The .au domain’s regulatory body has proposed what it calls the “most significant changes” to the country-code top-level domain for thirty years.
The .au Domain Administration (auDA)’s Policy Review Panel's proposed reforms include the option for .au domain name holders to drop .com, .org or equivalents from their web addresses. auDA is also proposing the use of non-ASCII characters like Arabic, Cyrillic, or Chinese language characters to be allowed. The panel hopes these and other measures will also increase protection from scammers or domain “squatters”.
The panel will take the discussion paper on the road to public forums, with dates set for Perth, Brisbane, Sydney, and Melbourne.
“We might not think about it often, but the .au domain range has become a vital piece of national infrastructure,” auDA Policy Review Panel chair John Swinson said.
“The .au domain increases trust, which can, in turn, facilitate positive economic and community activity. When internet users both here and overseas see the .au domain they associate it with Australia’s secure and stable environment.”
Swinson said that although direct registration was likely to generate the most interest, the introduction of the non-ASCII characters can open up opportunities for internationalised domain names.
“We believe there is an untapped market for internationalised domain names given Australia’s multicultural community and the increasing demand for Australian products and services overseas,” Mr Swinson said.
“Giving Australian products the chance to be understood by their international customers in their own scripts, while simultaneously retaining the trust associated with the .au domain, could be a real boon to primary producers and other exporters.”
“We believe significant reforms to the .au domain, like the ones we are proposing, should be presented openly to the public for consideration. We encourage any interested Australian to come to the forums or to read and respond to the discussion paper online.”