Aotearoa online

Canada-based Tim Johnson is a Kiwi expat who’s part of a group working to secure the new .kiwi domain.

Dot Kiwi Ltd is one of many organisations that recently applied to ICANN, which has decided to let anyone apply for the rights to own and operate any generic top-level domains (TLDs). That means addresses that end not just in a .com or but literally anything that has been approved. Dot Kiwi Ltd, however, is the only one vying for the .kiwi name, and plans to donate a portion of proceeds from domain sales to the Christchurch cause.

Once approved, what comes next?

We’ll work through different channels to make sure that people in New Zealand – expats, businesses – can purchase the domains easily in the same way you’d buy a .nz domain or .com. We are essentially the wholesaler so we won’t necessarily be selling direct to end users but it’s our job to set up channels so the end user has easy access to the domain.

What was the ‘digital archery’ part of the application process all about?

When the concept was first floated of expanding the domain name space the question was put to ICANN: what if we have lots of applications? So ICANN said ‘hey let’s batch them in batches of 500 and in the event we get more than 500 we’ll process them in batches’. Hence the digital archery game that determines who gets to go first. The rules are basically pick a date and time, and click a button on a particular website as close to the time you chose as possible – the closer you are the higher you score. We developed some software we think will improve our score … we’re scoring within 1/1000 second. I suspect if we can do that then probably any well-resourced applicant should be able to get within that timeframe.

What will the .kiwi domain cost?

To an extent we don’t necessarily have control over what retailers will sell to the public. We have certain mechanisms in place which will encourage the retailer to sell domains at a competitive prices, as a competitor to .nz primarily as that’s what people are used to.

How much will be donated to the Christchurch cause?

It’s a two-tier approach – one tier we’re finalising, the other we haven’t. To put it simply we’ll be donating 10 percent of proceeds of each sale – topline. At the end of each year our board will make a decision on the issue of profit share.

So who do you envision will be taking up .kiwi domains?

Expat Kiwis who like to be identified as Kiwi. Some brands which are really excited about it. Your everyday New Zealander who wants to have an email address is which is more specific and personalised to them. I think New Zealand is a very innovative place and there’s some very forward thinking people there and what . kiwi really does is give them a piece of No. 8 wire.

What does this mean for brands around the world?

It’s a really exciting development for them but I think some brands have felt forced into applying for a brand TLD which I don’t think is very helpful because in my view if you can’t make good use of it, then why bother?

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