The proposals and process


What is being proposed?

The Domain Name Commission is proposing to extend the .nz domain name space by allowing anybody to register domain names at the ‘second level’. The following diagram illustrates the make-up of .nz domain names. In this example:




At present, .nz domain names can only be registered at the ‘third level’. What is being proposed is to also allow domain names to be registered at the ‘second level’. For example, yourname.nz.

Why is this proposal being raised now?

The question of allowing registrations at the second level has been raised as part of the regular reviews of the .nz policies. Historically, there has not been widespread support for making such a change but a combination of recent events in the global domain name market, greater use of the Internet and domain names, and a change in the views of the general public means it is now timely to revisit this question.

What would be the benefits of any change?

The proposed change would mean that .nz has the flexibility of registrations at both the second and third level. This would maximise options for .nz domain name holders (registrants) and allow people to have shorter domain names that reflect the majority of those internationally (such as .com). 

What would be the impact on the domain names I currently have?

There would be no change to your existing domain names if the proposal proceeds.  The Domain Name Commission undertakes that:

Why are you asking if any further second level domains should be created?

If registrations at the second level are permitted, it is unlikely that new second level domains catering for particular interest groups (such as .geek.nz) would proceed in future. It is therefore timely to consider if creating new second levels would enhance the .nz domain name space.

It is possible that any suggestions for new second level domains arising from this consultation may be considered even if the proposal to allow registrations at the second level does not proceed.

When will we know the outcome of this proposal?

This is the first public consultation.  It is being undertaken to give the public an opportunity to have their say before any decisions about opening up the second level are made.  

Following this consultation, the Domain Name Commission Board will consider all submissions and evaluate whether there is sufficient support to proceed.  If the decision is made to proceed, at least one further public consultation will be made before the Board makes a recommendation to the InternetNZ Council.

Who makes the final decision?

The final decision on whether to allow domain name registrations at the second level will be made by the InternetNZ Council following a recommendation from the Domain Name Commission Board. 

InternetNZ has the ultimate responsibility for the .nz domain name system. The Domain Name Commission is a subsidiary of InternetNZ and manages and administers the .nz domain name space on its behalf.

Is there going to be a change?

There is no guarantee that this proposal will be implemented.  If the Domain Name Commission Board considers there is sufficient support then it will recommend it proceed. There will be at least one further consultation, and a reasonable period of notice, before any changes are implemented.

Will there be any additional costs to me if this goes ahead?

No. There will only be the cost of any new domain names you may wish to register.

What if it goes ahead and I miss out on a name that I consider should have been registered to me?

The .nz Dispute Resolution Service Policy applies to all registered .nz domain names so you will be able to use that if you consider you should be the holder of a particular name.


Sunrise Period

Why is there a period when existing .nz domain name holders have a right to get a second level .nz name but others don’t (“Sunrise Period”)?

The Sunrise Period acknowledges existing .nz domain name holders and the support they have given to .nz by already maintaining a .nz domain name registration.  It gives them an opportunity to obtain the domain name they currently have at the second level but doesn’t allow them to register any other general names at that time.  Any other registrations will have to wait until general registrations are available.

How did you pick what registrations would be eligible to use the Sunrise Period?

The Domain Name Commission wanted to take steps to acknowledge existing name holders and ensure that others couldn’t unfairly register those names at the second level. 

It was therefore decided that all existing .nz domain name registrations at the time this proposed change was first published should be eligible for the Sunrise Period.

How did you choose the date for what registrations would be eligible for the Sunrise Period?

It was the date and time of the planned publication of this Consultation Paper. 

Why is there a different date for domain name holders associated with InternetNZ, the Domain Name Commission and NZRS?

This is being done to avoid any suggestion of “insider trading” by those associated with InternetNZ and its sibling organisations.   The date selected for these people precedes any discussion held about the possibility of a project to consider allowing registrations at the second level.


Competing Registrations

Why do I need the consent of other registrants for me to get my name at the second level?

The proposed Sunrise Period for existing domain name holders will not be practical where two or more potential parties seek the registration of a name at the second level. The Domain Name Commission does not consider it fair that a third party should be able to register the name as none of the existing name holders were able to take advantage of the Sunrise Period.
After evaluating different options, it was decided that the preferred approach was for the two or more affected name holders to agree which one could obtain the name at the second level; or alternatively they could agree that the name become a second level domain name that anyone could register third level domain names under. If no agreement can be reached, the affected name will not be registered at the second level.

Can I offer the other domain name holders money to get their consent for me to obtain a second level registration?

Yes. Domain name holders are free to offer money or any other inducements to other name holders to try and gain their consent.  It is important however, that any consent is freely obtained and is not coerced or forced. The Domain Name Commission retains the right to check that any consent is real.

Why aren’t registrations at the second level being auctioned off?

This proposal is being advanced because the Domain Name Commission believes it is timely and in the best interests of .nz and the local Internet community to consider this issue now. It is not being done as a way of making money for the InternetNZ Group.


Dispute Resolution Service Policy (DRS)

Why are you proposing changes to the Dispute Resolution Service as well?

Any changes to the structure of the .nz domain name space could cause confusion for domain name holders and the general public.

The proposed changes to the DRS deal with the issue of sub-domains where a generic domain name registered at the second level has a third level associated with it. In this example: 




What would be the difference between the standard DRS and sub-domains complaints under the DRS?

Complaints would be restricted to names where the ‘rights’ are held at the sub-domain level and only after the complainant has had clear communication with the second level holder over the removal of the sub-domain. 

The remedy is to have an order that the sub-domain be deleted and not reinstated.  If the order is not followed, the domain name may be removed from resolving until the sub-domain is deleted.

Why are the DRS proposed changes only for a 2 year period?

The Domain Name Commission’s position in respect of sub-domains of .nz is that they are outside of our policies and up to the name holder to deal with.

We do not want to change this policy but consider it is important to take steps to try and minimise confusion in the early days of any change to the .nz domain name structure.  A two year period of change to the DRS policy would enable those steps to be implemented for a limited time before the standard policy position was re-established.