.KIWI, a new domain extension aimed at the New Zealand market, has experienced tremendous registration growth the past two weeks.
.KIWI has gained 170,000+ domain registrations according to NtldStats and NameStat, websites that track new domains. As of this writing there are 187,225 .KIWI domains registered. This now puts the .KIWI domain 22nd in terms of domain registration volume on NtldStats.
These are impressive registration numbers for a domain I'm fairly sure few people know about. I am doubtful many Kiwis, a term for people from New Zealand, even know about .KIWI domains. This is who .KIWI was introduced for in the first place.
The main domain extension that people use in New Zealand is .NZ and more specifically .CO.NZ domains. According to the Domain Name Commission, the governing body for .NZ domains, there are 668,000 .NZ domains across the entire .NZ domain space. A good amount of domains for a country that has only roughly 4.4 million Kiwi residents.
With 170,000 .KIWI domain registrations in two weeks, does this mean that a bunch of Kiwis see the benefits of .KIWI domains? Extremely unlikely, what is more likely….
Domain Zone Stuffing
Okay, let's be honest. You don't get 170,000+ new domain registration magically out of thin air. While it would be nice to root for the new upstart domain extensions the reality is we have seen this play many times before. New domain registries claim success by jacking up domain registration numbers and stuffing the zone file.
.XYZ has done this many times and even given free domains. .XYZ ran a deal with Network Solutions where they gave customers free .XYZ domains that matched the .COM domain in their account. The .XYZ registry also ran a promotion in the summer where they sold .XYZ domains for 1-2 cents. Currently they have the most domains with 6+ million .XYZ domains registered.
Odd thing though is searching I can't find any registration deals for .KIWI domains that occurred in the past 2 weeks. Is this a similar move like the .XYZ and Network Solutions deal?
There are only two domain registrars that have the bulk of .KIWI domain registration. They are Tucows, which resells domains through it's OpenSRS platform and runs the domain registrar Hover. Tucows has 104,297 .KIWI domains under management.
Then there is Web Drive Ltd. which operated as DomainAgent.co.nz a reseller for .NZ domain names. There isn't much info about the company but they seem to specialize in reselling .NZ domains to registrars. They are a business to business domain registrar platform. This makes me wonder if DomainAgent.co.nz and Tucows gave registrars .KIWI domains free to match whatever domain they currently own. Or did domain reseller partners actually sell these .KIWI domains?
Currently it's really unclear. Before this domain registration spike the .KIWI domain was stagnate at around 10,000 domains. So they needed to do something. I have never seen a .KIWI domain in a search result, but zone stuffing a bunch of domains that people are not using.
Most people wonder, “Why would you want to have a ton of domains that are nto in use?” Simple, this enables the new domain company to claim success and show-up on the domain registration leadeerboards on sites like NtldStats and NameStat. .KIWI is 22nd on NtldStats board right now and 19 on NameStat for domain registration volume. Great for recognition and and getting the world out there about you new domain. It's a simple marketing really.
Like all domain registries, .KIWI has over 1 year to figure it out. We all know the domain drops don't happen on expiration but take a few months after that. So they try to get ahead of these drops by re-running deals. Eventually this will catch-up to new domains though.
What are your thoughts about 170,000 .KIWI domains being registered in two weeks? Can this be legitimate domain registrations or is the .KIWI registry doing a classic new domain play?
Are you a Kiwi? Do you think .KIWI domains will ever be as widely used as .NZ domains ?