2021-2022 Annual Report
Who are we
The Domain Name Commission Limited (DNCL) is appointed by InternetNZ to develop and monitor a competitive registrar market, as well as create a fair environment for the registration and management of .nz domain names.
The 2021/22 year has been a year of significant change for the Commission. Through people changes at board and staff levels to a refreshed strategy, our focus has been firmly on our critical role of providing great services for the users of the .nz domain name space.
In my report last year I noted Isobel Egerton’s arrival as Assistant Commissioner. The resilience we had in mind in creating this role has been drawn on towards the end of the business year, with Brent Carey deciding early in 2022 to move on after four very successful years as Commissioner.
The Board and I thank Brent for all his work during his time in the role. He has led the team in an exemplary fashion, including during the time of COVID-19. He has many accomplishments to his name, including leading the modernisation of our dispute resolution service, and was a key voice in the ongoing update to the .nz policies framework - and on the international stage too. We wish him luck in his challenging new role with NetSafe, one of the Commission’s many partner organisations.
At the Board level, a review of the company’s strategy has updated the framework for the Commission’s work. This may be updated further if InternetNZ makes changes to the overall .nz strategy, a discussion slated for the middle of the year.
With my decision to leave the InternetNZ group, also announced in early 2022, the Board will have a new Chair, with Interim Chief Executive Andrew Cushen stepping into that role.
I have huge confidence in the whole team, both the Board and staff of the Commission, and it has been a delight being part of this work. The future is bright.
My thanks in particular to fellow directors Mel Hewitson and Anita Killeen for their work, and to Brent Carey for an always stimulating and rewarding Chair-Commissioner relationship throughout our time working together.
To everyone who has been part of our work in 2021/22, my thanks. There are challenges in the online world that we can only tackle effectively by working together, and I know that we will keep on doing exactly that in the coming years.
Outgoing Chair, Domain Name Commission
In 2021/2022 DNCL’s committed team continued to provide trusted oversight of the .nz domain name space and to offer excellent dispute resolution options.
This year we finalised the development of our online dispute service and launched it for domain disputes.
Our staff handled a steady number of service requests, with 1,863 enquiries received.
We worked intensively on our plan to reduce the number of conflicted names, with the number dropping from 1945 to 1623 over the year. With our new offering of online dispute resolution for conflicted names in the coming year, we hope to see this accelerate.
We continued to receive reports of malicious or illegal activity associated with domain names and have been engaging with stakeholders about how regulatory frameworks can best protect New Zealanders.
In the coming year we will:
- embed our new DNCL strategy for 2022-2025,
- review the piloted online dispute resolution service,
- roll out new internal operating procedures that align with the new InternetNZ registry system,
- add to our e-learning offerings,
- continue to participate in .nz policy review work.
I want to acknowledge Brent Carey who led the team over the year, inspiring us to always improve, and supporting us during difficult COVID times. During Brent’s tenure, DNCL has become more resilient to change and has considerably improved its service delivery methods. DNCL was again named an employer of choice in the annual New Zealand Human Resources Director awards.
Thank you to the Directors of DNCL for their hard work and for the extra guidance provided to me as I take on the role of interim Domain Name Commissioner. The productive relationship that we have with the Board and InternetNZ is highly valued.
Finally, I want to thank the team who helped so many consumers and worked constructively with many stakeholders. Your continued commitment in difficult times is inspiring and most appreciated.
Interim Domain Name Commissioner
domain name registrations on 31 March 2022, up from 722,391 at the same time last year.
authorised registrars, 62 per cent of which are incorporated in New Zealand.
domain names were investigated for possible fake registration details. 161 of these names were suspended during the year and 10 of these were later reinstated.
domain names investigated were referred to us by our online safety partners; the top referrer is Netcraft.
domain names were analysed by our fake webshop algorithm, co-designed with InternetNZ.
The number of names with the privacy option applied increased from 93,365 to 98,955. With growth happening slowly year on year, we look forward to the 100,000th domain name to have privacy applied next year.
Conflicted domain names trended down from 2,151 in April 2020, to 1,945 in March 2021 and now sit at a historic low of 1,623 in March 2022. When registrations directly at the second level opened, the number of conflicted domain names was 14,677.
The Domain Name Commission actively monitors the daily registration of .nz domain names. During the manual spot check of these 200-300 domain names, we use keywords to identify domain names that may be subject to further investigation.
The Domain Name Commission pays particular attention to .nz domain names that are registered in the banking sector as these are often associated with infrastructure abuse.
Any domain name that is identified, is then followed up to ensure that the registration information meets .nz policy requirements.
We also monitor this list for particular trends (for example IRD Scams around March) - as well as following any major event such as natural disaster.
Top suspension categories for failure to verify details
Year in review
Announcement of InternetNZ and CIRA partnering on the new registry.
Flexible first policy release and adoption as part of the organisation culture.
Received the Human Resources Director Employer of Choice in public sector or not for profit category.
Invested in Agile Kanban to organise our work.
Draft .nz rules approved by InternetNZ Council
Celebrated 19 years of having the role of Commissioner.
.nz Mahi Aroha volunteer awards night. DNCL judged and sponsored it.
MoU with Births, Deaths, and Marriages signed.
Started using Dialpad as DNCL’s telephony service.
Te Tiriti o Waitangi training is undertaken by all staff.
Commenced compliance program for 30 domain names registered to a reseller who registered in their own name.
TalentLMS cloud software was chosen as our preferred e-learning provider.
Annual Shopsafe campaign launched along with our first piece of consumer research into New Zealanders' shopping habits using websites associated with a .nz.
Migrated to cloud-based Office 365.
Completed our annual Domain Names price survey. Results showed that prices remained steady.
Moved in at our new premises at 18 Willis Street.
International Watch Foundation figures show that abuse reports have halved in 2021.
Final design work on the Online Dispute Resolution platform.
Testing of Online Dispute Resolution platform.
DNCL delivered training to mediators who will be mediating domain disputes online.
DNCL announced sponsorship of AMINZ Consensual Scholarship, focused on mediation.
Online Dispute Resolution opened to domain name disputes.
Our purpose is to be a fair, independent, and accessible self-regulator who provides trusted oversight of the .nz domain name space and an excellent dispute resolution service. The Commission’s strategic intent is to promote and protect the rights of registrants as set out in the enforcement of our contractual and policy framework.
DNCL 2022 to 2025 strategic plan
Five strategic outcomes underpin this:
Ensuring a fair, effective and efficient .nz self regulatory system.
Driving a culture that promotes .nz market participants readiness and ability to comply with expectations set by policy, sound risk management approaches, and broader New Zealand community standards.
Fostering fairer, simpler and contemporary forums for people to resolve complaints with their service providers and disputes with each other.
Driving DNCL’s regulated population to tackle domain name abuse in line with cross sector and jurisdictional commitments to minimise online harm for consumers.
Future proof our organisation and operating model to deliver services and value that matter to our stakeholders and create a fun place to work.
The Commissioner, Brent Carey, led the organisation with the Executive Leadership Team of an Assistant Commissioner, Manager Complaints, and Compliance and Implementation Manager.
The Domain Name Commission Board will appoint a new permanent Domain Name Commissioner in the next financial year. InternetNZ as the shareholder of the Domain Name Commission will also appoint a new permanent Chair of the Commission Board (who will also be the permanent InternetNZ Chief Executive).