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  FAQ – Consultation on .mt registrations 

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This FAQ was used in the public consultation process and is now superseded by an updated FAQ.


This FAQ addresses common questions arising from the proposed changes in the Domain Registration process under the .mt name space. Consequently these should be read in conjunction with the proposed new Domain Name Registration Policy and the related proposed amended Terms and Conditions. A consultation document was published on 1 June 2016 and interested parties are being requested to send in their feedback on the proposed changes by 30 June 2016. Further details may be found at https://www.nic.org.mt/2LD.


General Information

1. What is NIC(Malta)?

The Network Information Centre Malta, also known as NIC(Malta), is a non-profit Foundation which is responsible for the .mt top-level country domain for Malta. NIC(Malta) is the registry for .mt domain names. The responsibilities include the

  • creation and implementation of a domain naming policy for .mt;
  • maintenance of the .mt nameservers;
  • promotion of the .mt domain;
  • registration of new domain names.
2. What is a domain name?
A domain name, such as for example myname.com.mt, acts like an address and identifies a particular entity in the Internet.

3. What is a second/third level domain name?
A domain name can be split into a number of levels. The country code top level domain name is .mt. A second level domain name, e.g. myname.mt is one where the registered label myname is at the second level, immediately to the left of .mt. A third level domain name, e.g. myname.com.mt is one where the registered label myname is at the third level. In the case of .mt the second level label is a fixed three-letter name that gives an indication of the type of organisation that has registered the label myname. This could be one of the following:
  • .com.mt – an entity that operates on a commercial basis e.g. limited liability company
  • .org.mt – an entity that operates on a non-profit basis e.g. charity, foundation
  • .net.mt – a provider of Internet related network services e.g. ISP
  • .edu.mt – an education institution recognized by Ministry of Education in Malta
  • .gov.mt – a Government of Malta entity.
4. What is the registered label
The registered label is that part of the domain name that the Holder selects as part of his/her domain name and with the proposed changes can be at either the second or third level. As an example, a Holder can register the label myname either at the second level – myname.mt or at the third level – myname.com.mt. Note that in the case of third level domain names, the assignment of the second level name (com, org, edu, net, gov) is dictated by the type of organization registering the name.

5. What is a corresponding domain name?
Two corresponding domain names have the same registered label, one in the second level and the other in the third level. For example, myname.com.mt and myname.mt are two corresponding domain names.

6. What is meant by the term “Holder”?
The Holder refers to the registrant of a domain name, that is, the legal entity who has been delegated the right to use the domain by NIC(Malta) and who accepts all associated legal consequences.

Consultation Process

7. What is this public consultation about?
NIC(Malta) is proposing to change the way domain names are registered in the .mt name space. Currently it is only possible to register domain names at the third level under one of the designated second level names, i.e. under .com.mt; .org.mt; .net.mt; .edu.mt or gov.mt. With this proposal it would also be possible for anyone to register directly a name under .mt. The existing third level registration would also be retained. Thus, for example, if one wishes to register the name myname, in addition to being able to register it as, say, myname.com.mt, one would also be able to register it as myname.mt. NIC(Malta) is conducting this public consultation so as to ensure that changes to the existing registration policy bring the maximum benefits to existing and future registrants whilst causing the minimum possible inconvenience. The proposed new policy may be found at https://www.nic.org.mt/2LD.

8. How can I provide feedback on the proposed changes?
The consultation document is available at https://www.nic.org.mt/2LD. This includes a copy of the proposed new policy. Feedback on the proposed new policy may be sent via e-mail to 2LD@nic.org.mt or in writing to NIC(Malta), University Campus, Msida MSD2080, Malta. Furthermore, a public consultation meeting will also be held. Further details about this meeting will be announced in the press.

9. For how long will the consultation period run?
Feedback will continue to be accepted until 30 June 2016.

10. What will happen after the consultation period?
Once the feedback is processed, NIC(Malta) will determine whether to adopt the proposed policy, or adopt an amended version, or seek further consultations or decide to retain the existing policy. It is planned that this process will be completed by the end of 2016.

