Yahoo silent on NZ presence

The original Internet site database, Yahoo, seems to have set up a New Zealand branch in a joint venture with Akiko, the Pittsburgh-based site which styles itself 'New Zealand on the Web'.

The original Internet site database, Yahoo, seems to have set up a New Zealand branch in a joint venture with Akiko, the Pittsburgh-based site which styles itself "New Zealand on the Web".

The latest list of network-connected organisations contains the domain yahoo.co.nz, which is registered to Yahoo Limited of Auckland. The URL http://www.yahoo.co.nz proves to be an alias to Akiko (http://nz.com), suggesting the two Internet pioneers are working together.

Akiko head Michael Witbrock was neither confirming nor denying, telling @IDG: "I'm afraid I don't have anything to say about that at the moment." Witbrock, a New Zealander involved in artificial intelligence research at Carnegie Mellon University, began his "New Zealand Pages" as a hobby when the university bought one of the first Web servers. The award-winning hobby became a business last year with the launch of Akiko.

Yahoo grew from similar roots at Stanford University to become one of the Web's success stories. But as Internet search engines have become more powerful and numerous--and begun to carry their own categorised listings--some commentators have picked Yahoo to be squeezed out. Others have suggested that the company might turn itself into a franchise or "regionalise" itself, to pick up revenue in many territories, rather than relying on the limited pool of global advertisers.

Akiko, for its part, could use some global muscle to combat the local might of Telecom's Xtra service, which is wooing the same kind of businesses Akiko has sought to bring to the Web.

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