Since 2000, auDA has used Advisory Panels to help us develop and review the policy framework for .au domain names. Advisory Panels are independent of auDA, and comprise around 20-25 people who represent different stakeholder groups and various points of view. As well as bringing their own perspective to the issues, Advisory Panels must undertake at least two public consultations. The idea is to ensure that auDA’s policies are informed by, and reflective of, a wide cross-section of the Australian Internet community.
In August this year, the auDA Board appointed the 2010 Names Policy Panel, chaired by Derek Whitehead of Swinburne University, to review the following policies:
- Domain Name Eligibility and Allocation Policy Rules for the Open 2LDs (2008-05)
- Guidelines for Accredited Registrars on the Interpretation of Policy Rules for the Open 2LDs (2008-06)
- Reserved List Policy (2008-03)
- Domain Monetisation Policy (2008-10)
The Panel’s job is to look at whether these policies are still relevant and effective, and if they are not, to recommend changes to them.
Panel members have met three times to date (you can read the minutes of their meetings), and identified a number of issues for consideration. The result is the Panel’s first Discussion Paper, which was released for public comment on 26 November 2010.
The Discussion Paper asks for people’s responses to questions such as:
- Should the restriction on registrants being Australian (or registered to trade in Australia) remain in place?
- Should the fixed 2 year domain name licence period be changed?
- Should single character domain names (a-z, 0-9) be permitted in the .au domain?
- Should domain monetisation continue to be subject to specific regulation?
- Should the restriction on prohibited misspellings remain in place?
To make it quicker and easier for people to submit their comments, we have set up an online survey to accompany the Discussion Paper.
So far, in just two weeks, over 100 people have completed the online survey. This is a record response rate for any Panel consultation! With several weeks still to go before the consultation closes on 21 January 2011, I’m looking forward to seeing many more responses come in.
Panel members are very conscious of their responsibility to represent the Australian Internet community, so they are keen to find out what people think. It’s fair to say that Panel members have not yet made up their minds about many of the issues under consideration, and they are open to other people’s ideas and suggestions.
I know that lots of people have strong views on domain name policy – now is the time to have your say. As it says in our media release, this really is your opportunity to help shape the future of .au.