"In what could amount to a major extension to New Zealand’s domain name space, the Domain Name Commission Limited (DNCL) has launched a consultation on whether registrations should be permitted directly under the .nz country code.
At present the existing .nz structure consists of a set of 14 approved ‘second’ level domains, under which all names must be registered. For example, with trademe.co.nz the top-level domain is .nz, the approved ‘second’ level domain is .co and the ‘third’ level domain is trademe.
The DNCL is proposing to extend registrations directly to the second-level. A direct second-level registration would read trademe.nz. This approach is used with all generic top-level domains (such as .com) and in an increasing number of other countries including Canada.
Domain Name Commission Chair Joy Liddicoat says if the proposal is accepted it would significantly alter the make-up of New Zealand’s country code. It would provide a simpler and alternative way for Internet users to represent themselves online, without being limited by the existing set of second level domains.
“In recent years the global domain name market has experienced an unprecedented expansion and it’s timely to ask whether and how .nz needs to adapt. This proposal would be a major structural change and has been raised as part of our regular policy reviews,” she says.
Liddicoat says the proposal would not affect existing .nz domain names, and all existing .nz processes would operate the same.
Before any decision is made the DNCL is interested in hearing the views of as many people and organisations as possible. A Consultation Paper and Frequently Asked Questions has been released, which explain the proposed changes in detail.
The Consultation Paper covers off a range of issues including how competing names would be dealt with and the impact on existing .nz registrations. In addition, a dispute resolution process is sketched out.
If the proposal goes ahead, a Sunrise Period for second level registrations would apply retrospectively from the date of this release to protect existing .nz domain holders."