Most ISPs have reacted favourably towards a new intitiative to increase the representation of New Zealand sites in the bookmark lists they compile for their customers.
The professional Web designer's group WDNZ launched Keepin' it Kiwi at the end of December, in an effort to make it easy for list keepers to find and include good local sites. The KIK service takes the form of a page of links on the WDNZ site and WDNZ also runs a mailing list which generates messages whenever new sites are added.
"We were particularly targeting Clear Net to increase their number of local links, but we've had a good response from almost all the ISPs we've contacted about this," says WDNZ spokesman Dave Blyth. "Most ISPs have looked at what we're saying and said, yeah, they're right. The exceptions have been Xtra, which seems to have a new linking policy and has dropped most of its local links, and one independent ISP which thought that the idea of encouraging local links was anti-Internet.
"I hope we'll also see some journalists use the KIK page as a resource, because a lot of them have been guilty of focusing almost entirely on overseas sites."
Listings on the KIK page are only offered to WDNZ members, as, Blyth says "part of an effort to give professional Web designers more value from joining WDNZ," but another Blyth project, SODA (Site of the Day Award), is open to all New Zealand sites. SODA is perhaps the most successful part of the campaign to raise the profile of New Zealand Websites.
"Right from the first week, we've been getting 2-300 visitors a day to the SODA page, which is pretty good for a local site," says Blyth. "One thing we've done over the holidays is gone over the criteria for the site awards - because, frankly, there's a lot of crap out there. We're going to move to a points-based system, and a site has to reach a certain level to be considered."