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Australia’s ‘.au’ domain in the spotlight as changes are proposed

31 Jan 2018

A number of changes have been proposed for Australia’s ‘.au’ domain, with the regulatory body in charge with overseeing the domain proposing a raft of reforms in a discussion paper for public consideration.

The .au Domain Administration (auDA) says the proposed changes are the most significant for thirty years.

One of the most important proposed change is direct registration, which provides the option to register addresses like ‘yourname.au’ without the need for ‘.com’ or ‘.org.’ The panel will take the discussion paper on the road to public forums, with dates set for Perth,  Brisbane, Sydney, and Melbourne. Other key proposed changes include;

  • Permitting the use of non-ASCII characters – such as Arabic, Cyrillic, or Chinese language characters – in .au domains.
  • Strengthening public interest protections, making it harder for scammers or cynical ‘squatters’ to take advantage of internet users.

auDA Policy Review Panel Chair John Swinson says the reforms being proposed were of relevance to every Australian. “We might not think about it often, but the .au domain range has become a vital piece of national infrastructure,” Swinson says. “The .au domain increases trust, which can, in turn, facilitate positive economic and community activity. When internet users both here and overseas see the .au domain they associate it with Australia’s secure and stable environment.

Swinson also says it’s important that the public are able to voice their concerns about the changes, and that while direct registration is likely to generate the most interest, other reforms -  like internationalised domain names - are potentially extremely significant as well. “We believe significant reforms to the .au domain, like the ones we are proposing, should be presented openly to the public for consideration. We encourage any interested Australian to come to the forums or to read and respond to the discussion paper online,” he says. “We believe there is an untapped market for internationalised domain names given Australia’s multicultural community and the increasing demand for Australian products and services overseas. “Giving Australian products the chance to be understood by their international customers in their own scripts, while simultaneously retaining the trust associated with the .au domain, could be a real boon to primary producers and other exporters,” Swinson concludes.

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