April 19, 2016
Some good news for those who have been waiting - it may not be too long before Australians can register domains directly under .AU.
Currently, all Australian domain names need to be registered under an extension such as .COM.AU. Following a lengthy review, the auDA Board has decided to accept the recommendation of the 2015 Names Policy Panel concerning direct registrations.
.au Domain Administration Ltd (auDA) is the policy authority and industry self-regulatory body for the .au domain space.
auDA says it agreed with the majority of the Panel's views; including that shorter names are more appealing and memorable; direct registration capabilities would provide more choice, it would respond to market demand and it would strengthen the already very strong .AU brand in a competitive global market.
Before direct registration is available, auDA will commence a comprehensive policy development process and consult further with stakeholders in order to ascertain the optimal approach; bearing in the mind the potential impact to existing registrants and with view to maintaining stability and integrity of the .AU DNS (Domain Name System).
In the past, when other registries have permitted direct registrations; existing domain name holders have usually had first dibs on names equivalent to their current addresses during a sunrise period - i.e., the registrant of yourname.com.au gets first preference to yourname.au. This was recently the case in New Zealand.
It appears there will be strong demand for direct registrations. An auDA survey was sent to 97,000 randomly selected registrants across .COM.AU, .NET.AU, .ORG.AU, ASN.AU and ID.AU extensions; plus a representative sample of the general population. The results indicate 60% of respondents would be likely or highly likely to register a “yourname.au” type address if it was available.
The results of that survey can be viewed here (PDF).
auDA states it will publish more announcements during 2016 with regard to its progress on implementation work.
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