May 31, 2012
Having to use a non-standard third-level domain for any name registration in New Zealand may be coming to an end.
Currently in New Zealand, domain registrants must choose a third level domain, which also occurs with Australian domain names. However, whereas in Australia's case familiar extensions are used, such as .com.au or .net.au; New Zealand's second level domain to signify a commercial site is .co.nz.
The situation has caused some confusion for users, mostly those outside New Zealand. But rather than making changes to emulate Australia's structure; the kiwis may go a step further.
New Zealand's Domain Name Commission Limited (DNCL) has announced the launch of a consultation on whether registrations should be permitted directly under the .nz country code. Doing so would bring it into line with generic top-level domains (such as .com) and country code top level domains (such as .ca - Canada).
DNCL were quick to clarify that if the change went ahead, it wouldn't affect existing .nz domain names and all existing .nz processes would continue operating in the same way.
An issue raised in relation to this proposed change is the very real possibility of competing similar names being registered by different parties; for example company.co.nz may be registered by one party and example.nz by another; creating consumer confusion and trademark issues. To help minimise this problem, a Sunrise Period is envisioned where existing .nz domain name registrants will get first bite at registering their domain name at the second level.
Before a decision is made regarding the changes, DNCL is asking for feedback from the public and has released a Consultation Paper that explains the proposed changes in detail.
DNCL is owned by InternetNZ and is charged with the task of co-ordinating the development of the Internet in New Zealand. It also develops and monitors the .nz registrar market; including authorising registrars and administering a dispute resolution service.
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