An introduction to Community Geographic Domain Names

Hi, I’m Leonie Dunbar, auDA’s General Manager of registrar and CGDN services.

In my first blog post, I wanted to talk about an auDA initiative that we proudly boast is a world first – Community Geographic Domain Names.

Introduced in 2006, CGDNs are a special series of website addresses, reserved for use by communities throughout Australia. These domain names are much like a postal address and include the town/suburb name, state/territory name and our country code.  For example: www.broome.wa.au, www.lobethal.sa.au or www. carlton.vic.au. A CGDN website is the easiest way for a community to be found on the Internet through the website address itself and allows organisations within that community a web presence that they often could not otherwise afford.

We’ve put in place rules and procedures to ensure that each community’s CGDN is protected in the Australian .au space and that it is used solely for the purpose of operating a community website for the benefit of the entire local community. For example, each CGDN must be managed by a legally registered not for profit organisation or a special committee of local council that broadly represent their community.

Currently there are over 600 communities around Australia who have launched or are actively working towards getting their CGDN website on the net.

The outcomes of CGDNs have been quite amazing. For example, many have used their community site to drive the process and seek pledges of support for establishing their own Community Bank such as Buderim at: www.buderim.qld.au

Mirboo North used their website www.mirboonorth.vic.au to keep the community informed during the devastating bushfire season in early 2009 with hits increasing seven-fold as community members used the website to access local and relevant emergency information.

CGDNs have also been used to facilitate engagement with youth, promote tourism, celebrate local happenings, and to give a voice to relevant local issues. For other examples of outcomes and initiatives see www.cgdn.org.au/outcomes/

To make the process of creating a community website as easy as possible for communities, we have created an optional ‘off the shelf’ content management system called “Community Site in a Box”. Stay tuned for my next post where I will explain the full benefits and functions of this “turn-key” system and how auDA can help every locality around Australia find their home on the net.

If you have any feedback, please email blog@auda.org.au

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