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AuDA Panel Recommends 2LD .AU Registrations

Allowing registrations of .au domain names at the second level, such as name.au, is the most significant of the draft recommendations from the Names Policy Panel that is currently examining changes to registration policies.The recommendation follows changes by .uk and .nz in 2014 that allowed second level registrations and seemingly these changes have had an impact on changing some views as to the desirability of the policy change. And changes if implemented, would see policy rules the same as currently apply to existing second level domains.”The main reason the Panel has recommended this change is that direct registrations would create more options. They include names that are shorter, more appealing and more memorable. They would make the domain name system simpler and easier to use,” said Derek Whitehead, Adjunct Professor at Swinburne University of Technology and the Panel Chair.The changes recommended by the Panel are currently open to public comment and would still mean only Australian businesses, government bodies and individuals could register .au domain names with the belief this would continue to maintain a standard that reflects the trust and security synonymous with the .au domain name space.The recommendation for second level, or direct, registrations will also significantly impact on individuals. Individuals currently can only register third level .id.au domains, but even when given away, as per a recent promotion, total registrations decline. So while many individuals will have already registered a .com, .co or .me domain, there is plenty of potential for greater numbers of registrations should the recommendation be implemented following both the latest round of consultations and board approval.This is the third consecutive time this writer has been involved in a Names Policy Panel, which consists of a wide range of Australian industry representatives, with the proposal rejected by previous Panels, held every three years or so to look at what changes should be made to improve policies to better meet the needs of registrants.Other recommendations include allowing multiple year registrations, from one to five years, that registration rules for existing 2LDs remain, the maintenance of the Reserved List Policy and the prohibition on misspellings be maintained.Comments on the draft recommendations are open until 30 September and can be submitted in two ways – via an online questionnaire or via a written submission. The draft recommendations are available at auda.org.au/assets/pdf/2015npp-draft-recs.pdf.