Sunday, March 21, 2010

.NZ IDN Sunrise Registration Period


As previously reported here and here the Domain Name Commission (DNC) has been preparing policies on introducing a limited set of international domain names (IDNs) to the .NZ space to allow the supporting of the Māori language language. This requires adding the 5 macronised vowels ā, ē, ī, ō and ū to the English alphabet.


They have now written and published the IDN Sunrise Policy (or pdf) for registration during a "sunrise period" that will allow the existing registrant of a Maori name spelled without macrons to register the macronised version of the name.

The sunrise period is from from 6 April 2010 to 6 July 2010  and will be run by the DNC. After the period is over, the requests will be reviewed and the successful registrants will be have the name registered at their current registrar. This is a very brief summary, please read the policy  for details.

Should You Register?

The burning question is should you register the macronised version of your existing domain name?

Back when I first reported on this, I felt that  
  • Correctly macronised domain names will have an appeal to Māori and speakers of te reo Māori with a lesser interest from other groups.
  • Current technology makes these names difficult to type on a PC with a standard English language keyboard layout selected. This means that IDNs will receive very low type-in traffic.
  • If I was going to acquire an IDN, I would want to also have the ASCII version of the name.
  • Both technology and attitudes are going to change and it may both become easier to type IDNs and a social requirement to use macronised names.
  • I'm unlikely to register a name unless I already have the ASCII version and my criteria will be based on value add to the ASCII version with a little insurance against future trends. Medium term this may change, but for now this is me.
Of course I was thinking as a domain name investor here, but most of these points apply to businesses looking to acquire names as well. You should register the macronised version of the name
  • If you see it as a branding bonus,
  • If you, or your staff are sensitive to cultural issues,
  • If your customer base is sensitive to cultural issues,
  • If you percieve an advantage to using the macronised version in print or display ads,
  • To avoid typosquatting (But remember these names are hard to type today, so this is cheap insurance against a future problem)
As we're talking about the sunrise period, it's a given that you will have the unmacronised version of the name, once that's over I'd recommend acquiring the unmacronised version at the same time as the macronised one to get that all-important type-in traffic.

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