Yahoo heading for New Zealand

The Yahoo! Internet directory will be establishing a New Zealand presence soon--but it is unlikely to be with the speculators who have registered the company name Yahoo Limited and the Internet domain yahoo.co.nz.

The Yahoo! Internet directory will be establishing a New Zealand presence soon--but it is unlikely to be with the speculators who have registered the company name Yahoo Limited and the Internet domain yahoo.co.nz.

Yahoo! director of business development Randy Salim says the company will get to New Zealand "some time soon" but that it has no current plans and does not know who has registered its name in New Zealand.

Since Computerworld revealed the existence of the names in New Zealand, the URL www.yahoo.co.nz has ceased to point to the Akiko International Website and appears to have been deleted from nameservers.

Akiko founder Michael Witbrock issued a statement after the story, saying that "it seems that both a New Zealand company bearing the Yahoo name, and the yahoo.co.nz domain registration were set up by a third party without Akiko's prior knowledge and directed at our server. While we were not responsible for this event, we regret any consternation that may have been caused by its being publicised."

Companies Office records show that Yahoo Limited's sole director is Andrew Prast, and all its shares are held by one of several companies in Prast's name, the talent agency Show-off. Show-off has a page on the Akiko site where it is described as an agent for Akiko International.

Although the yahoo.co.nz domain was registered to Yahoo some weeks ago, the company itself was not officially registered until June 18, the day after the Computerworld story. Rex Croft, who processes applications for commercial domains at Waikato University, says he questioned Prast's application for the domain name:

"He would have said one of his many companies was trading as Yahoo Limited, so under the Internet Society rules I had to grant it. I did question it at the time, but people are entitled to one domain name per company, based on the company name."

It is believed that this is not the first time questions have been raised over domain applications by Prast. There was no entry in the Auckland telephone directory for the residential address listed for Prast and his wife and Computerworld was otherwise unable to contact him for comment.

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