January 24, 2020
The administrator for Australia's .au country code Top Level Domain (ccTLD) has found new ways to assist in bushfire recovery efforts.
On Monday, auDA announced a temporary Major Disaster Policy that came into effect on Wednesday. It provides .au domain registrants impacted by bushfires an extra two months to renew their domain names and the same extra period to respond to any complaints connected to their names.
The renewal of domain names is probably the last thing on the minds of those affected by the fires, and this extension will help ensure their web sites and email communications will continue to function while more urgent recovery priorities are attended to.
While the extension will be automatically applied where the registrant contact information notes a postcode of an impacted area, in the case a registrant contact address is outside a bushfire-affected area or incorrect, the person will need to apply for the extension.
While auDA says it was unable to conduct the usual public consultation phase of the policy development process due to the urgent need for quick implementation, it consulted with the Department of Communications and the Arts, registry operator Afilias and auDA-accredited registrars to "ensure the policy is both feasible and effective."
During February, auDA will also be donating $1 from every new .au domain name registered to the Foundation for Regional and Rural Renewal (FRRR), which helps disaster affected communities to recover and build resilience to future disasters. FRRR says it has provided more than $19m to locally-led recovery and preparedness initiatives since 2006.
32,717 Australian domain names were created in December last year and 40,218 in November 2019. auDA expects 40,000 .au names to be created next month, so the resulting donation should be quite substantial.
auDA is also trying to assist bushfire-affected Australians in other ways - as well as those who are seeking to help out. It has previously flagged it is monitoring domain registrations that may be used for bushfire related scams.
We mentioned last week that the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission's (ACCC's) Scamwatch service has received hundreds of bushfire scam reports relating to cold-calling, direct messaging, fake websites and social media pages.
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