Residents and businesses in Qatar looking to give themselves a local online brand will soon be able to register their websites using a .doha domain name, the country’s telecoms regulator has said.
However, it remains unclear when exactly .doha will be for sale or if there will be any restrictions on who can buy it.
Currently, anyone around the world can register a website under the .qa domain, according to Qatar’s Communications Regulatory Authority (CRA), which has published a list of accredited registrars here.
However, there are restrictions on so-called second-level .qa addresses, which include:
- .com.qa – Companies registered in Qatar
- .net.qa – IT-allied companies in Qatar
- .name.qa – Qatar residents and nationals
- .org.qa – Non-profit organizations in Qatar
- .sch.qa – Schools in Qatar
- .gov.qa – Government entities in Qatar
- .mil.qa – Military establishments in Qatar
More than 21,600 Qatar-related domain names – including .قطر – have been registered since they became available in 2011, according to the CRA.
In addition to differentiating oneself or a business online, the CRA said that Qatar-specific domain names can help websites be noticed in search engine results and country-specific directories.
It added that .doha “opens up a range of new opportunities for our local minds to innovate by securing a unique online space fundamentally associated with Doha.”
Previously, other individuals have attempted to cash in on that association.
In 2014, a UK-based company named Breathe Luxury attempted to sell Doha.com, among other domain names, at a travel auction.
CEO Farad Laaforce told Doha News at the time that he expected Doha.com to sell for £3 million to £4 million (QR15.55 million to QR20.73 million) as businesses and investors try to affiliate themselves with the 2022 World Cup.
However, plans for the auction were “moved,” although Laaforce – whose company also said it rented luxury supercars, yachts and private jets in addition to selling “aftermarket” domain names – said he was in talks with several potential buyers.
Doha.com is not currently being actively used and the website of Breathe Luxury has since been taken down.