You’ve probably heard the news – that it’s likely in the near future Australians will be able to register domain names directly under .au. (eg instead of domainname.com.au, they can use domainname.au).
You can read more about the change here www.domainer.com.au/draft-recommendations-from-the-2015-names-policy-panel/
This is potentially a huge shift in the Australian namespace and there are strong opinions are forming both for and against.
Proponents of the change include the following arguments:
- It opens up millions of new opportunities for would-be registrants. As there are over 3m registrations in com.au and net.au, it’s becoming increasingly difficult for people to acquire a short, meaningful domain for their venture.
- It’s been successful overseas (.uk and .nz have been released in recent years) as people take up the chance to use a shorter, arguably more memorable domain.
- Should individuals be allowed to register these domains (as opposed to restricting to ABN holders as is currently the case), it means bloggers, micro-businesses etc have a viable Australian option other than the much-derided id.au.
- It’s an Australian-focussed defence to the impact of the new gTLDs that have entered the market. Instead of businesses drifting over to .web, .xyz etc, this is an option for them to retain their Australian identity.
Those in opposition make the following points:
- It adds a level of confusion for Australians looking for businesses online. Do they look for the com.au, the net.au or the .au.
- Many businesses will feel forced into ‘defensive registrations’ to protect their brand. It will cost them money but the domain will never be actively used.
- Domainers and those with a legitimate investment in domain names may see the value of their portfolios eroded due to the sudden increase in supply.
- Some people feel there are plenty of viable options within com.au and net.au and that businesses just need to consider buying existing domains rather than only considering domains available for free registration. After all, if people only ever bought brand new houses, and 1/3rd of them were sitting empty, then no doubt there would be a sever housing shortage.