Should .nz domain names be available at the second level?

May 30th, 2012 at 12:00 pm by David Farrar

The Domain Name Commission Ltd has published:

The Domain Name Commission is proposing to extend the .nz domain name space by allowing anybody to register at the ‘second level’.  This has the potential to significantly alter New Zealand’s domain name space so it’s important we get your views.

This is a proposal for consultation, so the DNCL is keen to get views and submissions from people. Note I am a Director of the DNCL.

Basically the change means that (for example) Trade Me could try and register rather than For individuals such as MPs, it could mean they could get (again for example) rather than have to decide whether to get or or etc.

Note that the proposal is not to close registrations in the existing sub-domains such as, The proposal is that people have a choice of registering at the second level or at the third level, or both.

They key features of the proposal are:

  • Registration of .nz domain names could be at the second or third levels on an ongoing basis.
  • Existing second level domains (such as will remain and continue to be supported.
  • There will be no impact on any currently registered .nz domain names.
  • Registrations at the second level 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 second level domains.
  • The Sunrise Period will be a designated window, where existing .nz domain name holders (registrants) can register their domain name/s at the second level if they are the only one that has that name at the third level.
  • If two or more domain name holders have the same name at the third level, no-one  will be able to register that name at the second level unless they obtain the consent of the other third level name holders. Alternatively, if all agree, it could become a second level domain instead.
  • A temporary amendment to the Dispute Resolution Service Policy to cover sub-domains of generic domain names registered at the second level.

There is a consultation paper online here. I encourage those with an interest in this to read the paper, and hopefully respond to it.

Each section of the Consultation Paper raises specific questions.  Please respond to these questions or, more generally, to any of the issues raised through the online response from at

Submissions can also be made by email to, by fax to (04) 495 2115, or by mail to P O Box 11881, Wellington.  The closing date for submissions is midday on Thursday 27 September 2012. 

More links and info are on this page.

12 Responses to “Should .nz domain names be available at the second level?”

  1. chris (754 comments) says:

    I’ve always thought it’s daft that we have second level extensions like and and you register the third level, multiple times in many cases, to prevent other people registering the other variants. I like how in Canada and Ireland, for example, it’s always been just .ca and .ie

    Having said that, I think now we have etc it’s better to stick with that, rather than confuse things by having both systems. Once it’s opened up, you’ll end up having to register the and .nz version of the domain (and possibly etc as we do now) to prevent people registering the other variants. And why would you want when you can have .nz? Because you effectively have to. Makes some more money for DNCL and the registrars, doesn’t it?

    As far as the sunrise period goes, there’s a slight flaw. I could jump in and squat on a whole bunch of domains now using e.g. and prevent companies from being able to automatically get the .nz version for themselves. I think there will need to be some sort of basic arbitration in place for this, not just for generic domains, so someone at the DNCL gets involved and rules on who is most entitled to the domain.

    I’ll be making a submission along the lines of what I’ve posted here.

    [DPF: Note that the proposal is that only domains registered before this document was released, would be able to block someone else getting the .nz domain for that name, so that issue is covered in the proposal]

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  2. petal (707 comments) says:

    It’s a cynical money grab.

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  3. peterwn (4,282 comments) says:

    I would support the idea in the following way:
    1. Second level names can be registered for the usual fee, but stay locked down. This is to stop registrants feeling they are ‘over a barrel’ and have to buy a second level name to protect their interests.
    2. To actually use the name, the registrant would pay a further hefty annual fee, set at a value to maximise total income from the registrants.
    3. Similar names can be used at extra cost – for example at the big fee and at a smaller supplementary fee.
    4. Trade groups can ‘buy’ a second level name on the same basis for its members eg , .
    5. The money to fund a trust (charitable if possible) for the development of broadband, internet in schools, etc.

    The second level is valuable cyber ‘real estate’ – it should not be virtually given away. The full rack rent should be extracted for it.

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  4. anonymouse (891 comments) says:

    It has already happened in one specific case when a single organisation namely Parliament got their own 2LD

    Someone got their knickers in a twist over parliament being registered in the domain, and low and behold a new 2LD appears for them so they can be

    I would be very interested to know the background to that decision,

    [DPF: Off memory the Parliamentary Service applied for to be a domain on the basis that Parliament is not part of the Government]

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  5. Dick (80 comments) says:

    Why the fuck is this bullshit regulated. Someone who wants to have a domain name should be allowed to have it however they want it. Who the fuck are these Domain Name Commission meatheads who obviously get paid to sit around doing unnecessary shit like this.

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  6. rangitoto (874 comments) says:

    This is who they are:

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  7. anonymouse (891 comments) says:

    @DPF re: parliament,

    and if that is the case they should be booted out of the domain, They still have BOTH and

    Parliament cannot have it both ways,

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  8. PaulL (6,056 comments) says:

    I’ll be up for having I reckon that could be a small gold mine. I hope there is special treatment around that one…..

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  9. Sadu (151 comments) says:

    I just don’t see what the advantage would be of having .nz domains available. The public are already accustomed to and other variants, so adding another type of domain just makes it harder for consumers to find the website they are looking for. For the website owner, they either need to fork over more $$$ each year to register the .nz name, or if they are unlucky someone else nabs it first.

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  10. gump (2,336 comments) says:

    The .nz TLD is basically worthless. It has almost no international recognition and is hugely expensive compared to other TLDs.

    Tinkering with the rules won’t do anything to change its value.

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  11. Spoon (105 comments) says:

    It does strike me as somewhat of a money grab. InternetNZ aren’t exactly hard up for a dollar, and this move would being in hundreds of thousands of dollars overnight.

    Our business has two domain names – two variations of our name. To protect our name we’d need to get both the .nz version, doubling our bill overnight.

    Fortunately we resell a couple of hundred other domain names so would make it back very quickly….

    There are currently 480,000 .nz domains registered, with 417,000 of those being I think it’s fair to assume that nearly everyone who has a would like to buy the .nz (and if they don’t someone else will take it). Most will hang on to their one as well, at least for a few years. I’ll go conservative and say that 60% of domain holders will take the .nz version as well, or around 240,000.

    This would bring a 50% increase in income to InternetNZ (a not-for-profit organisation) overnight. This needs to go back to the name holders. The only fair way to do this is with a 33% drop in the fee from $1.25 + GST per month to around 80c + GST per month.

    Just while I’m griping about InternetNZ having too much money, I’m not a big fan of their heavily discounted conferences which are held in Auckland. As an out-of-towner I’d be up for $500+ in hotels/flights to attend, which makes them non-viable. Surely the only fair way to address this is by charging Aucklanders more for their domain names?

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  12. Webdzinz (1 comment) says:

    Seems like another opportunity for a Gold Rush. Businesses will feel compelled to register .NZ in order to protect their marketing position & buy something they don’t currently need.

    Will the owners of existing names get priority to buy the .nz or will it be open season?

    If this goes ahead I think that it would be best to offer Domain Name Auctions so that we all have a chance to bid for the more popular Domain Names rather than 1st in 1st serve.

    [DPF: The proposal is that can not be registered unless all those who have agree. So if you have then no one can get without your permission. However if you want to get it also, you may need the agreement of for example]

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