New Zealand: The Internet’s Petri Dish

As a half-Australian, I was raised from an early age to think certain things about New Zealanders. They are a simple people who do unprintable things to sheep. They rely on hobbits as their main engine of economic growth. And they are miserable at cricket.While these things may or may not be true, I can confirm one other salient fact about the Kiwis: They’ve become the Internet’s most beloved lab rats.Last year, for example, LinkedIn wanted to test its Endorsements product, which lets users check a box to recommend each other, on a small audience before rolling it out as a full-fledged service to all of its users. Because of the nature of Endorsements, though, LinkedIn could not simply let 1 percent or 2 percent of its worldwide users try out the product. There would be a small amount of people endorsing their contacts and confusing the rest of LinkedIn’s audience who could not access the new tool. “So we decided to trial it in New Zealand,” says Kevin Scott, the senior vice president in charge of engineering at LinkedIn.

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