11. Why is NIC(Malta) proposing this change?
The following are the main reasons for the proposed new policy:
  • More choice – Through the proposed policy NIC(Malta) would be offering more choice to existing and future registrants in the .mt name space.
  • Simpler, shorter names – Domain names no longer would require an additional three letter second level domain name, resulting in shorter and snappier names. The focus of the domain name could be on your organisation’s preferred branding.
  • Avoids inappropriate labelling – Some domain names do not quite fit within the existing hierarchical structure which categorises a domain name as being used either by an entity operating on a commercial basis (.com.mt), non-profit organisation (.org.mt), internet service provider (.net.mt), educational (.edu.mt) or governmental (.gov.mt) entity. Thus, for example, individuals may register their personal domain names without any hindrance.
  • Follows similar changes in the wider Internet – Other countries have adopted similar changes to their policies, such as for example .uk and .nz. In addition, IANA has recently introduced a large number of generic top-level domain names which are bound to increase in the future. Therefore, this new policy is also being proposed so that .mt remains relevant in the evolving Internet.

12. When would the new policy be adopted?
Once the feedback is processed, NIC(Malta) will determine whether to adopt the proposed policy, or adopt an amended version, or seek further consultations or decide to retain the existing policy. It is planned that this process will be completed by the end of 2016.

Existing Domain Names

13. Would the existing domain names remain valid?
Yes, existing domain names would remain valid. One could still continue to renew existing third level domain names such as for example myname.com.mt. One could even continue to register new third level domain names.

14. I have a domain name registered under .com, would this change affect me?
No, this would not affect you. This proposed new policy applies only for domain names registered under .mt.

15. I already have a registered .mt domain name, how would this proposed change affect me?
If, say, you have myname.com.mt registered under your name, you could continue to normally hold and renew this name now and in the future. In addition, during the Preferential Registration Period, the name myname.mt would become blocked so that no one else could register this second level domain name. Furthermore, if no one else is blocking this name (hence the name is not in conflict), you could register myname.mt for free for the whole duration of the Preferential Registration Period. After the Preferential Registration Period normal registration fees would apply.

16. Would it cost me more to continue renewing my existing domain name?
No, the renewals fees for existing domain names would remain the same. NIC(Malta) is also committing itself to revise downwards the domain name registration fees once the impact of this policy change can be adequately assessed.

17. What is a Legacy Holder?
A Legacy Holder is the Holder of a duly registered domain name before 1 June 2016.

18. Should I register the blocked domain name corresponding to my existing third level domain name?
If you are the Holder of a legacy third level domain name (registered before 1 June 2016), say myname.com.mt, then the corresponding second level domain name (myname.mt) would become automatically blocked during the Preferential Registration Period. However at the expiry of this period, any remaining blocked non-conflicting domain names would become available for anyone to register on a first-come first-served basis. Therefore, if you wish to start using the new second level domain name version or if you wish to protect the domain name at the second level, then you have to register the corresponding second level domain name before the expiry of the Preferential Registration Period.

Preferential Rights to Existing Domain Holders

19. What is the Preferential Registration Period?
The Preferential Registration Period starts from the date that the new policy is launched (the Launch Date) for a period of three years. During this period , any existing and validly registered third level domain name that has been registered before 1 June 2016 (e.g. myname.com.mt) would have its corresponding second level domain name (e.g. myname.mt) blocked. Non-conflicted blocked domain names may only be registered by the Holder of the corresponding third level domain name. For example, only the Holder of myname.com.mt may register myname.mt during the Preferential Registration Period (assuming that this is not conflicted). Also, the additional registration of myname.mt would be free of charge for the whole duration of the Preferential Registration Period as long as myname.com.mt remains validly registered. In addition, during the Preferential Registration Period, new Holders who register a second level domain name (e.g. myname.mt) are also entitled to register for free a corresponding third level domain name that the Holder may qualify for (e.g. myname.com.mt), if this is available.

20. What is a blocked domain name?
A blocked domain name is a second level domain name that cannot be registered during the Preferential Registration Period except by the Holder who has a corresponding third level domain name. Every third level domain name which is duly registered and that has been registered before 1 June 2016 (e.g. myname.org.mt) would have its corresponding second level domain name (e.g. myname.mt) automatically blocked for the whole duration of the Preferential Registration Period. Note that a blocked domain name still cannot be used until this is registered. If a blocked and non-conflicting domain name is not registered before the expiry of the Preferential Registration Period, then this would become available for registration by anybody on a first-come first-served basis.

21. Do I need to do anything to block the corresponding second level domain name?
No, if you are the Holder of say myname.org.mt, then myname.mt would be automatically blocked for the entire duration of the Preferential Registration Period.

