New web domains in NZ: Will they help or hinder Māori and Iwi?

The New Zealand governing body of .nz domain names has released a new public consultation to discuss changing the way .nz web addresses look. As opposed to .co.nz , .maori.nz,  .iwi.nz, etc., the proposal calls for a simple .nz address. This will have a number of positive impacts (if managed correctly early in the process) for many stakeholders in the .nz domain name space and also create a number of new issues.

Full details of the consultation are here http://dnc.org.nz/second_level_proposal_c1.

I can only assume that the DNC has called this public consolation in consideration of the introduction of the new international domain name system that will be introduced next year by ICANN. This new system will allow user community groups, TradeMark owners and corporates the ability to apply to have their own domain name such as .Pepsi or Microsoft etc.,.

Here is a summary of the consultation. It is important to remember that at this stage it is a public consultation that is seeking input to a set of answers.

  1.  Should .nz is be flattened so that any name can appear directly before .nz such as ngaitahu.nz .
  2. Existing domain names will not change.
  3. Current name holders: if they own all the names in the current system, they will have first right to the flattened domain name.
  4. If there are multiple instances of the name in the various options such as .co.nz, .maori.nz etc, etc, with multiple name holders,  then permission will need to be sought from the other name holders to register in the flattened .nz domain. If no co-operation then it will not be possible.

The issues for Māori and Iwi are as follows:

  1. If an Iwi does not own all their Iwi names in the current system it cannot register in the flattened .nz  without co-operation of the other party.
    The current names will need to be registered in the following addresses:
    maori.nz/.māori.nz
    co.nz
    net.nz
    org.nz
    geek.nz
    gen.nz
    net.nz
    school.nz
  2. It is a common practice amongst dubious online business people (especially in NZ) to register these names and resell them at often 1000% the original price.
  3. The cost to dispute any dubious name registrations can run into the tens of thousands and take months if ever to resolve. It is most often more economical to pay the domain squatters what they ask for and learn a lesson of ignorance.
  4. An uptake of Iwi and Māori names could occur by dubious online business people and the web sites be directed to all manner of web sites including pornography, gambling, hate campaigns and illegal activities.
  5. If an Iwi uses a macron in their name they could face a hefty bill registering at least 16 variations of their name.

 

Benefits to Māori and Iwi

  1. Many of key Maori domain names in .nz were registered early on by non-Maori and have remained for sale for a long period if time. With flattening the .nz structure, the monopoly of the old names will be worthless.
  2. Many more opportunities will exist for Maori and Iwi to have prime addresses.
  3. It will remove the barriers of the current system not being bilingual and representative of Maori society.

 

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