Important News for .nz domain names

domainzDo you hold a .nz domain name? Have you registered or reserved that domain name directly at the second level?

Most people with existing .nz names – such as, and have preferential registration or reservation (PRR) and are able to register or reserve their name direct at .nz before anybody else gets the opportunity.

But people with preferential rights wanting to register or reserve, only have until 1pm, 30 March 2015 to do so. If you don’t take action before then, the name will become available for general registration.

The Domain Name Commission released a press release today, urging people eligible to register to do so before time runs out.

Domain Name Commissioner Debbie Monahan said more than 50,000 shorter .nz names have so far been registered or reserved.

“However, there are tens of thousands of people entitled to get the shorter version of their name first who are yet to take action,” Monahan said.

Registering one of the new, shorter .nz names is done through any .nz domain name registrar. Reserving is a free service and can only be done at a dedicated website set up by the Domain Name Commission –

Some people may find the shorter .nz version of their name is ‘conflicted’, meaning it has been registered in at least two ‘second levels’ – for example, one person may hold the version, while another may hold the version.

If you have a conflicted domain name, don’t worry, you will still be able to use the same domain name you’ve always had.

There is a process for dealing with conflicted domain names – click here for more information, or talk to us, we’re happy to answer any questions you may have.

Increased Coverage and New Partnerships

New Zealand software as a service (SaaS) company Modica Group is pleased to announce a new partnership in Trinidad and Tobago.

Modica founder Stuart Wilson says the partnership with Concepts and Services is part of Modica’s strategy to find more local partners in emerging markets around the world.

“With an existing customer base and local presence, Concepts and Services is just the type of high quality company that is a logical partner to represent Modica.” Concepts and Services which is a provider of engineering, project management and technical services was a good fit with Modica, Stuart says.

While Trinidad and Tobago has a small population with about 1.5 million mobile subscribers, the broader Caribbean region presents a significant opportunity for Modica to aggregate high quality access to mobile operators in the region.

“This relationship builds on our strong presence in the Dominican Republic and allows us to expand further in the region, particularly as no one else has really established there yet.”

Modica is continuing to actively look for more partners in emerging markets in Central and South America, South East Asia and Africa by providing its white label platform to local companies on a joint venture basis.

Over the past few years, Modica has nailed down deals with telcos around the world to increase its coverage, and can now deliver messages via 1400 mobile networks worldwide.

This increased reach enables Modica to offer a superior messaging service to more people and places – including the robust, cost-effective two-way messaging services in the US.

message apps key to SMS growth

With the astronomical rise of data messaging such a iMessage and Google Hangouts, it’s no surprise person-to-person (P2P) SMS is fading – but that’s only half the story.

Studies around the world have identified vast opportunities in Application-to-Person (A2P) messaging, and less widely documented is the potential for Machine-to-Machine (M2M) and Over the Air (OTA), also known as Over the Top (OTT) messaging.

In this recent article in the Blouin News Blog Bart Vandekerckhove, Head of Mobile Messaging at International wholesale telecoms carrier BICS notes that even as OTT messaging businesses continue to enjoy international success, SMS will act as a consistent and useful technology.

“[SMS growth] will be driven by the growth in A2P messaging and enterprises’ need for a reliable, ubiquitous technology to communicate with their customers wherever they are in the world.”

Think back 10-15 years ago when text messaging started gaining momentum.  You’re sitting on the couch watching your favourite current affairs show on television.

The presenters hold a survey on a particular issue, asking viewers to text their vote to a designated shortcode – costing the user anywhere from 20c-80c – essentially ruling out a large portion of the population, skewing the vote.

Fast track to today when the vast majority of the world’s population of 7 billion own a mobile phone.  More than half own a smartphone and communicate via a huge range of platforms – in particular via free OTT messaging services such as WhatsApp and Viber.  Suddenly there’s much more opportunity for companies and brands to connect with customers and users.

Now thanks to easy-to-set up applications that allow fast notification and alerts through SMS, such as Modica’s cloud-based platform that can collect data from a variety of sources in one place, people can weigh in on public debate, vote, donate money or enter competitions and subscriptions, from a variety of channels.

While Modica has been providing A2P messaging services for more than 10 years now, over the past two years we’ve partnered with OTT message providers around the world, allowing us to cover multiple channels and ensuring our customers near-ubiquitous coverage.

M2M is another area with huge potential we’re working in as well.

Think of machinery in remote locations such as weather stations, irrigation pumps, water reservoirs, wind turbines and solar powered stations.

With no internet connection and poor mobile coverage, M2M messaging is ideal for collecting bulk data from a multitude of machines in a vast area, and putting it all in one place, giving the user easy access to the data from anywhere in the world.