22. What is a conflicted domain name?
A conflicted second level domain name is one that is blocked by more than one Holder. For example, the Holders of myname.org.mt and myname.com.mt both block myname.mt. In this case the conflicted second level domain name cannot be registered by anyone. This conflicted state remains true as long as there are more than two Holders blocking the name, even beyond the Preferential Registration Period.

23. How can I register my corresponding second level domain name?
During the Preferential Registration Period, you would be able to register the corresponding second level domain name at any time free of charge, as long as this is not conflicted. Renewal fees would also be free for the entire duration of the Preferential Registration Period (pro rata). After the Preferential Registration Period, no second level domain names would remain blocked (except conflicted names), and these would become available for registration by anyone on a first-come first-served basis.

24. How can I check if the domain name that I am blocking is not conflicted?
Once the new policy is launched, you would be able to check the status of a domain name by accessing https://conflict.nic.org.mt. A domain name may be shown in anyone of the following states:
  • Available – the domain name is available by anyone on a first-come first-served basis.
  • Registered – the domain name is already registered by a Holder and is not available for registration.
  • Blocked – the domain name is blocked by a Holder of a corresponding third level domain name. This is not available for registration during the entire duration (as long as it remains blocked) of the Preferential Registration Period except by the Holder of the corresponding third level domain name.
  • Conflicted – the domain name is blocked by two different Holders and cannot be registered.
  • Prohibited – the domain name is not allowed to be used due to some technical or other reason.

25. I have a conflicted domain name, what can I do to register it?
You cannot register a conflicted domain name as long as this remains in the conflicted state. You would be able to use NIC(Malta)’s service available at https://conflict.nic.org.mt to determine who are the other Holder/s that are causing the conflict. If the other Holder/s stop registering the domain name that is causing the conflict, or submit in writing that they are renouncing their right to continue blocking their corresponding second level domain name such that only you remain blocking the corresponding second level domain name, then this becomes available for registration by you. If a conflicted domain name becomes available, the remaining Holder has either one year from the date that this becomes available or until the end of the Preferential Registration Period – which ever date comes later, to decide whether or not to register this name until this becomes available to other parties on a first come first served basis.

26. I have registered my domain name on or after the 1 June 2016 but before the new policy is launched, what is my status?
This depends on the particular name that you have registered. If your registered label does not conflict with any other domain name, then for all intents and purposes your registration would be considered on par with those registered before 1 June 2016. On the other hand if your registered label is the same as another registered before 1 June 2016, then the registered name would be considered as if it was registered after the launching of the new policy and no new conflicts are registered for the corresponding second level domain name. Another possibility is that two or more Holders register a conflicting domain name on or after the 1 June 2016 but before the new policy is launched. In this case the name is considered in conflict.

For example, you register myname.com.mt sometime on or after 1 June 2016 and before the new policy is launched. If no one else has registered myname.org.mt or myname.edu.mt or myname.net.mt or myname.gov.mt, then myname.mt becomes blocked and you would be able to register this name during the Preferential Registration Period when the new policy is launched. If on the other hand, say, someone else had registered myname.org.mt before 1 June 2016, then you would have no entitlements over myname.mt. In this case only the Holder of myname.org.mt would be able to register myname.mt during the Preferential Registration Period. For the third case, if one Holder registers myname.org.mt and another Holder registers myname.com.mt during this period, then myname.mt will become conflicted when the new policy is launched.

New Domain Name Registration

27. Who is eligible to register a domain name under .mt?
Any legal entity may register a domain name under .mt. There are no restrictions regarding the nationality or location of the entity. The policy puts some legal requirements on the potential Holder such as for example not to infringe the intellectual property rights of third parties.

28. Should I register at the second level, third level or at both levels?
This depends on your particular circumstances and needs. If you wish to show the status of your organisation, then it might be a good idea to register under the appropriate second level hierarchal domain. For instance, if your organisation is a non-profit one and you wish to underline this, then you may consider registering myname.org.mt. If on the other hand you are, say, a commercial entity and do not wish to have clutter in your Internet branding, then you may wish to opt for myname.mt. Also, if your domain name does not naturally fit under any of the existing second level names, say you are registering a personal domain name, then your natural choice is to register directly at the second level. You may also wish to protect the use of the domain name. In which case it makes sense to register under both the second and third level (say myname.com.mt and myname.mt). Note that the existing rules of registration at the third level would still continue to be enforced. So, for example, if you are commercial entity you would not be allowed to register myname.org.mt which is reserved for non-profit organisations.

