Websites, Design & Online Marketing

Changes to NZ domain names

Attention website owners!

Is this you

If you are in New Zealand and own a website there’s a fair chance it ends in .nz.  If that’s you there’s something you need to know.  On 30th September 2014 the domain name rules are changing and a whole lot of new domain names will be available.

Your decision

Everyone who owns a .nz domain has a decision to make.  Do you want to purchase the new .nz version of your domain name, or are you happy for it to (possibly) go to someone else?

What is changing

Until now all .nz domain names went into one of only a few categories, such as ‘.co.nz’, ‘org.nz’, ‘govt.nz’ and so on.  That is all set to change and new .nz domain names will be available soon.

From 1pm, 30 September 2014, existing second level domains – like the ‘.co’ in ‘.co.nz’ and the ‘.org’ in ‘.org.nz’ – will become optional and you could register names with them, without them, or both. When this change happens, there will be more choice in .nz domain names.

Example

For example the owners of websmartdesign.co.nz (that us!) get the option to register the domain name websmartdesign.nz, dropping the ‘.co’. We think the shorter domain name is better and we will probably go ahead and register it.  Once we’ve got the new name we will use it for our website, on our email signatures, and on our business cards.  We will set up email addresses at the new domain and let our contacts know about the change.  It will be bit of work to change those things, but we think it’s worthwhile.

What does this mean for you?

You may not have originally been able to get your ideal website address because the domain name was in use by another company or being held by a domain name squatter (someone who buys domain names hoping to sell them at a profit). This gives you the opportunity to try and gain your ideal website address. You also may want ownership of the .nz domain name to protect your business from another getting a very similar domain name.

Pros and cons

Advantages

  • The .nz ending is short and very kiwi!
  • When you move the the shorter domain name you’ll look bang up to date.
  • Getting the new domain name means no competitor can get it.

Disadvantages

  • If you buy the new domain you’ll probably need to keep your old one at least for a year.  Registering domain names cost money, usually somewhere between $20 and $40 each per year.
  • If you want to use your new domain name you may need help to set it up (WebSmart can help you with this).
  • You may need to re-print marketing material to show the new domain name (we can help here too).

Getting the new domain name

Go to the anyname website to check your domain name and for full details of the registration process.  The domain name check usually gives the answer ‘Will be PRR’ or ‘Will be Conflicted’. These are discussed below.

PRR (Preferential Registration or Reservation)

You are in luck. The owner of the domain (hopefully you) will be preferentially allowed to register the new shorter domain name. You have until 30 March 2015 to take advantage of your preferred status otherwise the domain name goes on sale, first come first served.

Conflicted

Not so lucky.  You have to go through a conflict resolution process with other domain owners whose preferential rights conflict with your before anyone can register the domain.  If you all agree then one of you can register the domain.  If you can’t agree it goes on sale on 30 March 2015.

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