Freenom, a registry operator for top level domains (TLDs) currently operating more than 20 million active domain names, will partner with Senegal-based registrar Kheweul to offer free web hosting with a free domain name to all Africans. The services will be offered under the new ‘Freenames’ brand, a joint-venture company between Freenom and Kheweul.
The Freenames services will be launched during the next ICANN meeting on March 24th 2014 in Singapore. To prepare for the launch and to have a local presence in Africa, Freenom has opened an office in Dakar, Senegal.
All free websites will be available with a free country code top level domain (ccTLD). Freenom has teamed up with three African Top Level Domain Registries, but expects that many more African countries will follow. Free domains are very popular on the continent. Countries like Gabon (.GA), Mali (.ML) and Central African Republic (.CF) have already jumped on the bandwagon and made their domain extension available to everyone for free, both in their respective countries and abroad.
Business model Freenames
With a smart phone or computer, users can register a domain name, create or choose a website design and change their free website to adopt it to their wishes. For this, Freenames will use an innovative website builder that works with smart phones, tablets and pc’s. This would allow even novice users to obtain an online presence. From March 2014 onwards the website builder will be available on Freenames’ website.
Freenames will encourage all its users to build their free online presence further with additional services, such as script programming, SSL certificates and e-commerce solutions. The income derived from these extra services will pay for the users that continue to use the basic services for free. Freenames expects to convert 1 to 2 percent of its user base into users requiring paid services.
Empowering African entrepreneurs
The venture partners believe that providing a free web presence with a free domain will increase the number of African websites significantly and will give African local content quality an enormous boost.
“Providing a basic free hosting package with an African free domain makes good business sense,” said Mouhamet Diop, Managing Director of Kheweul. “We want to empower all Africans to take an active role online, not only as consumer, but also as content creator and as online business entrepreneur.”
Kheweul.com is a web hosting provider and an ICANN accredited registrar based in Senegal, offering its services throughout Africa. The company provides hosting solutions with a variety of packages, script programming, SSL certificates and e-commerce solutions. The Kheweul has been awarded with the Africa Domain Name Industry Award 2013 by AFTLD, the Internet Society, the DNS community and ICANN.
Freenom operates more than 20 million active domain names and calls itself the largest registry operator after .COM. The company, previously known as Freedom Registry, is headquartered in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, but has satellite offices in Palo Alto, U.S.A., and now also in Dakar, Senegal.