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Future Bright For Austrian Registry In Changing Times

It has been a busy 12 months for the Austrian registry nic.at and its CEO Richard Wein. In mid-2010 Wein passed his ten year anniversary with the organisation, in January the one million .AT domain name registration milestone was passed and this week nic.at hosts the annual Domain Pulse conference in Vienna – the largest and most important annual domain name conference in Europe hosted on a rotating basis by the Austrian, Swiss and German registries.Growth of the .AT ccTLD has been impressive with Wein believing this growth can easily continue as there is a lot of potential in the name space.”More and more German and European domain holders have begun start registering .AT domains,” Wein told the GoldsteinReport. Looking to the future, Wein believes “New gTLDs might be a challenge, but we believe that people will register in a new gTLD in addition to but not instead of a ccTLD like .AT. It will be an ‘Internet Revolution’, and with so many people talking about domains this will be also good for the .AT business, not only for the new gTLD.”The new gTLD landscape also offers some great opportunities and nic.at is looking to capitalise on this having developed its own “Registry In A Box” and consulting services. Registry In A Box will enable new gTLD operators, or even existing TLD operators, to have a cost effective means of running a registry without all the development costs.Registry In A Box is a modular box, where registry operators can choose three different “Registry-sizes” depending on their knowledge of and skills in registry operation – these being basic, advanced and complete.Nic.at will also be utilising their 12 years registry experience by providing consulting services to assist with start-up and ongoing operations.”New gTLDs will be a very interesting development, and with synergies between our own business and the new gTLDs, it will mean nic.at can offer cost-effective services. It is likely to also mean domain name awareness in the community will rise, and if so, existing ccTLDs and TLDs as well as the new gTLDs will all profit from it.”The Austrian registry is also looking at the broader community, recognising that security and safety online are areas that more and more require a lot of attention. It is especially important with the growing threat of cybercrime and hacking meaning a lot of attention must be given to make the registry as secure as possible. Should a ccTLD registry be brought down it could have a devastating impact for business. Any business using a TLD that is brought down may find their services unreachable and much of their communications disabled.To further develop this, nic.at has become a competence centre for domain names in Austria to support the local internet community with initiatives such as netidee and Stopline – a reporting hotline for illegal content such as child pornography. The registry also runs the Austrian CERT (Computer Emergency Response Team).To share their knowledge and learn from others, nic.at is an active participant in and supporter of organisations such as ICANN, CENTR, INHOPE and FIRST. INHOPE is largely a European organisation that brings together reporting hotlines for illegal content, while FIRST is a new body dealing with internet security with Wein’s fellow nic.at CEO Robert Schischka on the inaugural board.Wein feels confident in the future of the Austrian registry. The registry has broad support from the local internet community, including government and customers. And there is a lot of potential in a registry where registrations are open to all with no local presence requirements. .AT has achieved a very high recognition within Austria with 93 per cent of Austrians being aware of .AT. And when compared to the more than 14 million registrations in .DE (Germany) and around 90 million in .COM, there are still plenty of domain names available in many languages, a point Wein is keen to emphasise. But it is a competitive market and the registry runs marketing campaigns, including price reductions, among registries to encourage demand among registrants.But for this week Wein’s attention will be the annual Domain Pulse conference, to be held in Vienna at the Palais Ferstel. Held on 17 and 18 February, the conference will give an overview on the latest developments in the domain name industry, from internet law to security issues with top speakers, with an emphasis on Austria, Germany and Switzerland, but also from around the world.As Wein says, “it is a great occasion for the industry to meet. This is ‘THE’ event of the domain name industry in Europe.” Not only that, there are simultaneous translations from German to English, or where presentations are in English, into German, there is no registration fee, there is always a great event on the first evening and it is a great networking opportunity.More information on the Austrian registry is available from nic.at.More information on and registration for Domain Pulse is available at domainpulse.at.The writer is attending the Domain Pulse conference with limited travel support from the Austrian registry.