InternetNZ, the controller of the .nz name space, is to assess whether a second level domain name (2LD) for .nz is needed.
InternetNZ will review the 2LD later this year. Debate on the issue was sparked by the latest application to InternetNZ for a new 2LD, .bank.nz (see Opposition to .bank.nz). Some InternetNZ members are calling for the process for a new 2LD, such as .bank.nz or .maori.nz (which was passed earlier this year) to be shortened and made much easier, while others still are calling for the 2LD to be scrapped altogether.
There are an estimated 5000 duplicate domain names, such as InternetNZ's own name, internetnz.net.nz, which clashes with Hawkes Bay site internetnz.org.nz.
But InternetNZ president, Keith Davidson, says the idea of doing away with the second level completely might not be as difficult as it seems.
"Where there is no duplication the holder could be told we'd registered their name as straight .nz as well as the .co.nz and after a year they could chose which name they want to keep. We could stop taking new names on the 2LD and introduce the new regime by attrition as it were."
Davidson stresses that this isn't InternetNZ policy, merely one idea among many.
"The whole thing should be driven from the bottom up, we're not trying to take a leadership role in this - just trying to see what the people want."
The discussion has spurred many in the internet community to question whether new 2LDs won't complicate life for both network operators and users seeking websites in general. With the move by InternetNZ's company Domainz to a shared registry system (SRS) there is potential to have almost unlimited creation of new 2LDs.
InternetNZ member Lin Nah says there is a mentality that everyone should grab a domain name in all 2LDs open to ensure no one takes their “name." She says this might be encouraged by domain name registrars, but isn’t what the 2LD system was designed to encourage.
There are a number of countries that don't bother with a second level - both France and the Netherlands have a simple country code. Disestablishing an existing second level domain is less common, however. Both Canada and the US (.ca and .us) have done away with their second levels, although there was much less activity on those than on New Zealand's.
Those wishing to look at past posts on this matter, or wanting to become involved themselves, can find the InternetNZ public discussion list archive here.