The Finch Formerly Known As Gold

30 April 2003

Next: the Auckland A's

NZ Pundit reports that the New Zealand government spent $500,000 US (about 900,000 Enzed bucks) to buy the newzealand.com domain name for a tourism site, which caused some stir in Parliament.

What makes this even weirder is that the government had first gone to the World Intellectual Property Organization and charged that Virtual Countries, the Seattle-based firm that owned the domain, had no right to it because "New Zealand" was a trademark belonging to the nation and Virtual Countries had no legitimate interest in it. WIPO, unimpressed by this argument, dismissed New Zealand's claim.

So, unable to force the domain owner to give it up, the government — hence, the taxpayers — decided to buy it. I can conclude only that they wanted this domain very, very badly.

Would newzealand.co.nz have been so bad?

(Via Tim Blair)

Posted at 11:55 AM to PEBKAC