29. Why should I register in the .mt domain name space?
There could be several reasons why one would register a domain name in the .mt name space, including but not limited to:
  • The .mt name space enjoys a good reputation. Websites bearing this name are perceived to be dependable.
  • You identify your domain name with Malta.
  • The required name is not available under other top-level domains such as .com.
  • You wish to protect your name also in the .mt name space.

30. I want to register a new .mt domain name, how would this proposed change affect me?
With the proposed policy change, if you wish, say, to register the name myname and you are a commercial entity, then you have the option to register either myname.com.mt or myname.mt (if they are available). If you register myname.mt you may also optionally register and renew for free myname.com.mt for the entire duration of the Preferential Registration Period. After the Preferential Registration Period normal registration and renewal fees would apply.

31. Would it cost me more to register new domain names at the second level?
No, the registration fees for new domain names at the second and third level would be the same. However, NIC(Malta) is also committing itself to revise downwards the domain name registration fees once the impact of this policy change can be adequately assessed.

32. Can I register a blocked domain name?
You can only register a blocked domain name if you are also the Holder of the corresponding third level domain name, otherwise this is not possible during the Preferential Registration Period. For example, if myname.mt is blocked (and not conflicted) and you are the Holder of myname.org.mt, then you may register myname.mt at any time for free during the Preferential Registration Period.

33. Can I register a conflicted domain name?
No, this is not possible as long as this remains in the conflicted state.

34. How do I check if I can register a second or a third level domain name?
The status of a second or a third level domain name may be determined by accessing https://conflict.nic.org.mt. A domain name may be shown in anyone of the following states:
  • Available – the domain name is available by anyone on a first-come first-served basis.
  • Registered – the domain name is already registered by a Holder and is not available for registration.
  • Blocked – the domain name is blocked by a Holder of a corresponding third level domain name. This name is not available for registration during the entire duration (as long as it remains blocked) of the Preferential Registration Period except by the Holder of the corresponding third level domain name.
  • Conflicted – the domain name is blocked by two different Holders and cannot be registered.
  • Prohibited – the domain name is not allowed to be used due to some technical or other reason.

Important dates in the New Policy

35. What is the Preferential Registration Period?
The Preferential Registration Period starts from the date that the new policy is launched (the Launch Date) for a period of three years. During this period, any existing and validly registered third level domain name that has been registered before 1 June 2016 (e.g. myname.com.mt) would have its corresponding second level domain name (e.g. myname.mt) blocked. Non-conflicted blocked domain names may only be registered by the Holder of the corresponding third level domain name. For example, only the Holder of myname.com.mt may register myname.mt during the Preferential Registration Period (assuming that this is not conflicted). Also, the additional registration of myname.mt would be free of charge for the whole duration of the Preferential Registration Period as long as myname.com.mt remains validly registered. In addition, during the Preferential Registration Period, new Holders who register a second level domain name (e.g. myname.mt) are also entitled to register for free a corresponding third level domain name that the Holder may qualify for (e.g. myname.com.mt), if this is available.

36. What is the Legacy Date?
The Legacy Date is 1 June 2016 at 00:01 Hours and is the date when NIC(Malta) initiated the Public Consultation period on the proposed draft domain registration policy for the .mt name space. In order to avoid speculation, any new third level domain names registered after this date which would lead to a conflict with existing ones would not be afforded any of the additional rights granted during the Preferential Registration Period. By way of example, if myname.org.mt was registered before 1 June 2016, and someone else registers myname.com.mt on or after 1 June 2016, then the Holder of myname.com.mt would not have any entitlement over myname.mt.

37. What is the Launch Date?
The Launch Date is the date when the new policy would be launched and becomes effective.

38. What is the Cut-off Date?
This is the date following which preferential treatment afforded to Holders of domain names during the Preferential Registration Period expires. For most Holders, it is the end of the Preferential Registration Period. This is 3 years from Launch date. For the special case of Holders that had a conflicted domain name that had been eventually released by all other conflicting Holders, the Cut-off date may be extended by up to a maximum of one year following the date when the conflict would have been resolved, if this is later than the expiry of the Preferential Registration Period.