The Domain Name Commission Limited has announced the date from when it will be possible to register .nz domain names. From 30 September 2014 it will be possible to register shorter, more concise domain names. Rather than registering anyname.co.nz, for example, you will be able to register anyname.nz.
Shorter is better
There have been many new gTLDs, including .kiwi, .email and .xyz flooding the market in the last 12 months, with varying degrees of popularity. Many domain name owners have decided to ignore this phenomenon as a passing fad. The registration of .nz domain names is a different story though. It is almost inevitable that .nz will become the premium New Zealand domain name suffix, surpassing .co.nz. The only question is how long this will take. Domain name owners who do not take steps to obtain second-level domains now may find it is much more difficult to do so later.
Businesses and other owners of existing .co.nz and other .nz domain names would be wise to put a strategy in place to register their important domains directly at the second level. All existing domain names, for instance those ending in .co.nz, .org.nz, .govt.nz, will continue to work as they always have and you will still be able to register domain names with these suffixes. But from 1pm, 30 September 2014 you will also have the option of registering just the .nz.
You are probably eligible for preferential registration
If you already own a .co.nz, .net.nz or other .nz domain name, you may be eligible to register the shorter version of your domain name ahead of everyone else. There will be a six-month period called the Preferential Registration Eligibility (PRE) period, in which owners of existing domain names may register or reserve the shorter version. PRE will run from 1pm, 30 September 2014 until 1pm, 30 March 2015.
Conditions will apply depending on when the holder of an existing domain registered that domain name, and whether there are any conflicting domain names. For instance, the registrant of anyname.co.nz will not be automatically eligible to register anyname.nz if there are other registrants who own anyname.net.nz or anyname.org.nz.
We recommend all current owners of .co.nz and other .nz domain names check whether they are eligible for the PRE, and make a plan to register their domain names at the second level. You can find out more at www.anyname.nz.
AJ Park can assist you with registering your .nz domain names. Please contact us for more information.An edited version of this article also appeared in the November issue of Managing IP magazine.