A few years ago I started telling prospects to invest in .com domain names, as opposed to .co.za, when they approached me for a website. I left the choice to them, but my advice always leaned towards .com.
I didn’t have a reason, however. It was a hunch. Hunches are not to be trusted; they don’t mean anything. But I had an idea owning a .co.za didn’t have much value, especially compared to a .com, still the world’s greatest domain. (I’ve had conversations about the SEO value for .co.za domain names. Frankly, if you think your SEO is dependent on your domain extension I think you might be missing out on good advice.)
But when the Panic1 struck one reason smacked my eyes right out of their sockets: government can pass any regulation regarding .co.za domain names, whether it makes sense or not, and you have to comply.
That’s what happened early on in the Panic.
What was the regulation they passed?
All za domain names had to have a link to the official SA Coronavirus website.
Here’s a screenprint straight out of the Staatskoerant I downloaded in PDF format:
The Department of Health’s WhatsApp account sent out the following message: “As part of the national effort to contain the spread of the coronavirus, all websites with a .za domain name must now feature a clearly visible link to government’s Covid-19 portal on their home page: http://sacoronavirus.co.za.”
It’s not quite the same as the Government Gazette entry, but it comes down to the same thing.
What’s convenient about passing laws during periods of panic?
People aren’t paying attention; their faculties are fixed on the panic.
Does this regulation make sense?
Not in the least.
The moment I received the message I complied. I added a button to the bottom of all my clients’ websites linking to the SACV website.
But there’s NOTHING to be gained by having people add YACVL (Yet Another Coronavirus Link) to the online ecosystem.
EVERYTHING online is already steeped in the virus. You can’t use YouTube without being dogged by COVID-19 messages. You can’t use Google. Even DuckDuckGo has CV buttons.
Even the creator of the amazing Chrome extension, Shortcuts for Google™, which I love, deemed it a good idea to add a Coronavirus button to the plugin’s default layout. (Maybe he was forced to do it.)
But the moment our government rolled out the mandatory COVID-19 website link was the moment I decided to kill my own .co.za domain names and move all info to other websites, including this one.
But surely I’m making a mountain of a molehill, right?
See, here’s the problem: they might not roll back this regulation. They probably won’t.
This would be a sterling time for them to start gaining more control over my online entities.
It starts with a seemingly innocuous link, but then they force you to post an article pushing one of their agendas. Next they want you to promote a video for them.
Before you know it you’re turned into a propaganda printing press, creating content for policies you don’t even agree with.
And if you don’t comply, what stops them from seizing your domain name? Then you lose all the hard work you’ve put into it.
The Bible is clear: we are to obey government. We are also to respect all people, including our leaders, even if we don’t agree with them. In fact, Jesus said we’re to do good to evil men (Luke 6).
It’s not an option for the Christian because our Heavenly Father is kind to ungrateful and evil men.
But if there’s a way to skirt dangerous legislation like this legally I’ll be first to take advantage.
Should you jump the .co.za ship?
That’s entirely up to you. I’ll be jumping as soon as I’ve inflated my PFD.
- The period when senseless worldwide panic turned a normal-level virus (for lack of a better description) into the deadly weapon it became.