A Short Interview With Tim Johnson, CEO Of Dot Kiwi


iwmn: Hi Tim. First off, I love your website, dot-kiwi.com. The design is nice, the copy is fun, but once .kiwi goes live, do you plan on switching domain extensions. Maybe to something like dot.kiwi?

Tim: Thanks! The website is a result of a lot of thought and planning - we want to break industry standards (boring), and reach out to the consumer with a fun and innovative interface that brings life to domain names. We look forward to changing from our current .com URL to one of our very own .kiwi names - what will it be? Well that’s going to be a surprise….

iwmn: So let’s say you’re working for a smart, dynamic Kiwi company that’s looking to move away from the .co.nz extension. From a branding perspective, what makes .kiwi a better fit than .nz?

Tim: Well, it wasn’t me who said it, but there is a joke in the industry that goes something like this “Oh, .com? Yeah, that’s the domain my dad uses”. The joke is subtle, but powerful. New domains like .kiwi represent the fresh and exciting, probably most importantly it also means relevance. The way we see it is that the existing domains are more traditional and corporate, whereas new domains like .kiwi are fun, casual and social. The casual nature will suit SME’s and individuals very well, there’s been a gaping hole in the market for a long time. Lastly, ccTLDs tend to identify a jurisdiction or geography, .kiwi identifies the people - that is a very important distinction when it comes to the web, where geography does not exist.

iwmn: Aside from sites in NZ, do you see .kiwi making an international push? I mean if MailChimp can make a chimp popular, do you think you have a chance with a really underrated bird?

Tim: Underrated and underestimated indeed - that is the definition of the challenger and the underdog. We like that position and thrive on the challenge - I think that is very Kiwi. We will do an international push, we are already doing it. I’m doing this interview from Miami, which is the 5th stop on a world tour of 17 cities. As Kiwis we have a story and we are proud of our achievements as a nation. So where better to tell those stories and showcase our achievements than internationally!

iwmn: From an insider perspective, how did you go from dreaming up .kiwi to making it a reality?

Tim: Like anything you’ve got to keep things simple. Just identify what you need to do to launch, figure out what resources you need, and surround yourself with people who are much smarter than you! For Dot Kiwi, we have a great team with a great vision. This has been an almost 3 year process for us with a ridiculous amount of hurdles and challenges - so if we couldn’t maintain our vision, things would have gotten pretty tough.

iwmn: Last but not least, when can country loving Kiwis get ahold of their .kiwi domains?

Tim: Premium names will be available towards the end of November, trademark holders can apply for domain names by mid-December (Sunrise), early bird (Landrush) will start mid-Feb 2014, then first-come-first-served will start early April 2014. We will also be making a special announcement shortly regarding a limited offer in November… stay tuned!

In the mood for one of your own? Pre-order your .KIWI domain today!