Aardvark Daily
.com Names Now Cheaper Than .nz
Copyright © 1998 to Bruce Simpson, syndication rights available
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18 Mar 1998

Have Your Say

Changes due to take effect in the USA from April 1 have meant that the price of registering a .com name is about to drop to just NZ$120 for the first two years. Depending upon how it is purchased, the equivalent Domainz charges for the first two years of a locally registered .nz domain name could be as much as NZ$152+GST.

Comparing the cost of subsiquent years, Domainz fees come to as much as NZ$66.00+GST per annum while the revised fees for a .com domain are NZ$60 if paid directly to InterNIC in the USA.

Companies registering through a local agency would find themselves paying 12.5% GST on top of the InterNIC fee however the net cost remains unchanged as this amount can be claimed as an input cost on their next GST return.

A significant part of the registration and renewal costs for many .nz domain name holders is Domainz's highly contentious "Invoicing Fee" of $16. When first announced, this fee drew significant criticism from many players in the local industry.

Patrick O'Brien of Domainz says "I am sure the $16 billing fee seemed a a good idea at the time, and yes, it will eventually be removed. The $16 fee does raise its head, in say 5% of enquiries of this nature. The reality is that it's *not* a major issue".

O'Brien says that the fee was designed to encourage bulk-billing through agents in preference to indivdual billing of customers. This, he acknowledges, has not been a particularly effective strategy with over 50% of domain holders still being billed directly, resulting in significant collection costs being incurred.

Peter Mott of 2Day Internet says that this new pricing differential is unlikely to affect the choice of domain names for for most New Zealand businesses. "New Zealand customers prefer a .nz name" says Mott. According to Mott, one of the biggest problems with the .com domain is that it is now very congested and there's only a slim chance that most people's first choice of a name is still available.

Mott adds "NSI [the US registration authority] does have a dispute policy which in some situations can disadvantage name holders, but we have not experienced any problems with domains held by NZ customers."

O'Brien says "In our experience, service rather than price tends to be the real issue. There's a real misconception out there that New Zealand is an awfully expensive place for domain names."

O'Brien went on record last year to say that the Domainz charges would be reviewed mid '98 but, like Mott, he believes that the changes to US pricing wont have any major bearing on user's decisions.

Domainz plans to place more emphasis on creating an attractive discount structure for agents when it reviews its pricing as promised, later in the year.

If you're thinking we're worse off here in New Zealand, have some sympathy for Australian companies looking to register a domain name under .com.au. This page explains the rather restrictive rules regarding the issuance of names in the .com.au domain and this pricing page also points out that the "standard" level of service only offers a ten-day turnaround on registration requests.

When compared to its Australian equivalent, the NZ registry, Domainz, is vastly cheaper and more efficient, offering same-day processing for all registrations submitted by 4:00pm.

Perhaps we should think ourselves lucky!

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