Do it online: Web page on way for domain registration

New Zealand Internet users will soon be able to apply online to have a domain name assigned, via a forms-based WWW page administered by the Internet Society of New Zealand.

Responsibility for assigning .nz domains was officially delegated to ISOCNZ by InterNIC last month and the society has begun changing the way domains are assigned here. In the past, much of the registry work has fallen to two men, Rex Croft and John Houlker, and various costs have been borne by Waikato and Victoria Universities.

"We have reached the stage where there are between 20 and 40 assignments per day of IP-connected sites in New Zealand," says Houlker, assistant director for strategy and planning at the NZ Internet Exchange and an ISOCNZ member. "That represents about three hours of work a day. So from now on allocation will be charged in terms of the costs incurred, but it will remain a non-profit activity."

Houlker foresees changes to the Domain Name System, both here and globally, to take account of changes since 1994, when Internet use and domain registration began to take off.

"Many people now wish to register their trademarks and brand names as domains. I could foresee new sets of domains specifically for brand names. The DNS is simply a library service - it's not sacrosanct and it is open to discussion and possibly change."

Houlker says that there are now 160,000 entries in the American .com domain and new nine-character names were having to contain almost no vowels in order to be unique.

"So the newer names are cryptic arrangements of characters - and the lucky few who got in early have the huge advantage of having domains with names such as ibm.com."

The current naming structure in New Zealand will have trouble scaling to meet the needs of 200,000 business and 3.5 million individuals, Houlker says. The nature of new strategies in the DNS and other sectors will be canvassed in a white paper soon and comments can be left at the society's Website:

http://www.isocnz.co.nz/isocnz.

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