Question 1. Should the New Zealand domain name space be extended to allow registration at the second level, for example yourname.nz?
New Zealand has relatively high usage of the .nz domain space given our population. The 2LDs currently available provide an organised breakdown of this space. The value of these existing organised domains will be severely diminished should this proposal go ahead. The case of Canada's switch (put forward as an example) is not equivalent as many (most?) Canadians register their domains outside their own space.
Question 2. Are there any other undertakings that the Domain Name Commission should make while developing/implementing the policy?
A study should be done into how this would provide any benefit whatsoever to the .nz domain space.
Question 3. Should new second level domains be created to cater for particular interest groups, such as .wine.nz or .sport.nz?
If this is an alternative to opening up second level domains then I would support that. If it would to be implemented as well as opening 2LDs then I see no value in this.
Question 4. Should new moderated second level domains be created to cater for domain names that require special protection, such as .bank.nz?
These moderated domains of course would be of little value should second level domains be opened up. You will have a hard time getting the general population to understand special 2LDs if anyone can just register at the second level.
Question 5. Should the registration of some names such as .com.nz or .gov.nz, be prohibited at the second level to minimise potential confusion? What names, if any, should be prohibited?
This would be an uphill battle. There will be thousands of domains that should be prohibited if 2LDs are opened up and it will be impossible to list them all. Whatever list that ends up being compiled will have gaps in it that will be exploited, no question.
Question 6. Do you agree with the rationale for the Sunrise Period that would enable existing .nz domain name holders first chance to register names at the second level? Why?
If you are about to remove most of the value from somebody's domain it is only fair that you provide a chance to the domain holders to obtain the replacement.
Question 7. Who should be allowed to register a domain name at the second level when there are competing registrations at the third level?
That is not a question that can be answered simply. The disputes resolution process will probably need to be involved.
Question 8. Assuming only persons with a conflicting third level domain name may apply, how should that conflict be resolved? By consent? Or some other mechanism?
Again this is a tricky issue. Consent is liable to be problematic. The disputes resolution process would be a better fit. But who bears the cost of this?
Question 9. Should the Domain Name Commission consider extending its Dispute Resolution Service for a limited period to cover particular sub-domains when considering whether a name registered at the second level infringes a complainant’s rights?
It's unbelievable that this should even be considered. This idea also further demonstrates how the whole proposal is a potential disaster for the .nz space.
Question 10. Is the approach as outlined in the proposed amended policy in Appendix C appropriate? Why?
The policy change is not something that can be easily and clearly interpreted by domain holders and really needs to be tested legally. Sooner or later somebody would claim that a domain is a generic word and somebody else will claim that it isn't. A .nz space where disputes like this are a frequent occurrence is not a .nz space I want to be part of.
Question 11. Are there any other comments you would like to make relating to this consultation?
There are so many problems with this proposal on so many levels. The technical issues (form validation etc) are the least of it. The legal squabbles, political issues, sense of entitlement, perceived loss of value for existing domain holders and general public understanding would all be major issues. And for what? There's no real benefits that I can see aside from people who sell domain names getting extra revenue. Even this, I suspect, would likely only be short term. Longer term I'm picking the specialised 2LDs would probably drop in popularity significantly arguably leading to less revenue for those same sellers than before. This case is likely to end in complete disaster for the .nz space and could see many domains move elsewhere. I strongly urge the Commission to reject this proposal as it would be the only sensible option.