Nigeria Internet Registration Association (NiRA)

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Domain Name Ethics: Important Knowledge to avoid scams!

Understanding the rudiments of Domain Name ethics is very crucial to the registrant when it comes to the registration of domain names and to the visitors of any website in the use of the right domain names.

The knowledge of Domain Name System is very important as this knowledge will guide and guard online users from falling prey to online/internet fraudsters.  Because the domain name ecosystem is vast, we need to bear in mind that ethics is a personal set of principles. People, due to different backgrounds, share vast opinions on what is ethical and what is unethical. Sometimes, certain people deliberately aim to mislead and defraud others.

Recently, towards the Yuletide Season and towards the New Year, the gimmick introduced by the Internet fraudsters included creating sub-domain names of popular domain names and some ecommerce websites to direct people to those fraudulent website domain. These subdomains of popular websites were widely circulated via WhatsApp during the festive season with interesting massages, telling you to claim some unrealistic gifts. Unknown to many, these were scam messages.

It is therefore important to educate the populace on these and other activities to be aware of. To explain some of these Domain Name System terminologies, TLD stands for Top Level Domain. The TLDs tell you more of the type of websites you are visiting and what the domain represent. There are two types of TLDs: generic TLDs (gTLDs) and country code TLDs (ccTLDs). 

A ccTLD, usually two characters of the Latin alphabet, is an Internet Top Level domain name generally used and/ or reserved for a country, sovereign state or independent country identified with a country code. Amongst the ccTLDs, representing countries of the world, there is the .ng country code Top Level Domain (.ng ccTLD), representing Nigeria. For each country, there is only one ccTLD. The exceptions to the country specific domain extensions are the countries with IDN-ccTLDs (internationalized country code top-level domains).

Since the Internet Corporation for Assigned names and Numbers (ICANN) opened up new generic Top Level Domains (gTLDs), there have been more than 1,000 top-level domains (TLDs) for Internet addresses;

For the .ng ccTLD, for administrative and usage purposes, different zones were created from the .ng TLD as contained in details below:

Based on the above, when someone decides to create a website, they need to also decide on a name for their domain based on the purpose/business of the website. There are open and closed SLDs. For domain registration under the closed SLDs, registration is more regulated and sufficient evidence must be provided for the registration of that domain name.

Based again on the business model, from registered domain names, one can create subdomains. A subdomain exists as a child of the registered domain. If a domain name has not been registered, it will be impossible to create a subdomain from it. A subdomain can exist as a separate website with its own unique contents but will always rely on its main registered domain to exist. Subdomain is always attached to the registered domain. For example, is a subdomain of, the academy is the subdomain while is the registered domain name

So, academy is the subdomain of nira domain registered on the .org zone, seen as non-for-profit organizations and .ng country code TLD.

To avoid being a victim of these internet fraudsters that now use subdomains to perpetrate their illicit acts, it is important to understand and know the real source of a link. Subdomains always come from the left side of all links. Look at the domain name from the right side of the link. It will show the real source of the link and the name could indicate if the link is a fake phishing link. Once you identify a phishing link, do not circulate. Reduce the risk for others.

Analyzing one of the fake links circulated on the WhatsApp with a subdomain during the Yuletide:

The real Jumia website domain name is

From the fake link posted, taking a closer look at the link, came first in the link from the left side. This signifies that it is a subdomain of the domain The main website of that link is

The link was created as subdomain to deceive people into thinking they are actually visiting

Remember to always study the links and be sure of the source of the domain name before clicking on it. The Rule of thumb is read from the right of every link to know the real domain name before clicking. Anything from the left side is just a sub. Stay safe while surfing the net!


Used, with the kind permission of a patriotic Nigerian