It’s another blow for increasing freedom on the New Zealand internet, but one that probably few people will take advantage of.
InternetNZ has removed the restriction — in place since the mid 90s — that says you cannot have as the third level of your domain name (the part that identifies your organisation) a two-letter combination that is also a country code. So now, if you want to identify your company obscurely by two letters, you can.
The reason for the restriction was that the double-meaning confused some older name-resolving devices. But most of these have now been replaced, and the remainder officially declared to have a bug.
A few of these names, like ac.co.nz, the property of Apollo Consulting, have sneaked into the local namespace. The .ac country code signifies Ascension Island.
These, InternetNZ officials explain, may have been a hangover from the days before the restriction was enforced. But some are simply an oversight resulting from an inefficient system of manual checking in Domainz’s early days.
The ac combination is also, of course, a second-level domain name, designating academic institutions, for example, the University of Auckland, auckland.ac.nz.
Last week Domainz’s name-search engine was still giving the error message “2 letter country codes are not allowed as domain names at level 3” for names like ac.co.nz and nz.co.nz. Computerworld understands nz.co.nz is registered, though it is not associated with a functioning website.
Oddly, the Domainz search engine gave the same error message for “domainz.co.nz” last week and has done for some time, though a correct result is returned for other names ending in nz, such as winz.govt.nz.