SLRs: The .NZ Experience

  • The SLR experience of .NZ has matured a bit more than that of the .UK, primarily because the Preferential Registration Eligibility (PRE) period has already expired and the the bulk of .NZ SLRs are currently available on a first-come-first-served basis. Although the SLR take-up has produced a significant number of new delegations (over 134,781), the question remains: what will happen to the balance of the CO.NZ domains that are still available as corresponding SLRs?

Due to the fact that the implementation of .NZ SLRs extended over both their terms in office, I wrote to both the outgoing .NZ Domain Name Commissioner, Debbie Monohan, and to the newly appointed Commissioner, Brent Carey. I asked them a few questions about their experiences regarding the .NZ SLR process... what follows is their collated, frank responses:

What was New Zealand's primary reason for introducing SLRs?

  • To remain relevant moving forward. A survey we conducted showed the majority of people would prefer .NZ as an option.
  • A discussion document published along with the first consultation, lists a number of reasons why .NZ decided to introduce registrations at the second level. The reasons can be found in clause 4 of the document, namely:
  • NZ Internet community: During a recent InternetNZ Members’ discussion, several remarks were made about the attractiveness of being able to register a name directly at the second level. Strong support was expressed for such a change
  • Public appetite: The general public’s views on domain names have changed. A Domain Name Commission public opinion survey conducted in 2011, for example, found a strong preference for being able to register (over 60% in support)
  • Influence of new gTLDs: Over the past few years there has been an increased global focus on domain name matters, with proposals to allow new generic Top Level Domains (such as .music) being finalised.
  • International best practice: A number of countries use a structure like that of the gTLDs, with approximately half of countries undertaking registrations directly at the second level. There are also over two dozen other countries now allowing registrations at both the second and third levels.

How did the new gTLDs factor into your reasoning?

  • Other than what is mentioned above (discussion document), not much really. In fact most ccTLDs register directly at the second level so it was more about how we fitted in to the global picture and options available.
Did the prospect of dotBrand gTLDs factor at all?

  • Other than what is mentioned above (discussion document), no.
What public consultations or surveys were conducted and did these expose a substantive demand for SLRs?

  • All the public consultations are available on our website and can be viewed here
  • The above included 3 (three) progressive versions of the discussion documents, combined with 4 (four) public meetings and 1 (one) online only meeting.
During and after the Preferential Registration Eligibility (PRE) period, did the number (rate) of new CO.NZ registrations decrease or increase from what it was before?

  • Increase - awareness of the space was positive. See .NZ official stats page
  • Our own DNS Africa research, based on the statistics released by .NZ, seems to confirm this:
Screen Shot 2018-04-16 at 12.10.35What is your experience about the number of new CO.NZ domains being registered, especially if those names are available as .NZ SLRs?
Has the public indicated a preference for .NZ SLRs above CO.NZ, or vice-versa or both?

  • CO.NZ names continue to be popular and are registered in higher volumes than .NZ as can be seen at the stats link above. Companies still like to be regarded as CO.NZ, but private registrants (individuals) go for the .NZ name, if it is available.

What is the current ratio and numbers of CO.NZ domains vs .NZ SLRs? Where are you seeing the most growth at the moment?

  • As stated above, the CO.NZ creates remain higher month-on-month : see stats page
Screen Shot 2018-04-16 at 11.51.55.pngThe numbers we have seen suggests that there are approximately 132,000 SLRs in .NZ, accounting for approximately 18% of your total domain space. Of this number, how many do you believe (know) are defensive registrations (claimed by the current CO.NZ holder) vs. new unique registrations?

  • It is probably easier for Brent to get you data on that but many of them were unique in the .NZ space. Defensive registrations still seem more (focused on) .ORG.NZ or .NET.NZ
Is there an obvious reason why the balance of CO.NZ domain name holders (the remaining 80%) have not yet pursued their corresponding .NZ SLRs? Am I correct in assuming that these names are currently available on a First-Come-First-Served basis? If yes, why have others not jumped in and grabbed them?

  • Talking to some, when we were doing the consultations, there wasn’t a lot of interest as they were already established. Some did comment that they might look to change (to SLRs) in the future if they rebranded, or needed new stationary etc as they would be up for an expense then anyway. Some did comment that they felt the DRS protected them if someone did try and get their name at the SLR level.
During the Early Access Period (grandfathering) stage, were domain name applicants able to obtain a .NZ SLR that did not conflict with an existing CO.NZ name? In other words if did not exist as (or any other SLD), could an applicant obtain this domain name even during the early stages of grandfathering?

  • We set it up so that general registrations were open at the same time as people securing their existing 3LR rights. The names that had preferential registration or reservation rights (3LRs), or were conflicted, were blocked from being registered except through the appropriate process. This worked well for everyone and helped the success of the launch
  • Most people with .NZ domain names that were registered before 11 February 2014 were able to get the shorter version of their existing name before anyone else, if they wanted to. These applicants had what was called a "Preferential Registration Eligibility (PRE)" right.
  • PRE was a six month period of time (from 1pm, 30 September 2014 to 1pm, 30 March 2015) where eligible applicants could get the shorter version of their domain name before anyone else - or reserve it for free for a limited time (2 years plus).
  • If there was no subsequent 3LR registered before 11 February 2014 then those corresponding SLR names became available from 1pm, 30 September 2014. If there were two or more subsequent 3LR registered before 11 February 2014, then the 2LR became ‘Conflicted’. This created the Conflicted Names Process (CNP).

On a practical level, how were .NZ SLR names registered during the grandfathering (PRE) period? How did you authenticate (verify) that the 3LR holder was seeking to reserve or register their corresponding SLR?

  • Authentication was done using the UDAI for the 3LR. In the .NZ Domain Name space only the listed Registrant is able to request the UDAI for a domain name. This did require a policy change in itself. The registration record for the SLR was also populated for the corresponding 3LR, this was to ensure that registration details could not be changed upon authentication.

What do you charge for SLR registrations? Was there any premium pricing involved?

  • All .NZ names have the same registration charge. There is no premium pricing in the .NZ domain name space. All domain names have a wholesale fee of $1.25 (NZD), per month per domain name.

Do you allow for 3-character (our less) SLR strings?

  • Yes, there are no restrictions except for the blocked names like .GOV.NZ or GOVERNMENT.NZ etc

General comments about access and policy uniformity:

  • .NZ names are all subject to the same registration rules, policies and approaches - as it should be in my view. .NZ has no restrictions and a upholds a simple policy framework.
Posted by Louis Ferreira
Louis is the Product Manager for DNS Africa Ltd.