Our Year

DNCL has been preparing for a period of change throughout the year. The year saw a restructure that aligned all of the functions under a Chief Operating and Policy Officer role.

This shift came as the DNCL readied itself for .nz policy making responsibilities moving to InternetNZ.

The office has also had some significant wins including working with affected registrants to release 6,675 conflicted names. DNCL also rolled out a privacy option for individual registrants allowing them to withhold certain registration details from public display on the .nz query service (formally the WHOIS).

Along with the privacy changes, the DNCL collaborates with NZRS Limited on risks identified around use of the Port 43 WHOIS service. After consultation with users of the Port 43 WHOIS, the DNCL implemented security changes to the output of the Port 43 WHOIS that were designed to protect registrants and the register itself.

Disputes and the Dispute Resolution Service (DRS)

As part of the Domain Name Commission’s role of helping individuals with their .nz online presence, we handle and resolve a number of disputes.

Disputes regarding .nz domain names can centre on several different topics. These can include how to get a UDAI (an identifier) from a Registrar or a dispute about who should have a .nz domain name.

With all disputes, we recommend that the parties involved try to resolve it between themselves first. This way, there is already an open dialogue between the parties, and the Domain Name Commission can assist the parties in reaching a suitable outcome.

DNCL administers a Dispute Resolution Service for anyone who wants to dispute the rights to a .nz domain name. This free-to-file service is a convenient and cost-effective alternative to going to Court. The Domain Name Commission also covers the cost of the dispute to go to Mediation.

An overview of the DRS is available here.

DRS Outcomes in 2017-2018

DNC 2017-2018 Outcomes diagram

Users of the Service

40% of all participants using the DRS appointed a representative to assist in their case. A representative isn’t necessarily a Lawyer; it could be someone with a technical understanding of domain names, or just someone that a person has asked to advocate on their behalf during the process.



Used a rep


Didn't use a rep



Used a rep


Didn't use a rep

A majority of both complainants and respondents are New Zealand based. This speaks to the .nz domain name space being for people, business and communities that wish to have a New Zealand online presence.

New Zealand

Top 4 Countries

Map of NZ

12 Complainant

13 Respondent

Map of World

Complainant AUS (4), US(3), UK (2), China (1)

Respondent China (5), Aus (2), India (1) Other (1)

Issues in the Disputes

Of the disputes that were received this year, 6 of the parties had noted that there was some prior relationship between parties. Working together to try and resolve the domain name dispute helped to maintain some sort of ongoing relationship.


  • 9%

    Identical or similar

  • 9%

    Unfair registration

  • 7%

    Likely to confuse,
    mislead or deceive

  • 7%

    Registered mark

  • 5%

    Fair registration


  • 10%

    Identical or similar

  • 8%

    Registered mark

  • 6%


  • 5%

    Unregistered mark

  • 5%


  • 5%


Florists working

Outcomes of Disputes

Outcomes of disputes graph

Informal Mediation

Informal Mediation graph

There were a total of 6 disputes that went to mediation this year, half of which settled at mediation, while in the remainder of cases, the parties settled outside of mediation. The final two mediated cases were referred to an Expert for decision. In both cases the Expert determined that a transfer of the domain name between the parties should occur.

Case Study

open workspace

The Complainant, business A, was a competitor of business B in the construction industry. Business A lodged a complaint, regarding a domain name that business B was the registrant of. Business B submitted a response to the complaint that allowed the dispute to go to mediation. The mediator tried to resolve the dispute between the parties that had both appointed representatives to advocate for them.

Unfortunately, the Mediator and the parties were unable to come to an agreement. However, before fees were paid for the dispute to go to Expert Determination, the parties came to an agreement over the disputed domain name.

Points to note:

It is important that we encourage the parties try and initiate a dialogue themselves; not only can this can help not only the mediator to try and resolve the dispute, but will also allow the parties to reach an agreed outcome themselves if mediation is unsuccessful.

Policy and Compliance


enquiries received

was the preferred contact method

Key issues
include Conflicted Names, Customer Service, Resellers

Conflicted names

The Domain Name Commission handled many enquiries this year about our conflicted name process. A conflicted name is where equivalent names exist in more than one second level of .nz – with all registered before 30 May 2012. The Commission’s conflicted name process enables conflicted registrants of a conflicted domain name to have their say on who (if anyone) might register name at the second level.

This year started with 14,677 conflicted names and ended up with 2,452.

The Commission’s conflicted names communications strategy resulted in 4 notifications to registrants about the 18 October 2017 deadline to lodge a preference for the conflict set. The expiry of the deadline led to 6,024 preferences lodged.

Between October and December 2017 our Office, with the assistance of NZRS Ltd, managed the release to market of many previously conflicted domains that became available on a first-come, first-served basis. DNCL achieved the release through work the Office did with individual registrants to manage their domain name preferences.

