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Should Direct Registrations Under .AU Be Permitted?

May 26, 2015

Time is running out for comment on a discussion paper primarily focused on the possibility of registering domains directly under .AU.

Registering a domain name directly under .au (eg. has never been possible - but perhaps it could be in the future. 

While the prospect has been rejected in various debates in the past, .au Domain Administration Ltd (auDA), the policy authority and industry self-regulatory body for the .au domain space, has re-opened the discussion.

Its reasons for doing so are two-fold.

Firstly, .UK and .NZ both undertook policy reviews in recent years and as a result, have opened up direct registrations to the public. The move proved popular with .NZ domains, with 60,000 registered in just a few months.

"The decision of .uk and .nz to open up their domain spaces continues an international trend in this direction. There is an argument for saying that .au should keep up with its peers," states the auDA issues paper.

The second factor is competition from the more than 500 new gTLD's introduced since 2013 means .AU needs to be more responsive to global market forces.

"For .au to remain a strong and highly regarded TLD we need not only to rely on its distinctive Australian identity and good reputation, but continue to innovate in order to counter the likely impact of hundreds of new gTLDs flooding the market."

The auDA says the annual growth rate in .au domain registrations was 12% at the end of 2012 before new gTLDs started to appear. That rate halved to 6% at the end of 2014; however the body acknowledges a range of factors may have come into play.

The Issues Paper, April 2015, invites public comments on some of the main policies concerning the allocation and use of  names in the .au domain space. Parties interested in providing comment have until close of business, Monday June 1 to lodge submissions.

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