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InternetNZ wants to fire two of its three (!) CEOs

InternetNZ, the .nz ccTLD operator, is proposing a radical simplification of the organization in order to stay relevant in the age of new gTLDs.

A proposal put forward late last week would see the non-profit organization fold its two subsidiaries back into the parent and consolidate management under a single CEO.

Currently, InternetNZ owns Domain Name Commission Limited (DNCL), the .nz policy oversight body, and NZRS Limited, which actually runs the registry. Each of the three entities has its own CEO.

The new proposal describes the situation like this:

Our governance and management structures are cumbersome and a lack of single point of accountability makes it difficult to progress work across the group. The size of governance groups and management resource is out of proportion to the size of the organisation and the size of the issues it is dealing with. There are 20 governors, three chief executives and around 10 senior executives for the 35 FTE [Full Time Employees] across the three organisations.

The New Zealand organization needs to streamline, according to the working group that came up with the paper, in order to more effectively compete with the influx of new TLDs, which has seen ccTLDs see slowing growth.

.nz is one of the few ccTLDs that has a direct new gTLD competitor — .kiwi.

It also wants to diversify its revenue streams outside of domain registration fees, according to the paper, with a target of NZD 1 million ($720,000) from alternate sources by 2020.

As a member-based organization, InternetNZ has put the proposal out for public comment until June 30. It will make a decision in August.

Fight breaks out over .kiwi

Kevin Murphy, August 24, 2012, 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.