A new domain name marketing campaign from Australia has fallen foul of the Domain Name Commissioner (DNC).
Domain Names NZ is sending out faxes or letters to domain name holders "warning" them that their .co.nz names are not registered with .net.nz extensions. This contact breaches New Zealand .nz terms and conditions according to the commissioner, Debbie Monahan.
"It's a marketing campaign which includes a specific domain name."
Monahan says because the fax or letter looks like an invoice and includes a specific domain name it probably breaches .nz policy.
"I've got the lawyers working on a letter to [Domain Names NZ] right now."
Monahan says while she and many of the registrars are receiving lots of calls and emails from registrants about the problem, fortunately very few .net.nz names have been registered today.
"We're monitoring the .net.nz registrations at the moment. If they want to register any they have to work through an existing registrar. There doesn't seem to have been any impact at the moment - we've had seven registered today which is about right. At the moment it looks fine."
Monahan says Domain Names NZ is not a registered registrar in New Zealand so she cannot deal with them directly. However, as they will need to be registering the names through a registrar she is looking into that as well.
"The registrars are responsible for anything that comes through their connection, but at the same time we are aware that if they have an automatic system in place it could take a little while to stop."
Monahan says she is in contact with the Commerce Commission.
"Our message is that people read the letter very carefully and if they do nothing they will not lose or have any impact on their existing domain name. This is about a new registration of their existing name but with a different extension."
Those that have questions about the problem should contact either their existing registrar or the DNC at email@example.com.
"I really feel for the registrars because they take the brunt of the confusion and the user contact over this kind of thing."
Monahan is also concerned about where Domain Names NZ obtained the list of .co.nz registrants. Trawling of the whois name lookup service is outlawed by the DNC.
Domain Names NZ isn't the first Australian based domain name company to try to get round the .nz rules like this - there have been several such attempts in the past year or so (Domainz loses patience with domain name spam and ING's use of another provider not illegal, but Domainz upset) which have lead to a tightening of the rules and the introduction of the DNC position.
Domain Names NZ is a subsidiary of Australian company Domain Names Australia. The company did not immediately return Computerworld Onlinecalls.