New Zealanders will be able to register domain names directly at the second level within the .nz domain name space, when policy changes come into force from 1pm on the 30th of September. 

The change means Kiwis will be able to secure domain names without a second level identifier such as ‘.co’ or ‘.org’ in the domain name.  Using www.jaws.co.nz as an example, ‘.nz’ indicates the country code, and to the left of this is the second level - ‘.co’ (shorthand for ‘commercial’). Under the new changes, registrants will be able to secure either www.jaws.co.nz and/or simply www.jaws.nz

If you or your company currently owns a domain name ending in .nz, which was registered before 11 February 2014, you may qualify for Preferential Registration Eligibility (PRE).   This means that you potentially have the opportunity to obtain the shorter version of the domain name before anyone else, or at least reserve the name temporarily, called Preferential Registration or Reservation (PRR).  If more than one person has a claim to the .nz domain name then it will enter into a conflict procedure.

Importantly, the timeframe for PRE is limited to the six month window ranging from 30 September 2014 to 30 March 2015.

Key points:

  • Shorter, more representative .nz domain names will soon be available.
  • The older domain names such as .co.nz, or .org.nz will remain in place and will operate alongside the new .nz domain names.
  • Kiwis will be able to register both or just one of their domain name options if they wish (i.e.  .co.nz and/or .nz)
  • Existing .nz domain name holders may be eligible for Preferential Registration Eligibility (PRE)

For more information, the New Zealand Domain Name Commission has launched anyname.nz, which details domain name holder’s options and provides a run down on the likely effects of the changes.  The website also features an online tool which reports on eligibility and the current status of a domain, whether available, prohibited or conflicted.