"Watershed day" as NZ domain name game hots up

“It’s exciting to see InternetNZ responding to global trends and new competition by allowing registration of .nz, rather than .co.nz and other iterations of .nz."

Billed as a “watershed day” for InternetNZ’s second level domain name, from 1pm today Kiwis across the country will be able to register a new .nz registration option.

Domain Name Commissioner Debbie Monahan says today’s change allowing registrations directly at the second level represents the “biggest change” since the introduction of the competitive Shared Registry System in 2002.

“The introduction of this new type of .nz name means people can now opt for a more representative .nz option,” Monahan says. “This option will appeal to all sorts of people, from individuals to businesses, to anyone who wants to represent themselves online with .nz.

“The important thing is that anybody who already has a .nz domain name goes to anyname.nz to check out their options and, if they’ve got preferential eligibility or a conflicted name, to know that they can take action from 1pm today.”

Most people who already have a .nz domain name will be able to get the shorter version of their name before anyone else, available during a six-month period starting today – called the Preferential Registration Eligibility (PRE) period – to register or reserve the shorter version.

The PRE period begins today at 1pm and ends at 1pm, 30 March 2015.

Other .nz domain name holders may find their name is ‘conflicted’ – which means they may have the .co.nz version, while others may have .org.nz, .net.nz, or other versions.

In cases like these, an online tool is available for those involved to lodge a preference for who might get the new, shorter version of the name.

Registering one of the new .nz names is done in the usual way – through a registrar or domain name provider. Reservations and conflicted names are dealt with at a special website – anyname.nz.

The anyname.nz website is where .nz domain name holders can go to check their eligibility but for those who aren’t interested, InternetNZ advises the change will have no effect on their existing .nz name and their name will continue to work as it always has.

Dot Kiwi praise...

Dot Kiwi CEO Tim Johnson, head of a company approved by ICANN to become the world’s only .kiwi registry, was quick to congratulate InternetNZ on the launch, alluding to greater choice within the market.

“It’s exciting to see InternetNZ responding to global trends and new competition by allowing registration of .nz, rather than .co.nz and other iterations of .nz,” Johnson says. “As of today, New Zealanders have a choice of two local, simplified domains, .kiwi and .nz.

While overall global uptake of gTLDs (generic top level domains) has been slower than expected, Johnson says .kiwi sits within the top 20 per cent of those that have launched by volume.

According to Johnson, .Kiwi registrations haven’t just been a case of people switching their .nz to .kiwi. Alternatively, about 25 per cent of people who bought a .kiwi domain name in September 2014 didn’t own the corresponding .co.nz version of it, while three months ago the figure stood at 15 per cent.

As a result, in the next 12 to 18 months, Johnson believes domain name usage is going to change.

“Domain names like, yourname.kiwi, rather than domain names such as yourname.co.nz, for example, are going to become much more common,” he explains.

“The governing body of the UK’s domain names has already opened up the simpler .uk domain, whereas previously there was just .co.uk, .org.uk, .me.uk and a few others. It’s great that New Zealand is following suit.”

Johnson says InternetNZ’s process to change over to a .nz domain is relatively complex and Kiwis will lean on the companies they bought their domains from to help them through the different stages.

“With all these changes, now is a really good time for Kiwis to think about what their email and web addresses say about them to the online world,” he adds.

“The .nz domain communicates where a person or their business is geographically, but .kiwi tells them what kind of person or entity they are, no matter where in the world they may be."

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