The Bankers Association application for the .bank second level domain (2LD) in the New Zealand space is the tip of the iceberg, says the Internet Society.
“I’m expecting .maori.nz and possibly also .trust.nz as well,” says ISOCNZ facilitator Steven Heath. From there, says Heath, the question must be asked: what limits should be placed on the 2LD? “That’s exactly what’s being discussed at the moment.”
Heath has issued a request for discussion to ISOCNZ members on the .bank issue, to last for 60 days. “The policy was set down in 1997 and hasn’t been tested since ISOCNZ took over the running of the .nz space.”
The policy calls for a discussion period, followed by an email-based vote, then a more formal submission period, followed by a vote at the next ISOCNZ council meeting, followed by more submissions and a final vote. The entire process could take until the second half of the year, but would set a precedent for other groups wanting to develop 2LDs. Debate on the topic seems to favour accepting the application once details about membership and management of the .bank space are sorted out.
“This would give us more ability to distinguish ourselves online, to be able to say fairly clearly who we are,” says Banking Association spokesman Jeff Mascarenhas.
The association is not an incorporated society, says Mascarenhas. “There is no association as such; it’s actually the members speaking.” Association members must agree on a course of action before it is taken and all the members fully support the move to create the new 2LD, he says. “Of course it raises several issues; if we get a .bank then why not a .doctor or .plumber and so on?”
Mascarenhas says the domain name structure is currently organised in a manner similar to Telecom’s White Pages. “You’d go down through the ‘Ws’ until you got to WestpacTrust.” If all manner of 2LDs were allowed it would be more like the Yellow Pages.
“Addresses would be organised in some kind of industry index so if you were looking for an electrician you would go to .electrician.” This should help users find sites more quickly, whether they are familiar with New Zealand or not.
“At the end of the day the question is how useful will it be. Will it make it easier for people to navigate the internet and find what they’re looking for?”