A website developer hit by sanctions from the Domain Name Commissioner’s office says the regulator is a "power-hungry bureaucracy gone mad."
On May 31 commissioner Debbie Monahan cancelled 350 domain names registered to Auckland-based Go Kiwi Internet because, she said, the company was unfairly exploiting its position to speculate on them.
Go Kiwi is owned by Dennis Smith, who also owns Domain Name Management Services Ltd (DNMSL), a licensed registrar of .nz domain names. Monahan determined in a March ruling that Go Kiwi was a reseller of DNMSL and was therefore bound by the same rules as registrars, which are prohibited from registering and holding onto names for speculative reasons.
While individuals and companies are allowed to register and hold a generic domain name in the hope of one day selling it, registrars are not because they have inside information, such as which names are available, and when, said Monahan.
"We don’t stop people speculating in .nz names," she said. "But registrars by the very nature of the role they’ve got in the market can’t unfairly skew the market by taking those names."
But Smith is livid, and says Monahan acted unfairly. Of the 350 names, only 79 were being held for speculative reasons, he said. The rest were either under management by Go Kiwi for its customers, or were for the company’s own use.
"By cancelling the names she has been in error, and she has made assumptions that have hurt other people," he said.
"Her attitude is quite aggressive ... adversarial, I would say."
Monahan said Go Kiwi was given two months to either transfer names to the proper registrants, or prove they were being used by the company for reasons other than speculation.
The company did revert hundreds of names, she said, but failed to provide satisfactory evidence on the 350 that were then cancelled. Some names were legitimate and not changed in time, she said, and these now had 90 days to qualify for reinstatement.
By Peter Nowak