A little piece of the Magic Kingdom has come to New Zealand - or, rather, to our domain name space.
The name disney.co.nz has been registered by the Walt Disney Company in what is probably a worldwide sweep of country-code domains conducted by the NetNames registry on Disney's behalf.
The name is held by Disney Online, the division of the entertainment giant responsible for Disney.com, Family.com (claimed by Disney as the number one children's site in the Internet), the paid online service Blast.com and the profitable merchandise outlet Shop.com.
Disney's Internet strategy is principally centred in the US - where it recently bought a 43% in the portal company Infoseek, and also owns Web development company Starwave and media company ABC.
But registration of country domains in Brazil, Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the Netherlands Spain and the UK has been followed by the establishment of local Disney sites, which would seem a fair indicator of Disney's long-term plans for this region.
Disney's local branch is part of the company's consumer products division and has thus far played no part in the Internet plans, but spokesman Adam Blackwell says the story 'A new magic kingdom' in last week's Time magazine gives a good insight into the company's strategy - which includes the establishment of a "superhuge" Web portal.
Disney's importance to the computer industry has not gone unnoticed this year. When Apple Computer interim CEO Steve Jobs announced the iMac earlier this year, he tied it in with the news that Disney had been convinced to open the Windows-only Blast.com to MacOS users.
Unlike Microsoft, Apple is not in competition with Disney, and pundits have frequently linked the two companies as Jobs' rehabilitation of Apple continues. In the Time feature, Mickey Mouse is pictured dancing in front of a Windows 98 display case - but using a Macintosh.