The Commission’s experience with conflicted names has now matured with the closure of the Preferential Registration Eligibility (PRE) period.

There was a substantial trend in new creates in .nz activity towards the later part of 2017, following the deadline to lodge a preference for a conflicted domain name, and subsequent removal of parties who had not done so. This saw a number of previously conflicted domain names released to the market which were subsequently registered.


A significant amount of time in 2017-18 was devoted to the implementation of the Individual Registrant Privacy Option. Between 28 November 2017 and 28 March Registrars were able to voluntarily offer the service before it became mandatory.

Since the individual Registrant Privacy Option (RPO) became mandatory for all .nz Registrars to offer, the registrants of more than 7,000 domain names have taken up the offer to withhold their phone and address details. This has been a positive development. Consumers nowadays understand better the principles of only collecting and sharing the minimum amount of personal information required to get the best service, or where there are pressing public policy needs.

DNCL also plans to further enhance our approach to privacy with the commencement of the European General Data Protection Regulation (EU GDPR) on 25 May 2018 and the pending amendments to New Zealand’s Privacy Act.

Regulatory Compliance and Enforcement

This year we commenced a program of work to strengthen the reputation of .nz as a safe and trusted country code top-level domain (ccTLD).


Key to our regulatory approach is the practical use of information from different sources to inform decision-making about how to manage essential compliance with the .nz policy framework, terms of use, and contracts.

Information taken from our enquiry operations is supplemented by other sources, including de-identified information sharing among global ccTLD regulators, and from national regulators, law enforcement, and industry stakeholders as well as online forums and social media.

We also receive a large number of reports from members of the public about the .nz domain name space. We use these as an essential source of information that helps us assess risks and take action as appropriate, including passing on to other authorities.


Where possible, we aim to identify and treat risks before they lead to actual consumer harm. Regulatory risks are market behaviours that:

  • represent non-compliance with the .nz policy framework we regulate
  • present potential or actual registrant harm
  • have an impact on our ability to be an effective regulator
  • require a regulatory response due to public concern.

We put our effort where it counts and target the areas of highest risk and harm. Risks can take many forms – for example, threats posed by:

  • a particular product
  • the conduct of an individual Registrar
  • a new or emerging business practice, or
  • the behaviour or business model of an entire industry.

Domain Cancellations


domain names for incorrect or invalid registration details

In the six month period between October and March 2018, the Domain Name Commission cancelled 103 domain names for incorrect or invalid registration details. These cancellations are in contrast to 2 domain name registration cancellations between April 2017 and September 2017.


domain name registration cancellations between April 2017 and September 2017.

We have also commenced a program of work to follow up domain names we are made aware of by CERT NZ or other trusted notifiers, and those brought to our attention by members of the public.


The DNCL engages with the local internet community including registrars, Government and other industry professionals as well as the everyday New Zealanders who access our services.

Our relationships with all of these groups benefit and strengthen the .nz domain name space.

Man in VR headset

.nz Awareness

The Domain Name Commission’s awareness work has two distinct audiences. First, the staff of .nz authorised Registrars covered by .nz policies and any resellers that may be working in the space. Second, the broader internet community.

Registrars, resellers and registrants all need to be aware of their responsibilities under the .nz policy framework concerning the management of .nz domain names. The latter need to be mindful that they have responsibilities in relation to their registration records.

Publications and Media Interaction

In the last year, the engagement from the DNCL has experienced a shift with a more substantial number of media enquiries and active media work around the Individual Registrant Privacy Option, the incoming Commissioner and the Port 43 WHOIS changes. All of these opportunities presented a chance for us to further educate around different areas in .nz and about the Commission itself.

Registrar Advisory Group

Registrar Advisory Group

The Registrar Advisory Group is an elected group of .nz authorised registrars who represent the .nz Registrar community. It mainly operates online during the year through a group list.
The advisory group assists with the implementation and promotion of the .nz policy framework. One face-to-face meeting occurred during 2017-18, subjects covered included Terms and Conditions, General Data Privacy Regulation and Privacy options of Registrars. The advisory group has also agreed to meet quarterly to help further lift engagement.

.nz policy Training

This year the Office joined in with the NZRS trial of Zoom as a platform to deliver short information sessions on topics of interest to staff of .nz authorised Registrars. One of the most popular information sessions provided through the program was material produced and delivered by our Support Analyst on the Individual Registrant Privacy Option. We have plans to work on our approach to e-learning as part of our compliance program for 2019-2022.

policy and training

.nz activity

Read more about the 2017/18 activity here.

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Registrars & Market Share

Read more about the 2017/18 Registrars & Market Share here.

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Oversight of NZRS & the SRS

Read more about the 2017/18 Oversight of NZRS & the SRS here.

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