Is the .nz domain coming?

The Domain Name Commission is proposing to extend the .nz domain name space by allowing anybody to register domain names at the ‘2nd level’.

Hang on, let’s explain the domain name levels first

domain levels
Currently there are 14 (3rd level) .nz domain name extensions available in New Zealand. What is being proposed is to also allow domain names to be registered at the ‘2nd level’.

For example: domainname.nz

Key features of the .nz proposals include:

  • Registration of .nz domain names could be at the 2nd or 3rd levels on an ongoing basis.
  • Existing 2nd level domains (such as .co.nz) won’t change.
  • There will be no impact on any currently registered .nz domain names.
  • Registrations for the 2nd level domains will be on a ‘first come, first served’ basis, except during the Sunrise Period and where there are currently multiple registrations of the same name in different 2nd level domains.

Sunrise Period

Before domain name registrations at the 2nd level (.nz) are opened to the public, the Domain Name Commission proposes to run a so called ‘Sunrise Period’. In this period, existing domain name holders can pre-register the 2nd level variant of their domain name(s).

Sunrise Period rules

  • Only persons with an existing 3rd level domain(s) could apply (in the Sunrise Period) for a 2nd level domain (e.g. a person with yourname.co.nz will be able to pre-register yourname.nz in the Sunrise Period).
  • If there are several matching domain names registered at the 3rd level (for example yourname.co.nz and yourname.org.nz), the applicant would need the approval of the other 3rd level name holders before registering.
  • Registrations of 3rd level domain names made after this announcement (30 May 2012) would not be automatically eligible for registration at the 2nd level.

Still a proposal

Remember this is still in proposal stage and currently the DNC is getting feedback on this proposal. There are quite a few cons for the proposed 2nd level (.nz) domain. Think of some creative domain names which are guaranteed for some confusion (e.g. government.nz), increased risk of ‘look alike’ sites (e.g., phishing site), to protect trademarks/brands owners will have to register each .nz domain for their .co.nz domains to name a few.

We’ll keep you posted on any progress.

Update (13 October 2012)

The first consultation period closed on 27 September 2012 with in total 115 submissions received by the DNC.
After reviewing the submissions, the DNC has decided to carry out some further research. A second consultation round is set down for early 2013.

 

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