Dot Kiwi grants free registration of 200,000 domains to web hosting company Umbrellar

Dot Kiwi is the organisation that manages the .kiwi domain name space – names like www.ajpark.kiwi. Dot Kiwi has granted registration of 200,000 .kiwi domains to a privately-owned domain name and web hosting company, including many domains that match well-known trade marks and brand names.

Dot Kiwi has waived its registration fees for these domains, allowing Umbrellar Limited to register them for 12 months free of charge.

Dot Kiwi and Umbrellar are marketing the mass registration as a consumer protection strategy, to prevent cyber-squatters from getting hold of the domains. In a joint press release issued on 7 December, Dot Kiwi managing director Angus Richardson said the initiative was intended to prevent cyber-squatting, and that the initiative would ‘give New Zealand brand owners time to assess their needs, and overall domain strategy’.

Speaking to AJ Park, Mr Richardson said Umbrellar had approached Dot Kiwi with the proposal to register .kiwi versions of domains customers had registered with them in the past, and then offer the equivalent .kiwi domains to those customers.

The domains were targeted based on customers who already owned a .nz or other domain through Umbrellar Limited or one of its related companies, but who had not registered the equivalent .kiwi domain.

Umbrellar owns or is affiliated with a number of domain name and web hosting companies including Freeparking and Web Drive.

AJ Park is aware that many trade mark and brand owners use domain name monitoring services, and may be concerned to discover that .kiwi domains matching their monitored trade marks have been registered without their knowledge. We have been contacted by clients already expressing that concern. Mr Richardson said Umbrellar was contacting its customers by email to let them know domains had been placed ‘on hold’ for them, and to offer to transfer the domains into the customer’s name.

If a customer accepts Umbrellar’s offer, the domain will be transferred to the customer free of charge. The customer will then be free to transfer the domain to a different registrar if they choose. If customers choose not to register the domains, they would be released at the end of the 12 month period, Mr Richardson said.

There are dispute resolution procedures available for rights holders who believe a domain name has been registered unfairly. If you have any concerns or domain name queries please contact us.