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Important Notice to Our Clients About a Change to the .NZ Domain Space

December 9, 2013

An important change is happening in the .NZ domain space. Essentially, businesses will soon be able to have a domain name that ends in .nz rather than .co.nz, .org.nz, .net.nz, etc. This is a big change and we think it’s important to advise our clients about it. 

Back up a second!

Confused? The domain concept can be confusing, so I’ll take a step back and do a little top-level domain 101.

What is a TLD?

The top-level domain (TLD) is the final characters in a domain name or web address. There are two types of TLD the ccTLD and the gTLD .

ccTLD means Country Code top-level domains.  As the name suggests, these kind of top level domains are related to a particular country. – eg .nz for New Zealand, .uk for United Kingdom etc

gTLD means Generic top-level domains. These domains are not related to any particular country. Anybody from any country can generally apply to register a gTLD. They include the well-known .com, .org. and .net

This diagram shows that the Country Code top-level domain for our website is .nz, preceded by a second level domain of .co:

Diagram showing the current top-level domain structure in NZ

While most gTLDs allow domains to be registered at the 2nd level – eg apexinternet.com, most ccTLDs, like New Zealand and the UK, introduced their domains only at the third level, .co.nz and .co.uk

Once the new .nz ccTLD becomes available sometime in 2014, domain owners will also have the option of having their domain registered in the 2nd level, like this:

Diagram showing the optional change to top-level domain structure in NZ

Lesson over! ;-)

Should you register the .nz ccTLD for your business?

As soon as we’re able, we’ll be registering the .nz variant for our domain and we are encouraging our clients to do the same.

We haven’t yet decided if we want apexinternet.nz to be our primary address on the web. For over 15 years, we’ve had one address in place and that has become part of who we are. We have hundreds of websites that link to us at that address and we are listed in hundreds of directories and Search Engines under that domain name.

One thing we do know however: we don’t want another company to register themselves as apexinternet.nz! As soon as we are able, we will be registering apexinternet.nz to protect our brand and prevent anyone else from registering the domain. It’s possible we’ll start using that address – and by registering the new .nz ccTLD now, nothing can prevent us from doing that in the future. 

Here’s the good news

You have the rights to the .nz domain for your existing web property. So, if you already own myawesomecompany.co.nz, and you registered it before 9am on 30 May 2012, then you are entitled to claim myawesomecompany.nz. The New Zealand Domain Name Commission (the organisation responsible for managing the .nz ccTLD), has put this rule in place to protect NZ business owners. Without this process there would be a free for all with domain prospectors staking a claim on popular domains in the hope of being able to sell them on to the appropriate owner at an inflated price.

You will still have to claim the domain name if you want it. Let me emphasize that your business will NOT be automatically registered at the 2nd level for your existing .xx.nz domain.

How to register your business at the 2nd level

At some point in 2014, the DNC will announce a “sunrise period” to allow people with any .nz ccTLD to register their business at the 2nd level. In most cases, the person applying will have no issues claiming the name.  Where there is conflict, for example if the owners of myawesomebusiness.net.nz and myawesomebusiness.co.nz both requested myawesomebusiness.nz, there will be a mediation process to resolve the conflict and grant the name to the appropriate party.

We’ll keep you posted!

The sunrise period has not yet been announced, but we expect to hear about it soon. As soon as we do, we’ll announce it via the Apex newsletter and blog. We will also be available to assist you in registering a claim for your domain name. We encourage you to start thinking now about the future of your .nz website address!

Want to learn more?

The DNC has put together some FAQs that are helpful. And, of course, you’re always welcome to contact us with your questions.

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Filed under Digital Marketing

Written by

David founded Apex back in 1997. He has a Bachelors Degree from Auckland University and a post Graduate Diploma in Operations Management. As Managing Director David's role is incredibly varied but tends to focus mainly on technical issues that crop up from time to time around Server Admin, Network Management and Email and Domain related events.

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