What is it all about?
To try to keep this simple, the Internet is going through a huge change in terms of the domain names available. This is primarily happening because it is running out of top level domains like .com and there is demand for more creative names etc.
What do you need to do?
Probably not much except that you may wish to obtain the new .nz domain for your business – read below…
Most likely, you currently own a domain name for your business like yourdomain.co.nz or yourdomain.com
You may also know that domains like .net.nz, .travel, .org.nz, .info and more have been available and you may already own some of these too.
The main change is that it is now being opened up so that there will be a whole lot more “suffixes” or “extensions” available – things like .bike, .venture, .technology, .tours etc etc. About 2000 have been applied for and many approved and scheduled for rollout over the next 5 years – around 50 in the next month. These are called TLDs – Top Level Domains.
The one that will affect you most and requires your consideration is a new .nz domain TLD. So if you own yourdomain.co.nz, you might also want to own yourdomain.nz as a way to protect your branding.
Note the ‘.co’ portion is missing from the new domain.
There is no scheduled release date for this yet but your domain registrar (if you own .co.nz with a NZ registrar) should advise you when a date is set. The best guess we have heard is around August 2014. n you need to decide if you want to buy this or not.
For most NZ businesses we would recommend buying your .nz domain even if you do not plan on changing from your current domain name.
When a new “TLD” is released there is a “sunrise period” during which the owner of an existing .co.nz name (if registered before 30 May 2012) has first option on the new .nz extension.
However if someone else owns yourdomain.net.nz or other extension there could be a conflict – both owners have a right. This conflict willbe resolved through a dispute process to decide who has most claim to the new nz one.
If your name is trademarked you can also get protection for this through the Trademark Clearing House so that no-one else can use this in a domain name.
Should you own other extensions (TLD’s) as well (eg .travel etc)?
That depends how deep your pockets are and how badly you wish to protect your name / brand. You can own them all for a price. And what do you do about variations of spelling? If you have yourdomain.co.nz do you also buy the hyphenated versions like your-domain.co.nz or your _domain.co.nz? There are endless other variations too.
Watch for release of the new .nz domain names (we will advise the release date via these newsletters when we hear)
Seriously consider buying the .nz domain name and just maybe a very limited number of the other key TLDs. You will need to be proactive about obtaining the .nz domain name during the sunrise period – it will not automatically be allocated to you and after that time others can claim it.
Do not drop or stop using your current main domain name without serious consideration of the impact this will have. This is the address for your business that is already “out there” (in search engines, on other sites, brochures and advertising and many more places).
For a list of the extensions (TLDs) up for release very soon see http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/SC1401/S00003/launch-of-new-top-level-internet-domain-names.htm
Some helpful FAQs from the New Zealand Domain Name Commission are at http://dnc.org.nz/faq-registrations-directly-second-level
Ask us for more advice!