If you hadn’t heard about it yet, the DNC (Domain Name Commission) for New Zealand are starting the process towards bringing in the ability to include (for a start) five different characters into the .nz domain space. These are; the the macronised vowels ā, ē, ī, ō, and ū which are not currently available in the .nz domain market.
Having New Zealand domains include these is a logical choice given that a large number of Te Reo Māori words include these characters. If you are interested in having your say about whether or not they should be introduced you can submit directly to the Working Group.
This brings up a few interesting questions in the affiliate marketing world in New Zealand as you may now have people who have been trading on words without these characters where, if they are not the first in to register the new domains, may end up with intellectual property issues (e.g. copyright, passing off) if another company or an affiliate decides to use the domain for the same purposes.
In the affiliate world, being a “domain affiliate” can be a lucrative business. Many affiliates have made a lot of money from buying up domains, both for type-in traffic (where people just type the domain directly into their browser in the hope of getting the site they are looking for) as well as for generic keywords which other companies consider a valuable item.
There are people on both sides of the fence in terms of calling some of the above domain-squatting or not. It is usually a case-by-case basis to be able to call it that as there are many legitimate reasons for registering valuable domains.
For an affiliate program, this can be a double-edged sword and some treat the matter very differently to others. Many affiliate programs will have in their terms and conditions that an affiliate cannot receive or pass-through traffic generated through the use of the companies brand name. Others are not quite so restrictive.
In the case of a large multi-national company who is receiving significant traffic from its branding, then protection of the brand from the affiliate is quite a logical choice (particularly when PPC traffic and branded keywords are involved). However it can be taken too far by some smaller affiliate programs when there is no real need to become so restrictive about the branded domain.
Take the registering of domain names which are similar to the brand name of the company. Not many companies have the resources to register every domain name which is mildly relevant to their brand. For example, I’m sure Google will have registered the googlr.com domain (for type in traffic mistakes) when your average company would not have the funds to register all typo’s or hyphenated domains relevant to their brand (e.g. google-analytics.com).
This is where a bit of flexibility from an affiliate program in regards to their affiliates domain and brand usage can go a long way to help both parties increase revenue. I have seen many cases where a good affiliate was trading off a hyphenated brand name and the smarter companies were happy for the affiliate to use those sites and their traffic, so long as the affiliate is sending the traffic to the brands own website.
So, if you’re looking at whether or not to try and register every domain you can think of that looks even close to your brand, try opening an affiliate program instead and you may find that you problem will be solved with an increase in revenue!