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Staying on top

01 Feb 09

In 1997, Domainz was the first .nz registry operator. The company has since become part of the Shared Registry System, which interacts with upwards of 60 registrars, and it has also been purchased by one of the world’s leading domain name registrars. General Manager Andrew Scott speaks about the challenges of adapting to an increasingly competitive market and how Domainz managed to come out on top.

How did it all begin?
Domainz was formed in 1997 by the Internet Society to run the .nz registry, which was previously run out of Waikato University. Domainz was the sole provider of domain names for New Zealand until the Shared Registry System (SRS) was implemented in October 2002 and Domainz became one of a qualified group of authorised registrars and a commercial entity. In 2003, Melbourne IT, a world leader in the supply of domain name registration and other online solutions, acquired Domainz, providing the support and leverage required to grow the business into New Zealand’s largest and most experienced domain name registrar.
What changes has the business undergone?
Domainz initially had to adapt to the transition from monopoly provider to being a commercial entity in a competitive market. This involved moving from a purely service-based operation receiving incoming business to a service delivery organisation in an open market, focused on customer service. In 2003, Domainz had to adapt to being part of a global online services group with over 700 staff in 18 offices across the Asia Pacific region, Europe, the US and South Africa.
What is your core business?
Domainz manages more than three million domain names for its customers in New Zealand. Domainz has enhanced its offerings in recent years to include services ranging from Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) through to website design and management and hosted Microsoft Exchange services.
Who are your clients and what business challenges do they face?
Our clients range from the largest banks through to small home enterprises. As we have a reseller channel that on-sells and adds value to our products, we have a collaborative group outside our own business that channels ideas and provides additional creative input.
Is your physical location a challenge to doing business?
Domainz’ core business is conducted primarily via telephone and we have a broad range of online tools, so our physical location has not been a challenge to date. We have created a concept called the eBusiness Centre, which is the cornerstone of our customer management activities. Domainz customers have access to over 70 eBusiness Consultants in New Zealand and Australia.
What does the introduction of your hosted Microsoft Exchange servers mean for your prospective clients?
Our clients are able to focus on the benefits, such as increased security, email from any web browser, mobile email, managed backups and all the benefits of Exchange at a reasonable price per month per mailbox.
What technology is hot right now?
SEO is a primary growth product for Domainz. As clients move away from the traditional marketing such as television and newspaper advertising and direct mail they are opting for a more targeted and measurable approach to spending their marketing dollars. The focus for many clients has switched to cost-effective online marketing tools that give measurable returns, such as pay-per-click advertising and email marketing.
What’s not?
Hosting your own infrastructure is not as attractive to some of our business customers as it used to be. Many companies are looking at outsourcing their applications to take advantage of the pricing and capabilities of managed solutions. 
What’s the best thing about your location?
Everyone in the office enjoys the central  Wellington location and the availability of shops, library, cafés, gyms and after-work venues.
Without giving away valuable IP – what do you think is the secret to your success?
Our staff genuinely believe in the quality of our products and possess a strong commitment and dedication to providing great service and advice to our customers. This is the eBusiness Centre way of doing things.

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