Trademark owners and Qatar’s government entities will soon be able to take advantage of the new Qatar-specific Internet domain names being made available by the Qatar Domains Registry (QDR).
QDR, which is managed by ictQATAR, will begin offering the Qatar domain names in both Arabic and Latin-scripts ( .qa and .قطر ) to these specific groups on July 18, 2011 as part of the “sunrise” period. The sunrise period allows for local, regional and international trademark holders to protect their brands, and also ensures that Qatar government bodies can secure their necessary domain names before they are made available to the general public.
Ten registrars have been accredited by QDR to offer the domain names. These registrars are Qtel, W3infotech, IP Mirror, Ascio, MarkMonitor, Marcaria.com, EPAG Domainservices, Safenames, CPS-Datensysteme, and Mesh Digital. Trademark holders and government entities will be able to register directly through approved registrars. By the early September 2011, after the sunrise period, the Qatar domain names will be publicly available.
“The sunrise period is an important step in our liberalization of the domain naming regime in Qatar. Arabic domains open up the Internet to new users and create a great business opportunity for businesses to differentiate themselves. It will be important for organizations and individuals to have strong registrars to support them as they choose their uniquely Qatar domain names. We expect more registrars to become accredited and encourage local businesses to consider accreditation so they can offer valuable domain registering as part of their business,” said Saleh Al-Kuwari, Chief Technical Manager at ictQATAR.
Qatar Domains Registry recently launched their website, www.domains.qa, which allows businesses and individuals to easily check the availability of Qatar domain names and look up who owns the domain if it is already registered. Once the Qatar-specific domain names are opened to the public, individuals and organizations will be directed to accredited registrars to secure their desired domain names.
Qatar was one of the first countries to apply to the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) for creation of an Arabic domain name. Currently, a number of websites are being used as pilots for the new Arabic domain names, including ictQATAR, Hukoomi and Qatar University.
Trademark holders and government organizations interested in registering during the sunrise period can contact QDR at firstname.lastname@example.org or call +974 4406 9988 with any questions not answered on the website. Businesses interested in becoming accredited registrars should email email@example.com.