What Your Business Needs To Know About The New .nz Domain Name Extension

Domain names have been rapidly changing lately with a huge range of new top level domains released. These new domains make it possible to register a domain name ending in .guru, .club or even .sexy (and hundreds of other options). These changes are also not limited to english with it now possible to register a domain name in another language and have it end in .公司 (.company), .在线 (.online) or many other non-latin scripts.

The biggest development in New Zealand domains however is not the new TLDs, it is the release of the .nz top level domain extension which allows you to register yourname.nz instead of requiring an additional second level extension such as .co.nz or .org.nz. This move by the Domain Name Commission has been met with excitement, frustration and a large number of businesses that aren’t even aware of the change. So what do you need to know?

dotnzThe date for the launch of the new .nz domain names is rapidly approaching and from 1pm on the 30th of September the rush will start to secure a name. There are four types of domain name statuses that you will need to know to ensure you protect your current domain names or to get in early and register desired names.

  • Available – This status means that from 1pm, 30th September the domain will be available for registration on a first come first served basis. Many registrars like Domains4Less are offering pre-registration on this type of domain – finding which registrar will get your registration request through fastest will be key to securing the most popular domains.
  • Conflicted – This status is the most controversial status and essentially means that the domain name in question is registered in two second level domains (ie. name.co.nz and name.net.nz) and thus has two potential owners who have the rights to the name. Whilst common logic would be that either the highest value domain (.co.nz) or first to register should get first access to the new name.nz domain this is not the case. These domains will require submissions from each party and the Domain Name Commission will either make a decision on who to award the name to (based on trademarks and other factors) or they will set up a facilitation service so the two parties can negotiate. Overseas this has led to one party paying large amounts to the other to not register a certain name. If no agreement can be reached on the conflicted name it will become unavailable for registration.
  • PRR (Preferential Registration or Reservation) – This status means that there is only one holder of a second level domain and thus they get preferential right to register the .nz version of their domain name. The existing holder will have between 1pm. 30th September 2014 and 1pm, 30th March 2015 to register their domain name, at which point it will become available to the general public. The only catch is you need to have registered the existing name by 9am on 30 May 2012 when the new domains were announced. If you registered after this date you will have to be first in first served when ‘Available’ domains are released.
  • Prohibited – There will be some .nz domains not able to be registered at the second level by anyone. For example com.nz cannot be registered as it would lead to confusion.

You can look up the status of any domain name here so be sure you know which of your domains or target domains fall into each category. The decision you then need to make is what you are going to do. If you are a business it makes sense to reserve yourbrand.nz to protect your brand. If you are a domain name investor it is a harder decision – do you double your holding costs by owning both the .co.nz and .nz extension for each name you own? I think you should tread lightly as with the majority of New Zealand businesses owning a .co.nz domain name it will likely remain the dominant and most trusted extension for years to come.

If you want to research the effects that the new domain extension launch will have you can look at what has happened in the UK which recently opened .uk to a lot of opposition. They have now passed the 100,000 registrations mark so interesting insights can be drawn from how they have been adopted there which may apply in New Zealand.

dotkiwiIf you’re not sold on registering a .nz domain name or having your business end in .sexy there is also a last option for you – a brand new domain extension – .kiwi. The .kiwi domain name was released to the general public on 17 March this year and can be registered at all the major domain registrars. I haven’t seen it widely adopted as yet but its a catchy extension and for the right brand could work.

There are now hundreds of options available for your website name and whilst the domain name you use won’t have a measurable effect on your ROI it is worth time researching and investing money into it as it will help with building your brand and ensuring customers remember you.

Duncan Jones

About The Author - Duncan Jones

I am a growth marketing specialist from New Zealand and im passionate about growing businesses through creative and performance focused digital marketing. I insist on tracking everything, follow proven growth processes and I still love the thrill of getting a first conversion then optimising & scaling the campaigns for clients across a huge range of industries. You can find me on LinkedIn here, find out how to hire me here or you can contact me here.


  1. As an update to this article, it’s worth highlighting that there are still around 370,000 shorter .nz names with PRR (Preferential Registration or Reservation) status that are yet to register or reserve the shorter version of their name. The deadline for this is 1pm 30 March 2015, so Registrants should contact a Registrar such as 1st Domains https://1stdomains.nz to register their shorter .nz names.

  2. Hi Duncan, it’s been a few years since you’ve written this article and I’m hoping you’ll see this and respond.
    I’m starting up a marketing business in NZ and wondering what the preferences or SEO advantages will be at this stage between .nz and co.nz?
    I already own both versions for my domain, but will there be any significant SEO impact based on which one I choose to the the main domain for the website?
    Apart from SEO, do you know how well the .nz domain extension has been adopted by now, are people comfortable using .nz instead of .co.nz?

    • Hi Ada, yes it has been!

      I would definitely go with the .co.nz as the main domain. It is the most widely used by reputable businesses, well known by the public and therefore is the most trusted. You could perhaps use .nz for any offline advertising since its shorter with a tracked redirect to the main site so you can measure the offline advertisings effectiveness.

      Not sure on any SEO benefits either way – perhaps .co.nz may be favoured by Google as well for the reasons above.


  3. Hi, Duncan Thanks so much for the information. I am based in Australia and we are just going through the same process here in Australia I am considering the .au opportunity for our business. Now that the .nz has been active for a number of years now in NZ I was inquiring how well has the new domain names have worked from an SEO point of view and overall ranking and searchability over the previous domain names. In Australia.com.au is king and I suppose I am looking to NZ to see how the public perception has been for the .nz.


    • Hi Richard,

      I don’t see too many .nz domains ranking but that is likely due to low adoption and old/more established businesses that rank highly being .co.nz – vs the actual domain being deemed lower quality by Google.

      Given the trust in Australian associated with .com.au due to all businesses being on it, and an ABN being required ensuring higher quality websites/experiences – I would be picking a .com.au domain (but registering the .au domain and redirecting it just in case you want to move later).


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