Startup launches first online local domain registration service in Zimbabwe

The difficult process of registering local domains in Zimbabwe is something we’ve written about extensively here on Techzim. It’s something we’re passionate about for the simple reason that making it easy for people to register local domains means more people can try more things online easily. Imagine our joy to discover that a team of young entrepreneurs had created a solution! It is now possible!

This is thanks to two things; Online payments are now possible thanks to mobile money (EcoCash to be precise). the Pay4App Solutionwhich is still in beta, is used by more and more people, especially young developers who find it difficult to access other existing methods.

The second is the team behind the new domain registration service; two young people managing a startup called web enchanter. Both Rushmore Mushambi and Isaac Maposa say it once took them over two weeks to register a domain and then they decided to join ZISPA (the organization that administers the space) and help create a solution to this.

“To our surprise,” Mushambi said in an interview yesterday, “we found that ZISPA does indeed meet its 24-hour deadline. Most of the time, they register in less than 12 hours. All that remained was to create a solution that would make it as easy as possible for a customer to find a domain online (something ZISPA already provides), pick an available domain, pay for it easily, and they’ll take care of the ZISPA requirements.

The service went live on September 11 and so far with only a few domains registered, says Musambi, “the feedback is awesome. It’s really encouraging.

To register a domain, a user simply searches for an available name, chooses one they like, and then proceeds to payment with EcoCash. Once paid, Web Enchanter processes the domain by electronically submitting it to ZISPA. To the customer, the domain appears as pending until ZISPA registers it, which Mushambi says usually takes a few hours. A domain we registered through the service took 5 hours.

We asked Mushambi how they handle the required ZISPA physical documentation and his response was that they meet all the requirements. “Those [documents] which are required in advance, we fill them out automatically on behalf of our client, acting as its agents. This allows us to create PDF versions on the fly and submit them to ZISPA along with the template. For IDs and utility bills, we plan to make a form available where our customers can upload scanned versions for us to keep. Since these are not needed right away, they can do so at their convenience. he explained.

But even without this, since payments are made online using EcoCash, Know Your Customer ZISPA (and POTRAZ) requirements can still be easily met using the mobile money platform.

Registrations cost $9.99 per year.

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