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Fight breaks out over .kiwi

Kevin Murphy, August 24, 2012, 08:11:40 (UTC), Domain Registries

New Zealand country-code manager InternetNZ has approved the creation of .kiwi.nz, setting the stage for a battle over the proposed new gTLD .kiwi.

InternetNZ announced the new second-level domain today. It’s designed to “increase choice” for New Zealanders who want to register their personal names as domain names.

But it stands to clash with .kiwi, a new gTLD applied for by Dot Kiwi Ltd, a New Zealand subsidiary of a Canadian company, which has partnered with Minds + Machines on the bid.

Dot Kiwi, which had objected to the .kiwi.nz domain, has branded InternetNZ’s move “dissappointing and lacking in common sense”, and suggested it is an attempt to capitalize on .kiwi’s advertising.

The applicant said in a statement:

Our opposition to InternetNZ’s confusing introduction of .kiwi.nzis well documented in repeated submissions we have made to them. Those submissions have been ignored. There will now be widespread confusion with the .kiwi.nz domain and the well-advertised forthcoming launch of the .kiwi domain.

But InternetNZ president Frank March said in a press release that the policy used to approve .kiwi.nz does not consider the possibility of confusion with proposed new gTLDs:

The policy for evaluating a new second-level domain takes into account existing second-level domains in .nz but not possible future changes, such as direct registration under .nz (which is currently being consulted on) or new generic Top Level Domains that may or may not be introduced at some point in the future.

The creation of the new second-level domain does not appear to give InternetNZ leverage to object to .kiwi, under a strict reading of the ICANN Applicant Guidebook.

For ccTLDs to file a String Confusion Objection against a new gTLD application, they must assert confusion with the TLD; the objection does not appear to cover 2LDs.

To date, there has been only one public comment filed with ICANN about .kiwi on confusion grounds.

Kiwis will get an opportunity to vote with their wallets, it seems.

Registrations under .kiwi.nz are expected to open September 11, but under InternetNZ policy .kiwi.nz will not actually go live until a minimum threshold of 500 domains has been passed, the company said.

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Comments (7)

  1. Tim Johnson says:

    The policy doesn’t appear to consider confusion at all – past, present or future. There is already a “.iwi.nz” 2LD, but apparently this was not confusing enough.

    • Rubens Kuhl says:

      I disagree, for 2LD delegations that were already in place at the time of application. kiwi.nz is new, but for an example, .co.ke already exists for a long time and a .coke TLD would be a clear confusion case.

      • Tim Johnson says:

        I agree Rubens.

        To clarify my point, there is a clear case for confusion between “iwi.nz” and “kiwi.nz”, so on that basis alone the “kiwi.nz” 2LD should not have been approved. So, it seems that user confusion is simply not a consideration in their 2LD policy, which seems odd to me.

        • Rubens Kuhl says:

          If their current 2LD policy (which I couldn’t easily find on the web but could come handy in this discussion) doesn’t have a user confusion clause, their governance process certainly would allow for someone to propose such clause.

  2. Rubens Kuhl says:

    I’ve never seen Verisign, the .com registry, complaining about .com.br, .com.mx or other ccTLDs that delegate domains on the 3rd level. Colombia’s .co also doesn’t seem to be complaining.

    It’s better new gTLDs get used to it, at least on the ccTLDs with 2LDs like .uk, .br, .nz … it’s a business reality, like .US suffers competition from Canada’s .CA for residents of California.

    • Tim Johnson says:

      Absolutely, like ccTLDs there is a lot that new gTLDs must get used to, that’s a 2 way street, competition is a fundamental and we embrace this “business reality”. You will note that this has not been our complaint.

      Public confusion seems a high price to pay for for a 2LD with a success target of a mere 500 registrations (0.01% of total .NZ domains). As such, common sense has been the cry for sometime now, I think it is a fair expectation.

      Your perspective is both useful and appreciated Rubens – cheers.

  3. Kiwi.Me says:

    In the meantime, every one can have

    someone@kiwi.me

    and

    someone.kiwi.me

    ;)

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