Action Required: Huge change for New Zealand domain name space

From 1pm, 30 September 2014, you will be able register directly in the top level .nz domain space.  So, you'll be able to get [anyname].nz rather than [anyname].co.nz or [anyname].org.nz, for example.  This is a huge change - the biggest since .nz began around 25 years ago.

For those that already have a .co.nz or .org.nz or any other domain name ending in .nz, you have preferential rights to the .nz name if there is no-one else who has that same name in any .nz second level and if your name has been registered for a while.

If, however, you've only registered your name recently or if there are others who have the same name but in a different second level (e.g. xyz.co.nz and xyyz.org.nz), then you'll have to go through a separate process.  As an example, I have first rights to shera.nz because of the shera.co.nz name that I've had for ages and because no-one else has a shera.[anything].nz name.  But, because there are w.co.nz and w.org.nz names already registered, I don't have the same preferential rights to w.nz based on my w.geek.nz domain name (l@w.geek.nz ... get it ;-)).  With this so called, "conflict" situation, no-one gets the w.nz name unless we can all agree.

We'd strongly recommend that anyone with an existing domain name ending in .nz check what rights they have to the new top level .nz name.  Even if you don't want to use it as your main name, the cost of acquiring it is peanuts compared to the adverse impact it could have on your online brand if someone else gets it.  For example, a competitor might decide to acquire it and you may or not be able to get it back from them.  Even if you can get it back, there is the hassle and cost of going through the domain name dispute resolution procedure.  Perhaps worse still, a cybersquatter might acquire it and have it directed to an unsavoury porn site.  They then leverage your brand to make money from people who, thinking it is your site, mistakenly click through and see advertising on the porn site - not a good look for you.

The Domain Name Commissioner's office has great resources explaining everything over at anyname.nz, including a search function which will tell you what rights (or conflicts) you have in any .nz names.  Check it out.

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