InternetNZ has sold Domainz to Australian registrar Melbourne IT for $NZ2 million.
Domainz was formed in 1997 to run the .nz name space on behalf of InternetNZ (then the Internet Society of NZ: ISOCNZ). With the introduction of a shared registry system (SRS), Domainz lost its monopoly access to the register, instead acting as stabilising registrar until the full open market was established.
InternetNZ signalled that once the stabilising registrar contract was completed it would sell Domainz as it would not be appropriate to own a registrar competing on the open market with other companies.
Melbourne IT was in a similar position in Australia as the original monopoly registrar of .com.au names. However, a change in policy across the Tasman saw it lose its monopoly and earlier this year the company was chastised by the Australian Domain Authority (auDA) for its practice of sending letters to registrants of .au domain names offering assistance in transferring their registration to Melbourne IT (Melbourne IT slapped for improper marketing). The letters were sent in envelopes marked "important account information" which was deemed to be misleading.
Melbourne IT also won the right to sell .biz names when they were first introduced in 2001 and set up NeuLevel to market the new name space. Users complained of mismanagement over the "sunrise" period where existing name holders paid a fee they believed would entitle them to the .biz equivalent of their existing name. Users were alarmed to discover this wasn't the case and that their $US90 fee simply earned them notification should someone else register the name before they did (.Biz turns into .con).
Domainz has also seen its fair share of controversy, however in recent years has been relatively quiet under the management of Derek Locke. Locke and the Domainz management team also bid for the company but were unsuccessful (Domainz sale: No conflict of interest says InternetNZ).
The deal is expected to be settled by September 5.