As Microsoft ramps up the hype around its .Net strategy, guess who registered the domain microsoft.net.nz last month? Clue: not Microsoft.
The domain is currently the property of Swede Marcus Lindgren, who admits he found it "a little surprising" that the name was available.
Lindgren says he is not a cybersquatter, but merely needed a .nz domain for his business selling Linux shell accounts and accounts for "eggdrops" or IRC bots. He registered microsoft.net.nz because, well, he could …
"My intention was not to kidnap Microsoft's domain," says Lindgren "It was really only because I wanted a .nz domain and it is nice with a Microsoft domain, since I can make some nice IRC hosts with it - such as linux.vs.microsoft.net.nz."
Microsoft New Zealand spokesperson Carol Leishman says the company was unaware the name had been registered and was surprised it was possible.
"We're really disappointed at the blatant misuse of our brand name," says Leishman. "There's no reason to believe they're not aware of our existence or that it's not a deliberate misuse."
The company registered microsoft.co.nz in February 1997, but Leishman can't explain why it never got around to registering the .net.nz version, other than to point out that like most Microsoft country operations, "we don't normally use the country-specific domain, we use the .com one. It's difficult to police every single possible iteration."
Leishman says Microsoft will be "investigating the situation further".
Microsoft.net..nz is not the only notable domain held by Lindgren. Among his list is mirc.net, which relates to the popular chat client mIRC.
"I've spoken with the owner of mirc.com and I have permission to use that domain even though mIRC is a trademark. Mirc.net is a help site for the IRC community," he says.
He says he is in "no financial situation" to put up a fight over the domain, "but if Microsoft ask I'll gladly point www.microsoft.net.nz to their server."
As of this morning, microsoft.org.nz was still available from Domainz. Lindgren says he considered that name, "but, well, .org.nz doesn't sound as kewl as .net.nz, does it?"