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New system for playing the domain name game

A NEW system for registering Internet domain names will be launched within weeks, assuming preparatory testing proceeds as planned.

AusRegistry, the central Australian registry for second-level domain names, started acceptance testing of its newly constructed register last week and, along with the .au Domain Administration Ltd (auDA), has begun a national roadshow to increase awareness of the new system among the broader business community.

auDA (pronounced ow-da) is the not-for-profit, self-regulatory overseer of all domain names ending in .au, including .com.au, .net.au and .org.au. It is chaired by the former Federal Liberal Party president Tony Staley.

In December last year AusRegistry, a subsidiary of RegistrarsAsia Pty Ltd, won a competitive tender from auDA that gave it a four-year licence to operate a registry for the five second-level domain names. Under the tender’s requirements, the company maintains a database of domain names, receives approved registrations from registrars and operates the WHOIS service, which allows interested parties to find out which people or companies own particular domain names.

According to auDA CEO Chris Disspane, the acceptance testing under way will involve “blitzing” AusRegistry’s servers to ensure they are properly interfaced with the systems of 10 test bed and provisionally accredited registrars, the actual issuers of domain name licences to registrants.

In the past, only one company – Melbourne IT – was responsible for licensing domain names. auDA’s intention is to introduce competition to the licensing business to encourage more businesses to go online – it does collect a fee for every registration, after all.

“People don’t think much about getting a domain name,” Mr Disspane said. “auDA hopes to encourage people to shop around for the best deal on an appropriate name.”

The current work is the latest in a series of changes to the Australian domain name scene. Earlier this year auDA announced the release for auction of 3,000 generic domain names, for example www.computers.com.au

Mr Disspane said there were about 9,900 applications for 2,200 of the 3,000 names, with the afore-mentioned www.computers. com.au attracting the most interest – 76 applications.

The list of winners will be officially released next week, and although auDA will ultimately have to disclose how much money it raised from the auction process, specific bids will remain secret.

It’s known, however, that while most names were sold for just hundreds of dollars (plus a registration fee), some have attracted bids of more than $10,000.

auDa and AusRegistry are also anticipating significant interest in the release of the.id.au domain name for individuals – www. joebloggs.id.au, for example.

According to Adrian Kinderis, AusRegistry’s MD of sales and marketing, this is the company’s most exciting prospect and will be pushed as the flagship product.

A national advertising campaign across a variety of media will be launched soon.

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