The “.co.nz vs .nz” discussion remains popular. While existing businesses prefer to stay with .co.nz, many new businesses decide to use .nz for their website with its .co.nz twin domain redirecting to it.
About 5 years ago in October 2013, InternetNZ decided to allow registrations directly under the Top Level Domain .nz. New Zealand is not the first country who introduced Second Level Domain.
How did other countries handle it?
Austria introduced its .at domain in 1995, over 20 years ago. Since then domain names under the .co.at extension, which was the only option for decades, has phased out naturally. While .co.at are still available and can be purchased, Internet users have changed their habits and use .at domain names instead. Some older websites continue to use their .co.at but they are relics, few and far between.
Austrian users have accepted and adapted, making .at without doubt the main choice for new registrations. Users also stopped registering .co.nat as preventive measure. It took pretty much one generation until the new .at extension has become the standard. What about other countries?
United Kingdom and .CO.UK
United Kingdom is in a similar situation as New Zealand. The .co.uk domain extension was introduced in 1985 and registrations under the Top Level Domain .uk were only made possible in June 2014. The shift from .co.uk towards the shorter .uk version has already started. Many registrants still secure both versions, in order to avoid accidental loss of traffic and to protect their customers from scams.
What does that mean for New Zealand?
Will people need to register both .co.nz and .nz forever? We don’t think so. Looking at how Austrian Internet users have adapted, we expect New Zealand Internet users to follow the same path. While it has taken well over a decade for .co.at to be phased out in favour of .at, we don’t think it will take as long in New Zealand. Internet penetration and usage as well as digital education is much higher nowadays.
Digital life is faster than ever before and the life span of Internet related things often shorter. Seeing how fast social media platforms rise and fall and how fast we switch to the next one, makes us believe that this current generation has no problem adjusting to .nz. What are your thoughts on that?
.NZ will Claim the Throne
10 years from now .co.nz domain names will likely be a relic from the past, just like .co.at is today in Austria. Until then, we agree with most people who insist that it is important to secure both, .co.nz and .nz. Those extra ~$25 dollars for the second domain will help you avoid losing loss of traffic and protect you and your users from being the victim of confusion or spam, if a third party claims your domain.
What is the verdict?
For businesses that focus on the local market, we recommend to register both versions, .co.nz and .nz. This way no one else can register the twin domain and steal some of your traffic or maybe even defraud your customers. If your company only serves the New Zealand market, .co.nz and .nz are sufficient.
What if I want to go global?
If you plan to expand internationally, we highly recommend to secure your .com domain name as well (if it is still available that is). Even if it is just a future plan and not really on your roadmap for the next few years, make sure to register your .com straight away. The chances are really high that your brand name is being registered by a third party otherwise and the only way to get it back is to pay them their asking price.