Thursday, March 3, 2011

A volatile few months coming

The Domain Name Commission has released their February newsletter with .nz domain name stats for January 2011.

January saw 7423 new registrations with a net growth in .nz of 2729 compared with 7317 / 3161 for December 2010. It's easy to see this as New Zealand being on holiday in January, but when compared with the figures from last year where they were 6509 / 1949 in Dec 2009 and 7093 / 2931 in Jan 2010 it shows a jump in renewals and registrations early 2010 and a reversed change in 2011.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Christchurch Earthquake Community Response

Following this week's major earthquake, a dedicated volunteer team of Internet people, web masters, programmers, and computer savvy helpers have built the Christchurch Earthquake Community Response site to coordinate help efforts.

If you need help or can offer help, please go there.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Christchurch Earthquake: Are Your Domains Safe?

In the .NZ domain space, your domain registrations are passed through to the central registry that is managed by the New Zealand Registry Services (NZRS) company. NZRS has a main data centre and a hot spare in a geographically remote data centre. Their status page lists the main and hot spare as being up. If I recall correctly neither of these servers are in Christchurch.

InternetNZ donates $50,000 to Red Cross

In a press release, InternetNZ says:
"InternetNZ (Internet New Zealand Inc) has today donated $50,000 to the New Zealand Red Cross in support of those affected by the Christchurch Earthquake. This is one step the organisation has taken, and there will be further action. It is clear that cash is needed right now and an immediate donation is one of the best ways to help, backing those organisations that are there on the ground."

NZ Post vs Yellow Pages settled

In my previous post Cybersquatting court case NZ Post vs Yellow Pages I reported how a trademark and passing off case between the YP Group and New Zealand Post included some domain names.

Last night in some informal discussions I was having before the Internet NZ members consultation meeting I heard from another interested watcher of the case that it had been settled out of court and the disputed domain names had been transferred to NZ Post. The whois for them is still showing Yellow as the owner, but I'm assuming that this is just a timing issue as the sites have already been removed. My informant tells me that the Google Adwords bids on the Localists keywords by YP seem to gone as well.

Obviously it's good that these companies managed to agree to do the right thing, and it's also good that the dispute over a generic name is no longer caught up in the midst of some non-generic names.

Update 3:50 PM
It's official, Localists have posted on their blog that the dispute has been resolved on "commercial terms" and the domain names are to be transferred.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Cybersquatting court case NZ Post vs Yellow Pages

Update 25 February 2011 - I'm informed that the case has since been settled out of court.
From the "I don't like you playing in my back yard" file. According to the Herald:
"New Zealand Post's new directories business Localist is suing Yellow Pages Group over allegations Yellow breached the Fair Trading Act by buying up similar web addresses and Google adwords in a deliberate attempt to divert online searches from Localist to itself.
the Yellow Pages Group had bought a range of internet domain names which were almost identical to the Localist internet address. The addresses include and

"Those domain names were directing traffic to a web page promoting the Yellow Pages and YPG's other directory services," Localist chairman Sam Knowles alleges in an affidavit.

Localist also alleges that Yellow paid to have its website appear at the top of Google searches of the word "localist".

The interesting thing here from a domaining perspective it that this is going to go to court and we may end up with some real NZ case law on cybersquatting. Both sides of the argument have enough resources to fully put their cases. Hopefully they will get a judge with enough knowledge of the Internet to make a sensible ruling.

One thing to watch out for is that it would be easy to argue that "local lists" is generic, but given the rest of the report and the other names they have it's likely to be difficult to get this accepted as an innocent use of a generic domain name. I'm just hoping that we don't get a ruling that effectively eliminates the protection that generics have had in the past.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Another advantage of owning a .NZ domain name

Interesting piece of chatter on the Internet NZ mail list today. Apparently the US government has seized a Spanish owned .ORG domain name, despite the Spanish courts having ruled that what the company owning the name is doing is perfectly legal under Spanish law.

Long time readers of this and my other blogs will recall that I have long advocated owning the domain name with the extension most appropriate for your target market. Back in 2008 in Branding on the Internet I said you should have for Britain, for Australia, .com for the USA and, of course, for New Zealand, and I still stand by that advice. This judicial theft doesn't affect the logic of having the appropriate name for your target market, but does strengthen the message in those cases where you don't have a particular need for any given top level domain name. The Spanish company in question seem to have their name tied up in a number of registries and have just switched to another one.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

.nz Dispute Resolution Service Policy Review

The Domain Name Commission (DNC) has announced a consultation on their Dispute Resolution Service that will run until the beginning of April this year.

They are proposing three minor changes

  1. a change where the term Mediator will be defined,
  2. Increase the fee for Expert determination from $1800 to $2000 (+GST)
  3. Increase the fee for appeals of Expert determination from $6,600 to $7,200 (+GST)

All fairly innocuous, but the entire policy is up for review. It was last reviewed in 2007-2008, and at that time a couple of points were raised.

I'll probably make a submission and I'll be watching the review page and hope to report here on any significant developments

Friday, January 14, 2011

Google Analytics illegal in Germany?

According to reports, the state privacy commissioner in Hamburg, Germany, has decided that Google Analytics should be illegal.
"The free internet service Google Analytics gathers detailed information about website visits via a user’s IP address, sending the data back to Google servers in the United States for processing.

"According to the paper [Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung], Caspar and data protection officials in other German states believe this practice should be illegal."
Apparently they intend fining German websites that use Analytics (despite it not being illegal yet). It's like something from the siege of Helengrad.

Let's hope this doesn't spread, because once they take Analytics off us, they will be back for Adsense next, then possibly Piwik