We'll stick with .nz - but can we drop the .co?

Domain Name Commission conducts survey on internet addresses

Most Kiwis are happy to have their sites in the .nz domain, rather than an international domain such as .com, according to a survey conducted for the Domain Name Commission.

Of a sample of 1014 users questioned by Colmar Brunton, only 20 percent would opt for a .com domain rather than a domain indicating a New Zealand origin.

Those who own or manage a personal or business domain name (half the sample) are only slightly more .com-minded, with 23 percent preferring an international domain name, as against 18 percent of non-domain-name owners.

However, there is significant support for a simple top-level .nz domain as an alternative to the likes of .co.nz and .org.nz. Asked to register a simple choice between “myname.nz” and “myname.co.nz”, 52 percent opted for the former. As well as .com and domains ending in .nz, those surveyed were given an option that intrigued and worried some in the internet community — a hypothetical .kiwi domain.

Domain Name Commissioner Debbie Monahan calmed the fears of those who thought New Zealand might be about to spend a large sum applying to names authority ICANN for the right to use .kiwi.

Earlier this year, ICANN (International Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers) approved expanding a previously restricted range of top-level domains such as .com and .org to allow an application for any arbitrarily chosen generic top-level domain name (gTLD).

The .kiwi option was canvassed only because “it was considered a gap in what we knew about people’s knowledge of the .nz options for second level domains, and what else was offered in the gTLD space,” says Monahan.

“It wasn’t undertaken with any specific actions or plans in place [to initiate such a domain]”.

Eleven percent of domain-name owners or managers and 14 percent of those without their own domain name expressed a preference for .kiwi rather than .com or .nz for a website if they were given the choice.

Asked whether there are any other top-level domain names users would appreciate having available, those who own a domain name plump for .family, .school and .geek as top preferences, alongside .nz and .kiwi (.school.nz and .geek.nz are already supported).

Among non-owners of domain names, .home emerges as top preference. Also cited are .church, .jesus and .fish.

The survey – a repeat of one done a year ago, also tests recognition of domain names (the less-often encountered ones such as .mil.nz [armed services] and .cri.nz [Crown Research Institutes] score poorly).

Questions are also included to test knowledge of InternetNZ and the Domain Name Commission and the latter’s dispute resolution service. Recognition was low – 33 percent of domain name owners and 6 percent of others knew of the DNC - but Monahan is not worried.

“Given .nz registrants deal directly with authorised .nz registrars, the Domain Name Commission wasn’t expecting there to be high levels of knowledge of the office as it is generally only when there is an issue with their domain name that they are referred to us.

“We did want to check this though and also asked about knowledge of InternetNZ as DNCL is a fully owned subsidiary of InternetNZ,” she says.

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