New Zealand is being used as a test market for domain names using the suffix .cc from the Cocos (Keeling) Islands, an external territory of Australia.
Garth Millar of Net Logistics, the local arm of Seattle-based Internet Service, is trialling the suffix in the New Zealand market as part of a plan to take the domain names to the US and Europe. Domains ending in .cc are potentially worth more than .co.nz because people prefer single suffixes to dual ones and want non-country-specific names. The popular .com and .org domains are practically all taken, creating the opportunity for new names, he says.
Millar first went to the Cocos Islands 14 months ago, after having recognised the potential of the code assigned by the International Standards Organisation. He negotiated a 10-year agreement and provided the islanders with a satellite link-up and an IT centre with free Internet access. The 9km2 territory will also receive a percentage of each name sale. Registration costs $50 a year or $5.95 a month, and includes 10 configurable POP email addresses, browser-based email management, unlimited use of the Volksdns domain management system, URL forwarding and an "under construction" or "business card" Web site.
Until now ISC has concentrated on companies that have registered .com names, offering them the equivalent .cc name, but Millar hopes the New Zealand experiment will identify the best way to promote the domain names internationally.
Patrick O'Brien, CEO of New Zealand domain registration company Domainz, says he has seen a change in the registration market over the past nine months or so, with "global registrars" offering several country suffixes as a form of brand protection.
He is unconvinced, however, that people prefer a single suffix. "They do want something easy to remember and as short as possible, but I don't think .co.nz is much of an issue."