A year ago, Angus Richardson introduced the first .kiwi URLS through his company Dot Kiwi. And since then, thousands of Kiwis have signed up to give their website—whether business or personal—a more Kiwi flavour. Included among these are the Mad Butcher, Porter Novelli, the Vodafone Warriors, Kiwibank (via a subrand), Tennis NZ and Rowing NZ.
While these brands have upped the Kiwi ante by adding the .kiwi suffix to their web addresses, some brands have taken it as an opportunity to show off a bit of that classic Kiwi humour.
For example, Yolo.kiwi is a website promoting tourism as a career path; Onyerbike.kiwi champions safety on two wheels; and eieio.kiwi is a Taranaki based real-estate website run by the McDonald family.
And these quirky additions are only a taste of what’s to come, because the list of registered (but inactive) websites suggests that there’s some more Kiwi madness to follow:
Given that the company recently reached its one-year milestone, StopPress sent a few questions across to Richardson about how things are going.
StopPress: How is the business going? Do you have any growth figures to share? How many URLs have been registered?
Angus Richardson: Business is tracking well. Compared to the other new domains launching around the world, we are around the top 25 percent for sales. Since we announced our intention to make .kiwi domains available, we’ve been educating the market about the new choices they have in terms of domains. We’re definitely still in that phase and will be for a number of years. During the last year we’ve sold more than 12,000 .kiwi domains.
SP: What have been some of the teething problems?
AR: Not a teething problem as such, but this time last year there were plenty of industry experts forecasting a huge and immediate uptake of the new domains being launched. But you’ve got to realise that it takes time for people and organisations to switch over, let alone choose which domain they’d like to use. In just over a year more than 600 new domains have been launched under ICANN’s programme and around five million domains have been purchased. But that’s a drop in the ocean compared to the long-term opportunity as more and more people realise the level of choice they have.
SP: Do you get weird requests from clients who might not be all that tech savvy?
AR: Yes we’ve heard it all. The main thing we come across is people not realising they can use .kiwi domains for emails connected to Gmail and Microsoft Outlook.
SP: What approach have you taken in terms of marketing the business?
AR: Our approach has always focused on convincing iconic local businesses and people to use and be pioneers of .kiwi. As part of this body of work, some of the first .kiwi domains were madbutcher.kiwi, smithscity.kiwi, rowingnz.kiwi and commonwealthgames.kiwi.
We also partnered with local domain registrars like the Digiweb Group to market directly to current domain owners.
SP: What are some of the main advantages of adopting a .kiwi URL?
AR: .kiwi domain names give New Zealand organisations and individuals greater choice, branding creativity and the opportunity to differentiate themselves from competitors. Kiwibank is a prime example of an early adopter of .kiwi, as they continue to use their legacy web address for their website, but use inner.kiwi to show the content they produce for social media.
SP: What feedback have you had from clients?
AR: Some of the best feedback we have received is from small business owners who are truly passionate about being Kiwis, and how powerfully they connect with a domain name that reflects this. Other adopters of .kiwi domains have enjoyed finally getting the web address they’ve always wanted. Because .kiwi only launched last year, there’s significantly more web addresses available than with some of the domains that have been around for longer.
SP: What has been one of the standout moments since you started your business?
AR: One of my most notable memories of our board comes from when Norm Thompson was appointed as director. I hadn’t had the pleasure of meeting Norm prior to that day, but knew he had been deputy chief executive of Air New Zealand among other impressive accomplishments.
After the board meeting we hosted a small launch party and we were finally introduced. My lasting memory, which has stuck with me, is that within two minutes of being introduced over a glass of champagne, Norm was giving me my first task – it was not insignificant. I was amazed at how quickly Norm had put me to work, but left that party more motivated than I thought possible. The importance of a well-rounded, supportive, and influential board of directors cannot be understated, and I continue to be thankful for the leadership we have at Dot Kiwi.