Private DNS company pulls harrods.co.nz stunt

Another company is in the business of registering major trademarks as Internet domains--but this one is in search of market profile.

Another company is in the business of registering major trademarks as Internet domains--but this one is in search of market profile, rather than a $10,000 fee.

The Private DNS company will this week announce the registration of harrods.co.nz; a move sure to attract the attention of a company notoriously jealous of its branding. And when the lawyers come calling ... they can have it, says director Peter Belt. No fee required.

The stunt is intended to draw attention to the Private DNS Company's core business--the sale of domain space below its own registered domains tm.co.nz, ltd.co.nz and ta.co.nz. Such an expansion of the New Zealand commercial domain space was widely anticipated after ISOCNZ announced its new charging regime.

Having registered those domains, Belt, who is also business manager of Auckland ISP Web World, needs only pay the $50 annual maintenance fee on each of them to ISOCNZ, and can sell or lease space below them as he wishes. Such an approach, he says, helps companies with similar trademarks or company names.

"Companies like Kenwood Appliances missed out on kenwood.co.nz because Kenwood Audio registered it first. Kenwood Appliances now has the opportunity to register kenwood.ltd.co.nz.

"I sent a big note to ISOCNZ members explaining what I was doing, and received very positive messages back from Donald Neal and Rex Croft. Donald even offered some technical advice."

Belt says he intends to expand the business gradually, and will continue to "explore the existing register on a regular basis". Ironically, his first stab at registering a major trademark met with indifference from the party concerned. Belt offered Oasis Industries, the Coca-Cola licensee for New Zealand, the domain cocacola.co.nz--and Oasis said no thank you.

Oasis's parent company, Amatil, had already registered the domain coca-cola.co.nz, in line with the must-hyphenate policy of the corporate brand, and saw no need for the unhyphenated version. But the company may have been too hasty. @IDG ran a DNS lookup which revealed that the canonical (main) domain name for the Coca-Cola corporation is cocacola.com. The hyphenated version is only an alias to the original. Clearly, somebody did not have their hyphens about them when Coke first got on the Net.

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