzim. It’s something we feel passionate about for the simple reason that allowing people to easily register local domains easily means more people can try more stuff online easily. Imagine therefore our delight finding out a team of young entrepreneurs had created a solution! It’s now possible people!
It’s thanks to two things; Online payments are now possible, using mobile money (EcoCash to be specific). The Pay4App solution, which is still in beta, is being used by more and more people, especially young developers that find other existing methods difficult to access.
The second is the team behind new domain registration service; two young people operating a startup by the name of Web Enchanter. The two, Rushmore Mushambi and Isaac Maposa, say it once took them more than two weeks to register a domain and they resolved then to join ZISPA (the organsation that administers the .co.zw space) and help create a solution to this.
“To our surprise,” said Mushambi in an interview yesterday, “we found out that ZISPA does indeed live up to its stipulated time of 24 hours. Most of the time they register in less than 12 hours.” What was left was for them to create a solution that would make it as easy as possible for a customer to search for a domain online (something ZISPA already provides), choose an available domain, pay for it conveniently, and they would handle the ZISPA requirements.
The service went live on 11 September and so far with just a few domains registered, Musambi says, “the feedback is awesome. It’s really encouraging.”
To register a domain a user just searches for an available name, chooses one they like and then proceeds to pay with EcoCash. Once paid, Web Enchanter processes the domain by electronically submitting it to ZISPA. To the customer the domain shows as pending until ZISPA registers it, which according to Mushambi, usually takes a few hours. A domain we registered via the service took 5 hours.
We asked Mushambi how they were handling ZISPA physical documentation that’s required and his response was that they are fulfilling all requirements. “Those [documents] that are required upfront we fill in automatically on behalf of our client, acting as their agents. This allows us to create PDF versions on the fly and submit to ZISPA together with the template. As for ID and utility bill, we plan on making available a form where our clients will be able to upload scanned versions for us to keep. Since these are not needed right away, they can do that at their convenience.” he explained.
But even without these, since payments are being made online using EcoCash, the Know Your Customer ZISPA (and POTRAZ) requirements can still be easily met by using the mobile money platform.
The registrations cost $9.99 per year.