At the ICA conference in September I had a great talk with Edwin Bruce, who's responsible for New Zealand's e-government initiatives. Among many other things, he pointed out that New Zealand has an opportunity to do some interesting things with moderated second-level domains under the .nz top-level domain. There are five such domains now: .govt.nz (government), .mil.nz (military), .iwi.nz (Maori), .parliament.nz, (parliament) and .cri.nz (Crown Research Institute).
Because New Zealand's country-code top-level domain (ccTLD), .nz, is much more tightly controlled than, say, .us, New Zealand's moderated 2nd-level namespace is analogous to ICANN's notion of sponsored/chartered top-level namespace. If you're a bank or a law office today in New Zealand, you'll probably register under the unmoderated 2nd-level domain .co.nz. Edwin envisions aligning the existing regulatory apparatus for banking and law with corresponding moderated 2nd-level domains: .bank.nz, .law.nz.
This wouldn't be an option in the US, at least not under our ccTLD. For example, .law.us is currently held by Neustar, but .bank.us is owned by Vishal Ved, 9335 Lee Highway, #1213, Fairfax, AL. So if we wanted a system like the one Edwin proposes, we'd need to do it under a new TLD.
I'm sure that's unlikely for all sorts of reasons, and what Edwin proposes isn't even happening yet in New Zealand where it pretty easily could. But it would be interesting to see this model tried there. Are there other ccTLDs where it's farther along?
Former URL: http://weblog.infoworld.com/udell/2006/12/11.html#a1576