Building a company website: why choose .nz?

If you’re in New Zealand and want to establish your online presence - or you want to market yourself as a New Zealander to the world - choosing a .nz domain name makes sense. Here are six reasons why:

If you’re in New Zealand and want to establish your online presence – or you want to market yourself as a New Zealander to the world – choosing a .nz domain name for your company website makes sense.

Here are six reasons why:

Identity

A .nz domain name shows that you – or your business – has a New Zealand identity and that you are choosing to put a distinctly Kiwi face to your digital presence. Not only does this make you instantly recognisable by the very people you might be trying to reach – New Zealanders themselves – but it shows that you identify as a New Zealander too. A .nz domain name is also globally recognised, which helps international searchers find, and recognize, New Zealand products or businesses.

Trust

Qualitative research indicates that many New Zealanders trust .nz websites over .com ones. This is probably because .nz company websites indicate that their owners live, work, or have some other kind of affinity with, New Zealand. For those who are trying to establish a reputable and trustworthy brand within New Zealand – or market themselves overseas as a New Zealand company - a .nz domain name is a helpful step towards achieving a sense of trust.

Protection

In New Zealand, registering a .nz domain name works on a first-come, first-served basis. This means that once you have a domain name, so long as you keep it current you can continue to use it. Also, you can choose any registrar you wish to maintain it on your behalf, as well as transfer it to another registrar at any time. You can also expect that anyone accessing the register will not use your personal details for improper reasons.

Lastly, should you ever have a dispute over a domain name, you can access the Domain Name Commission’s (DNC) Dispute Resolution Service. This is a free-to-file service, with fees only required if your dispute requires an expert determination (there have only been 12 this year). In contrast, for those who have a .com dispute, they are forced to use the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers’ (ICANN) Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy service, which is a longer, more involved and more costly way to address domain name grievances.

Choice

The DNC has approved a number of second level domains (the bits that come before .nz) so you can distinguish yourself even further by choosing one. They include: .ac.nz, .geek.nz, .gen.nz, kiwi.nz, .net.nz, .maori.nz (and .māori.nz), .org.nz and .school.nz. Currently, the only restricted second level domains are: .govt.nz, .mil.nz, .iwi.nz, .health.nz, .parliament.nz and .cri.nz.

Growth

According to the DNC, .nz domain names grow at a rate of around 10 percent annually. As outlined in their monthly statistics (which are published online), in December this year there were more than 515,987 active websites with a .nz ending – up from just over 380,000 in January 2010. This growth is only expected to continue, especially as more and more SMEs, organisations and individuals go online. Consider this though: there are already over 103.7 million active .com addresses. With so many .com addresses already taken, you’ve got a far higher chance of securing a domain name you actually want with a .nz ending. You’ll also be part of a rising trend that can distinguish themselves from the .com masses.

Legal assurance

If you’ve got a .nz domain name, you fall under the jurisdiction of New Zealand’s legal system. However, if you have a .com domain name, you are subject to US domestic laws and jurisdiction. This means that the American government could seize your website.

While New Zealanders with .com domain names might feel that they have nothing to fear and are safe because they are doing no legal wrong, there are many examples of websites that have been seized by US government bodies, even though their business is completely legal in the country where it was registered. To see an example of what a seized website looks like visit bodog.com. Not a pretty site, is it?

At the end of the day, if you are marketing something to New Zealanders, or trying to communicate to a global audience with a Kiwi image, you should use .nz for your company website. However, for those who want to go one step further and really secure their brand and online identity, it doesn’t hurt to purchase both a .com and .nz domain name. Sure, you might only ever use one of them, but it’s a cost-effective option and will give you peace of mind. Better to be safe than sorry.

Patrick Watson is a communications advisor at the Domain Name Commission