Capacity Magazine’s recently released report SMS Wholesale Special: The A-to-Z of A2P, pinpoints five specific industries to watch if the growth in A2P SMS revenues reaches expectations: Transport and Logistics, Healthcare, Banking and Finance, Retail and Hospitality and – ironically – OTT players.

Modica provides a range of mobile messaging services via their cloud-based enterprise platform, and with more than 10 year’s experience, are just the folk to talk to about the best and most efficient way for you to connect with your users.

Communications in crisis management

The recent power outages in Auckland, caused by fires at Transpower’s Penrose Substation are a timely reminder for businesses of the necessity of a crisis management plan.

Around 85,000 homes and thousands of businesses and people were affected by the power outages, which lasted up to 48 hours in some areas.

Many businesses had to close completely, unable to service customers without electricity for light, heat, refrigeration, processing transactions and security.

A flexible, up-to-date crisis management plan is essential in time of crisis, in particular communicating with those impacted by the plan, including employees, customers, suppliers and partners quickly and efficiently.

It’s important to not only practice this plan, but train your staff so everyone knows what to do in a crisis, when power, telcos and transport could be impacted.

Email, landlines, mobile phones and SMS should all be considered in your communications strategy in anticipation of downed power lines and power outages.

FullSizeRender (1)According to this study* following Hurricane Katrina, SMS has emerged as an effective method for communication in event of crisis.

The study concluded: “Hurricane Katrina changed the way that organisations deal with crises, because traditional methods of technology unexpectedly failed to work. Text messaging or SMS — short message service — emerged as a successful means of keeping people aware of what was happening.”

The study found crisis management plans should include traditional forms of media such as radio, email and landlines, as well as mobile phones, SMS and in some cases satellite phones.

“Today with a mix of traditional and new communication tactics, organisations can provide much more comprehensive crisis communications.”

This post from the international business continuity information portal Continuity Central says SMS has proven to be reliable method of communication, even in severe incidents.

“Most cell phones now accept SMS messages, and because they require less bandwidth, the ability to send SMS messages is often available when a voice call is not. These channels continue to be overlooked and under-utilised in emergencies.”

While we always hope for the best, businesses need to recognise that crises can and will occur, and prepare and train for the worst to reduce the impact on their staff, partners, products and services, customers and reputation.

Contact us today and discuss your business and how SMS fits into your crisis communications management plan.

*page 197



Securing Online Transactions with Mobile 2FA

In today’s digital world there are a large number of organised and well funded cyber criminals focused on breaking into company networks, stealing passwords, and gathering sensitive data for financial gain or to wreak havoc.

Identity theft with the intent to commit fraud is on the rise, and there are a variety of methods used including exploitation of easy to crack passwords and phishing.

modica2According to APWG’s Global Phishing Survey, there were more than 115,565 unique phishing attacks worldwide in the last six months of 2013, an increase of nearly 60% compared to the 72,758 seen in the first half of the year.
Of these, 681 were targeted institutions, and almost half of them were not phished in the first half of 2013.

The report concluded: “This is an unusual amount of “churn” or turnover, and shows phishers trying out new targets. They appear to be looking for companies that are newly popular, have vulnerable user bases, and/or are not ready to defend themselves against phishing.”

As more and more organisations move their operations online to meet user expectation of completing day-to-day tasks on the run, providing that service while ensuring their sensitive information remains completely secure remains a challenge.

Modica’s two-factor authentication (2FA) solution provides extra defence against unauthorised access to a myriad of digital systems by incorporating something users know – their password, and something they already have – their phone. By connecting your system to the Modica 2FA API you quickly and cost effectively have the ability to add a seamless layer of security to logins, major transactions, and profile and account setting changes.

The beauty of 2FA is its simplicity.  Our experienced team and simple API means your new, simple, yet secure service will be ready for roll out to users within a few hours.

The global ubiquity of SMS makes implementation easy for users, who don’t have to remember a whole raft of extra passwords, nor are you sending them expensive unique code generators.

The 2FA process begins when a user interacts with a part of your system requiring user authentication or system approval.  Your system automatically sends an authorisation code to a pre-determined mobile device and then prompts the user to enter that on screen allowing them to complete their transaction – or alerting them that someone else is attempting to access their account.

Modica’s 2FA solution is being used across a range of industries, including financial institutions, Healthcare, Government, and retailers for securing access, confirming high value transactions and managing opt in approvals to mailing lists and competitions.

With more than 10 year’s experience in mobile and ISP operations around the world, our 2FA solutions come with expert assistance, 24/7 support and real-time reporting.

Read a case study from NZACU, one of our satisfied customers, here. Or to find out more about Modica’s 2FA solutions and how to improve your business security please contact us online.