People and businesses who find “.co.nz” insufficiently patriotic may be able to register websites that end with “.kiwi” from next year.
A group of ex-pat New Zealanders based in Vancouver has teamed up with Wellington lawyer Peter Dengate Thrush – a former chairman of worldwide internet governance body Icann – to found a new company, Dot Kiwi, which hopes to cater for those who want a more “Kiwi flavour” to their online identity. …
Dot Kiwi, which is Canadian-owned, would compete with New Zealand’s non-profit internet society, InternetNZ, which oversees “.nz” addresses and is funded by a compulsory levy on registrations.
Dengate Thrush said the administration of the “.kiwi” registry would be outsourced to Minds and Machines, a company he chairs that is based in Santa Monica in the United States.
InternetNZ president Frank March said all new and existing top-level domains competed with “.nz” and the society had not ruled out lodging its own application to run “.kiwi”.
“We’d certainly have a good case to put up, but there are very heavy costs involved in establishing a top-level domain and it is not a process we would undertake lightly. The arguments are quite finely balanced,” he said.
The .nz Domain Name Commission did some research last year through Colmar Brunton and around 11% of respondents (off memory) said that they would register in .kiwi in preference to .nz or .com, if they had the choice – so I think there is market demand for .kiwi. Whether or not the demand is high enough to cover the costs of a registry is another issue.
As a disclosure I’m on the working group which is looking at the pros and cons of InternetNZ applying for .kiwi. The WG’s role is not to decide, but to prepare consultation papers for discussion with the InternetNZ Council and members. As Frank March is quoted as saying, there are heavy costs involved, and many other issues.