Submission of Bruce Clement to the Domain Name Commission Limited (DNC) and to Internet New Zealand Incorporated (InternetNZ) on the proposal to create the unmoderated second level domain name (2LD) kiwi.nz.


Thank you for the opportunity to comment on the proposed .kiwi.nz 2LD. According to my blogger.com profile[1] I self describe as "a Proud Kiwi" (This was filled in some years back and not in response to this application). I am an ordinary member of InternetNZ. I have a significant number of domain names already registered including one matching my surname, clement.co.nz, and am unlikely to want to register a personal .kiwi.nz domain name for myself.


According to the policy[2] the criteria for the creation of a new 2LD in the .nz space are:


According to Wikipedia [3]

"the term Kiwi is used all over the world as the colloquial demonym for New Zealanders."

[...]

"The kiwi as a symbol first appeared in the late 19th century in New Zealand regimental badges. It was later featured in the badges of the South Canterbury Battalion in 1886 and the Hastings Rifle Volunteers in 1887. Soon after, the kiwi appeared in many military badges, and in 1906 when Kiwi Shoe Polish was widely sold in the UK and the US the symbol became more widely known.


"During the First World War, the name "kiwi" for New Zealand soldiers came into general use, and a giant kiwi (now known as the Bulford Kiwi), was carved on the chalk hill above Sling Camp in England. Use has now spread so that now all New Zealanders overseas and at home are commonly referred to as "kiwis".


"The kiwi has since become the most well-known national symbol for New Zealand, and the bird is prominent in the coat of arms, crests and badges of many New Zealand cities, clubs and organisations; at the national level, the red silhouette of a kiwi is in the center of the roundel of the Royal New Zealand Air Force"


This shows that "Kiwi" is both an identifiable term for New Zealand people (Requirements 5.4.1, 5.4.1.b, and 5.4.4) and has been used as such for a significant time (Requirement 5.4.2).


As the people of New Zealand are a nation of 4.4 million people [4] I believe that this term for New Zealand people can only be seen as representing a significant community of interest quantitatively thus meeting requirement 5.4.1.1. I have not heard any suggestion that its use as such is likely to diminish in the foreseeable future.


Requirement 5.4.3 is "Does not conflict with, duplicate or cause confusion about, any existing 2LD, and is a useful addition to the current DNS hierarchy"


Answering first "Does not conflict with, duplicate or cause confusion about, any existing 2LD"

The existing 2LDs are

Moderated: ..cri.nz, .govt.nz, .health.nz, .iwi.nz, .mil.nz, .parliament.nz and possibly .bank.nz

Unmoderated: .ac.nz, .co.nz, .geek.nz, .gen.nz, .maori.nz/.maori.nz, .net.nz and .school.nz


.kiwi.nz is for people such as myself who self describe as kiwis. No other current 2LD fully represents this community of interest. Some have suggested that .geek.nz represents all New Zealanders, I would dispute this claim for two reasons. First, according to the definition of .geek.nz [2] it is "For people who are concentrative, technically skilled and imaginative who are generally adept with computers" which describes a minority of New Zealanders and secondly the word "Geek" has negative connotations for many people and I can not believe that more than a small minority of Kiwis would accept a description of themselves as "geeks". I would imagine that the majority would react negatively to having such a label applied to them. As mentioned above, I self describe as a "Proud Kiwi". I also proudly self describe as a "Human", as a "Geek", as a "Man" and as a "Cyclist" a but see these as five very different parts of my self image. I would imagine that other people who self describe both as "Geeks" and as "Kiwis" draw a similar line between those aspects. As explained below, .geek.nz receives less than 0.3% of the registrations that .co.nz receives while in the United Kingdom and Australia, two nations we often compare ourselves to, the equivalent 2LDs .me.uk and .id.au receive 1% and 0.6% respectively of the relevant commercial 2LDs. This suggests that a personal 2LD would be a very different thing to .geek.nz with between 2 and 3 times the registration rate.


Another preposterous claim that has been made during this consultation is that .kiwi.nz overlaps with .gen.nz. According to the current 2LD document[2], .gen.nz is "Individuals and other organisations not covered elsewhere" in other words it is the default 2LD for when there is no 2LD for the community of interest involved. This means that by definition .gen.nz overlaps with nearly any proposed 2LD until such time as that 2LD is created. Once that happens the perceived overlap would be resolved by .gen.nz's own definition no longer including it. If .gen.nz were to be accepted as blocking the creation of 2LDs then we would never be able to create new 2LDs. As we have successfully created .health.nz, .geek.nz and .iwi.nz since .gen.nz was created it is obvious that it can not be considered as blocking the creation of other 2LDs.


Some people have claimed that the existence of a "kiwi" Top Level Domain name (TLD) outside of the .nz space creates such an overlap. This point of the policy is specifically about "any existing 2LD" and as a TLD is not a 2LD, TLDs should not be seen as creating a block on creating new 2LDs in the .nz space. If TLDs could block the creation of 2LDs, we could not have .net.nz (.net), .org.nz (.org), .co.nz (.co) or .ac.nz (.ac). In any case there is, at time of writing, no .kiwi TLD, merely a proposal that one be created.


