The generic top-level internet domain designation .kiwi has been formally approved by ICANN (the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers).
This provides an alternative to .(co, org, etc).nz for New Zealand companies and individuals to register a distinctive identity.
Registration of .kiwi names is expected to become available as early as mid-August for registered trademark holders. During August and September, a so-called “sunrise” period, trademark owners will be able to register their marks as .kiwi domain names, before the general public gets an opportunity to.
Sunrise is a tool to protect brands, help avoid cybersquatting and offer customers reassurance that they will be communicating with the company they think they are.
Names with the .kiwi suffix are likely to become available to the general public in about mid-November, says Tim Johnson, CEO of Dot Kiwi, the company that applied for and will manage the domain at the wholesale level.
The wholesale price of a .kiwi domain will be $25, slightly more expensive than a .co.nz domain. Retail registries will add their own margin, so the retail price is unknown at this stage, Johnson says.
Dot Kiwi’s application for the .kiwi domain was filed in April 2012; it consisted of about 500 pages in response to 50 questions posed by ICANN to all intending applicants for new generic top-level domains (gTLDs).
Last year, when InternetNZ approved the second-level local domain .kiwi.nz, Johnson suggested it would create confusion among potential registrants. The Dot Kiwi website still carries a link “avoid cheap imitations”, leading to Johnson’s 2012 statement.
Dot Kiwi has set up a trust to give a percentage of earnings from the sale of .kiwi domains to benefit the Christchurch rebuild.