Review panel recommends regulation for NZ domain resellers

Review panel recommends regulation for NZ domain resellers

Registrants to be empowered to increase sales and usage of .nz domains

Sue Chetwin

Sue Chetwin

Credit: Supplied/InternetNZ

A review of the .nz domain spaces is recommending increased regulation of domain resellers and the creation of a reseller identification system.

It is also recommending changes to the way domain registrants, of which there are 73, manage and sell domains.

The panel was tasked with considering whether the .nz policy framework was still fit-for-purpose, after little amendment over two decades, chair Sue Chetwin said.

While InternetNZ records 73 registrars, it does not know how many resellers there are or who they are, the report said.

The Domain Name Commission encourages resellers to hold a formal agreement with their authorised registrar but this was not enforced.

"The panel believes the overall lack of regulation of resellers creates an inability to hold them to account for inappropriate or harmful activities," the report said. 

This situation created frustration for registrars, registrants and the registry.

"The panel believes resellers need to be more effectively regulated and, following submitter feedback, proposes establishing a new reseller ID as is done in Australia.

"Resellers would be officially registered with the .nz registry and issued a unique reseller ID. A new public reseller search tool would be available for people to determine the name of the reseller and their associated registrar.

The reseller ID would associate the reseller with domain names under management, for display
in the WHOIS record; and bulk transferring reseller ID associated domain names from one registrar to
another registrar.

Resellers would also operate under an agreement with their registrar. 

"This agreement must include minimum terms and conditions to ensure the reseller complies with .nz
published policies," the report said. 

"It remains the registrar responsibility to regulate reseller activity and monitoring of this will be enhanced by the proposed new registrar service level agreement system which the Domain Name Commission would audit."

The panel is also recommending the .nz domain name space should be governed by five overarching principles: being secure, trusted and safe; being open and accessible; benefiting New Zealand and responsive to our diverse social, cultural and ethnic environment; supporting te reo Māori and Māori participation in .nz; and enabling growth and innovation. 

Under the principle about supporting te reo Māori and Māori participation in .nz, it is particularly recommending InternetNZ consult more with Māori to develop meaningful partnership relationships.

Other recommendation include enabling variable wholesale domain pricing and rebates to registrars and to allow incentives to registrars for particular initiatives to promote growth in domain sales and usage, which has been flat for a number of years.

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