The final part of the question that needs to be considered is that the proposed 2LD "Does not bring the .nz domain name space in disrepute". As reported above "the term Kiwi is used all over the world as the colloquial demonym for New Zealanders" including by Kiwis. I fail to see how any reasonable person could conclude that creating a 2LD for New Zealanders using a term that we use for ourselves can be seen as bringing the .nz domain name space into disrepute.


.nz domains are subject to New Zealand law and disputes about them are resolved either according to the DNC's DRS procedures or by New Zealand courts where in both cases rules of fairness and due process apply while the new ICANN TLDs will be required to be subject to US laws and courts and to the UDRP including allowing plaintiffs to engage in jurisdiction shopping and other unfair practices. It has been suggested that creating .kiwi.nz given the proposed existence of the TLD ".kiwi" would bring .nz into disrepute (presumably by association with .kiwi, UDRP and elected judges). As .kiwi.nz gives New Zealand registrants the option to remain under New Zealand law and have their disputes resolved according to due process, I would argue that the opposite applies and the creation of .kiwi.nz would bring the .nz domain name space into even better repute.


Some people have claimed that to protect their trademarks they would feel obliged to register the .kiwi.nz matching their existing .co.nz domain name. If they believe this, they disagree with 99.72% of .co.nz registrants. The logic behind this statement is that according to the DNC statistics[5] at the end of April 2012 there were 417,188 .co.nz domain names registered and only 1148 .geek.nz domain names (0.28% of the .co.nz number).


When considering if .kiwi.nz would have a significant community of interest it is useful to ask the question "What would the likely uptake of .kiwi.nz be?" It is difficult to predict the future, and the uptake will depend to an extent on how heavily the new 2LD is promoted but some useful comparisons can be drawn from 2LDs with a similar purpose in similar countries and from the uptake of .geek.nz, the previous unmoderated .nz 2LD created.


According to the DNC newsletters from September 2003[6] and October 2003[7], .geek.nz became available in August 2003 and received 492 registrations in August 2003 with a further 102 in September 2003 (less one expiry) meaning that by the end of its second month there were 593 .geek.nz domains, slightly under half the number existing now some nine years later. In the most recent DNC statistics there were only 6 more .geek.nz domains registered at the end of the month compared to the start (registrations less expired domains), 0.21% of the change in .co.nz registrations.


The Nominet statistics [8] show that their equivalent .me.uk receives registrations at about 1% of the rate of .co.uk. The Australian statistics [9] aren't quite as easy to compare to the .nz statistics but show that .id.au receives registrations at about 0.62% of the .com.au 2LD.


Taking these comparisons together I feel we would likely receive a few hundred registrations in the first month of availability with an ongoing increase of between 17 (0.62% of .co.nz) and 28 (1% of .co.nz) per month.


If we conservatively assume 400 registrations in the first month of availability, with .geek.nz increasing at the same 6 per month it achieved in April 2012[5] then 28 registrations per month would see .kiwi.nz having more registered domain names than .geek.nz after 36 months while 17 registrations per month would see .kiwi.nz becoming larger than .geek.nz after 71 months. Thus answering the second half of Requirement 5.4.3 "is a useful addition to the current DNS hierarchy"


According to section 3.2 of the policy[2] "Under normal circumstances if a group of individuals or organisations can demonstrate that they both meet the criteria set out in this policy that define a community of interest and they meet all of the conditions that may be imposed under this policy, then they can reasonably expect to be able to create a 2LD to reflect their community of interest.[emphasis mine]" I believe that this requirement has been met and Kiwis can reasonably expect to be able to create a 2LD to reflect our community of interest.


For the above reasons I support the creation of .kiwi.nz and recommend it to the DNC and to the InternetNZ council.



Bruce Clement

Auckland

New Zealand

29 May 2012


References:

[1] http://www.blogger.com/profile/00484243389651191571 My Blogspot profile

[2] http://dnc.org.nz/content/second_level_domains.pdf Domain Name Commission / InternetNZ: Second Level Domains policy.

[3] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kiwi Wikipedia page "Kiwi"

[4] http://www.stats.govt.nz/tools_and_services/tools/population_clock.aspx Statistics New Zealand: Estimated resident population of New Zealand

[5] http://dnc.org.nz/content/2012-04_stats.html Domain Name Commission: monthly statistics April 2012

[6] http://dnc.org.nz/content/september_03_newsletter.pdf Domain Name Commission: newsletter September 2003

[7] http://dnc.org.nz/content/october_03_newsletter.pdf Domain Name Commission newsletter October 2003

[8] http://www.nominet.org.uk/intelligence/statistics/registration/registrationsarchive/ Nominet: .uk registration statistics

[9] http://www.ausregistry.com.au/domains/domain-reports Aus Registry: .au registration statistics.