Australians have voted overwhelmingly in favour of a new .AU web domain.
Earlier this year, a panel of stakeholders (the "2015 Names Policy Panel") was set up to review if the current policies for Australian websites are still relevant, and if change was something the people actively wanted. The panel invited comment from the public on questions including if .au should be open to "direct registrations", if there should be any policy rules, and what those rules might need to be.
Majority favour of a new option
According to the panel's draft recommendations, 63% of respondents voted in favour of "direct registration" - that is, to be able to register a web address as just .au instead of having to be .org.au or .com.au. However, the panel notes that out of the majority who were in favour of a new option, a further 27% felt there should be conditions: such as customers with an existing .com.au name being given priority rights to the matching .au name.
In the article A change in Australia’s web rules would open up the .au space Derek Whitehead, chair of the 2015 Names Panel and adjunct professor at Swinburne University of Technology, commented on why the panel were in favour of the change. He said the main reason was that direct registrations "would create more options" and .au names would be "shorter, more appealing, and more memorable" as well as "making the domain name system simpler and easier to use."
Further to this, Whitehead said the proposed change would give "a wide range of new choices for registrants," since they would still be able to register the existing options like net.au.
The proposal has been "influenced by events outside Australia" including New Zealand and the United Kingdom, Whitehead says, who have already adopted direct registrations.
Not everyone is in favour of the change, however, with the panel accepting that it has considered suggestions "that the change would be confusing for users, disrupting the logical hierarchy of names in the Australian DNS."
Want to have your say?
The panel are taking comments and suggestions until September 30th. Jo Lim, Chief Operations and Policy Officer, auDA can be emailed at firstname.lastname@example.org. Alternatively, you can complete the online survey here.
Watch this space - .au could be coming to you soon!