This week Australia’s Internet Governance Forum event, NetThing, is happening virtually with a host of discussions and presentations covering Australia’s critical infrastructure, internet standards, vaccine passports and digital rights, the internet as an essential service, tech and environmental sustainability, misinformation and disinformation, DNS abuse, trusted digital platforms, blockchain, protecting at risk voices, will technology save the planet, adult content online and mass surveillance and democracy. The theme for the 2021 NetThing Forum is “Building Bridges.”
The prospect of a second round of applications for new gTLDs is on the agenda for ICANN, with discussions likely to take place at an upcoming board meeting, possibly as early as September.
“The board will soon start discussing the possibility of opening a second round of applications for new gTLDs, said ICANN board member and auDA CEO Chris Disspain at the Australian Internet Governance Forum Wednesday in a discussion on new gTLDs focussing on the upcoming .melbourne.
The earliest possibility for discussions is an ICANN board retreat, scheduled for early to mid-September.
The conference was preceded by the announcement of the winners of the Australia and New Zealand Internet Awards (ANZIA), a collaboration between auDA and InternetNZ, that recognise organisations, businesses and individuals who excel in delivering accessible, innovative, informative and secure resources to a diverse and wide community on the Internet.
“The concept of the ANZIAs came from discussions between Keith Davidson (the then CEO of InternetNZ) and me over several glasses of red wine,” said Disspain. “We wanted to be able to reward those organisations, individuals and businesses we had seen develop incredible online resources, for the benefit of all Australians and New Zealanders. The Internet is a place where everyone is able to exchange ideas and communicate, on a level playing field. The ANZIAs are a way to acknowledge the world-class initiatives that are created, in both of our countries.”
There were winners in six different categories:
- Diversity: Cultural Infusion
- Innovation: ARTS:LIVE – The Song Room
- Information: Policy Online (APO)
- Access & Digital Skills: Get Up To Speed Program – The Training Collective
- Security & Online Safety: RealMe – New Zealand Department of Internal Affairs
- The Leonie Dunbar Memorial Award for Community Websites: Apollo Bay Community Website Inc
A full list of winners and those highly commended is available at www.internetawards.org.au
The upcoming launch of the .melbourne gTLD was also the focus though of one session. Questions were raised about the cost, due to the $50 wholesale premium being charged to registrars. But ARI Registry Services CEO Adrian Kinderis, who will provide registry services, justified the cost for three reasons – respect for the Australian country code .au, preventing cybersquatting and that it’s expensive to run a TLD, so with less names, costs have to be higher to pay the bills.
Kinderis also believes that the use of a city gTLD such as .melbourne will also help internet users find their desired destination.
If you’re searching for Melbourne, the results for .melbourne will be ranked higher, Kinderis believes. The same with brands. Searching for a brand will rank websites using the brand gTLD higher than other sites.
But for registrants using domains in more generic TLDs, Kinderis believes they will in the main not be ranked highly in search results.