auDA to introduce direct registrations in .au

Today the auDA Board decided to accept the recommendation of the 2015 Names Policy Panel to introduce direct registrations in .au – for example, “yourname.au”. The Board agreed with the majority views expressed in the Panel’s final report, that the introduction of direct registrations would:
  • make available domain names which are shorter, more appealing and more memorable
  • give Australians more choice in deciding what domain name to register
  • respond to market demand
  • be more attractive to natural individuals than the current option, id.au
  • strengthen the “.au brand” in a globally competitive market
  • add value to all three main categories of users – registrars and resellers, registrants and ultimate users of the .au domain name system.
auDA will now undertake a comprehensive policy development process and further stakeholder consultations to determine the best approach for implementing direct registrations in .au, including taking into account the impact on existing registrants, in a manner that is consistent with the .au policy and regulatory framework, and that maintains the overall stability and integrity of the .au DNS. auDA will make further announcements during the year as the implementation work progresses. The Board acknowledged the hard work and commitment shown by Panel Chair Derek Whitehead and all members of the Panel over a 10 month policy review process. Background The 2015 Names Policy Panel was appointed by the auDA Board to review the policy framework underlying the allocation and use of domain names in the .au domain space. Panel members represented a wide range of stakeholder interests, including industry, consumer, government and legal. The Panel commenced work in February 2015 and provided its final report to the Board in December 2015. Full details of the Panel’s work is available here. At its meeting on 15 February 2016, the Board held a full discussion of the Panel’s final recommendations in relation to direct registrations, including both the majority and minority views. The Board took careful note of all the work that the Panel had undertaken during the 10 months of its deliberations, which included two rounds of public consultation that elicited around 5,000 responses. Whilst Board members were receptive to the Panel’s recommendations, it was felt prudent to commission some independent market research to test the Panel’s assertions. Importantly, the purpose of the market research was not to find out whether people think introducing direct registrations in .au is a good idea – this was the focus of the Panel’s work, and the Board was clear that it did not wish to repeat what the Panel had already done. Rather, the purpose of the market research was to assess the likely level of market demand. To this end, it was agreed to conduct a simple, one question survey aimed at finding out whether or not people would register “yourname.au” if it was available. auDA sent the survey to 97,000 randomly selected registrants in com.au, net.au, org.au, asn.au and id.au. The survey was also sent to a representative sample of the general population provided by the market research company. In summary, the results showed that 60% of respondents would be likely or highly likely to register “yourname.au” if it was available. Click here for the full results of the survey. The Board noted that the independent market research results closely corresponded with public comments received by the Panel, which showed that approximately two-thirds of respondents were in favour of direct registrations. The Board is satisfied that both the Panel’s work and the independent market research supports the view that introducing direct registrations would be of benefit to users of the .au DNS, and for this reason it has decided to proceed.
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