auDA Will Soon Introduce First Level Domain Name Registrations In .AU

Soon Australians will be able to make first level domain name registrations in .au, for example, “MyName.au”.
The .au domain extension is the country code Top Level Domain (ccTLD) restricted to use by individuals, organisations, or companies registered and/or residing in Australia. For example, .com.au or .net.au domains may only be registered to Australian sole traders, businesses or companies.
Today the .au Domain Administration (auDA) Board decided to accept the recommendation of the 2015 Names Policy Panel to introduce direct registrations in .au.
The Board was satisfied that both the Panel’s work and an independent market research among registrants of second level .au domains and thinks that introducing direct registrations would be of benefit to users of the .au DNS, and for this reason it has decided to proceed.
Up until now you could only register second level .au domains like .com.au and .org.au:
  • .com.au – Commercial entities
  • .net.au – Commercial entities (historically only ISPs, but the use has been broadened)
  • .org.au – Associations and non-profit organisations (historically only for organisations that did not fit in other categories)
  • .edu.au – Educational institutions (see Third-level domains, below)
  • .gov.au – Governments and their departments (see Third-level domains, below)
  • .asn.au – Associations and non-profit organisations
  • .id.au – Individuals (by real name or common alias)
  • .csiro.au – CSIRO (Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation)

The Board agreed with the majority views expressed in the Panel’s final report, that the introduction of direct registrations would:

  • make available domain names which are shorter, more appealing and more memorable
  • give Australians more choice is deciding what domain name to register
  • respond to market demand
  • be more attractive to natural individuals than the current option, id.au
  • strengthen the “.au brand” in a globally competitive market
  • add value to all three main categories of users – registrars and resellers, registrants and ultimate users of the .au domain name system.

auDA will now undertake a comprehensive policy development process and further stakeholder consultations to determine the best approach for implementing direct registrations in .au, including taking into account the impact on existing registrants, in a manner that is consistent with the .au policy and regulatory framework, and that maintains the overall stability and integrity of the .au DNS.

Other ccTLDs have also started offering first level registrations for the first time. In June 2014 direct .uk domain registrations were introduced.

The 2015 Names Policy Panel was appointed by the auDA Board to review the policy framework underlying the allocation and use of domain names in the .au domain space. The Panel commenced work in February 2015 and provided its final report to the Board in December 2015. Full details of the Panel’s work is available here.At its meeting on 15 February 2016, the Board held a full discussion of the Panel’s final recommendations in relation to direct registrations, including both the majority and minority views. The Board took careful note of all the work that the Panel had undertaken during the 10 months of its deliberations, which included two rounds of public consultation that elicited around 5,000 responses.

auDA sent the survey to 97,000 randomly selected registrants in com.au, net.au, org.au, asn.au and id.au. The survey was also sent to a representative sample of the general population provided by the market research company. In summary, the results showed that 60% of respondents would be likely or highly likely to register “yourname.au” if it was available. Click here for the full results of the survey.

The Board noted that the independent market research results closely corresponded with public comments received by the Panel, which showed that approximately two-thirds of respondents were in favour of direct registrations.

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About Konstantinos Zournas

Konstantinos studied Computer Engineering and Computer Science in London and lives in Athens, Greece. He works on domain names, websites and software development. Has been online since 1995 & domaining since 2002.

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