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.