On 30 September 2014, at precisely 1pm, the domain name world as we know it in New Zealand will change.  

From that time on that date “people will be able to register domain names directly before the .nz – e.g. anyname.nz”. 

The Domain Name Commission labels the arrival of .nz domain names as “a momentous, once in a generation change”. While certainly once in a generation (it is, after all, a one-time event), you have to look a little closer to see if the advent of .nz domain names really is ‘momentous’. 

On the plus side, it will be great not have to type .co or .net into the URL bar, and to have to remember if the website you want to visit is a .co, .net etc. Instead you’ll just type in (for example) jaws.nz, and up will come James & Wells’ website. Nice. There will also be I imagine a certain amount of prestige in having a .nz registration: jaws.nz – looks kinda cool, doesn’t it? Double nice.

On the down side, registration of a .nz domain name does not come for free. While it will not be expensive, it does – at least for businesses – represent an additional cost for no immediately obvious gain, especially if a business already has a well-established presence on the Internet under a different domain name.  That business will have to consider what it does with the .nz registration – eg, use it, park it, or redirect visitors to the URL to the website under its current domain name.  

Another down side is the opportunity for domain name squatters to register whatever domain names are left after the initial lolly scramble.  Those who adopt a ‘wait and see’ approach, or initially opt out of trying to register their .nz domain, may find themselves calling me to file a domain name complaint.  

There is also no guarantee you will be able to register the .nz domain name you want.  If there are competing interests in a .nz domain name, the domain name is deemed to be ‘conflicted’ – ie is subject to a conflict of rights (as opposed to suffering from an inability to make decisions for itself).  For example, Fleet Partners, the vehicle leasing and fleet management company and owner of the domain name fleetpartnersnz.co.nz, might want to register fleetpartners.nz. At the same time, however, Fleet & Partners, the executive recruitment agency and owner of the domain name fleetpartners.co.nz, might also want to register fleetpartners.nz. 

If the domain name you want to register is conflicted you will need to complete an online form (yet to be published by the Domain Name Commission on its website at anyname.nz) stating among other things why you want the registration, why no-one else should get it or why you think no-one should have it.  

Once all those involved in the conflict have lodged their preference, the Domain Name Commission will decide who gets the domain. If a clear outcome doesn’t result, the Domain Name Commission may offer a facilitation service so competing parties can try and agree between themselves who should own the domain. After that, if there's still no agreement on who will get the name it will be unavailable for registration. Stink one!

So .nz domain names: yeah, nah, or good? There is no doubt in my mind that having a .nz registration will be ‘yeah’ and ‘good’ for those who can register their .nz domain names with ease. For those who want a .nz registration but have to fight for it, or find a squatter has got there first, the journey to momentousness will be a little more difficult.

(P.S. For more information, and the source of some of the material in this article, visit anyname.nz)