.au battle ahead

Plans to introduce new domain names of ‘.au’ have been met with sharp criticism from the Gold Coast small business community as the proposal is likely to see “David and Goliath” style battles for web addresses.

AuDA, the domain registry body in Australia, has come under fire from small businesses across the nation since SEO expert Jim Stewart raised concerns about discussions auDA had been having on the introduction of new ‘.au’ domains. Stewart flagged that the process could create significant financial and time costs to small businesses.

Alec Pokarier, Treasurer of the Gold Coast Junior Chamber of Commerce says this is auDA trying to apply a “Band-Aid to a broken bone”. “Its clear auDA faces a number of key challenges in the immediate future but this is a botched and ill-thought-out proposal with a lack of real business engagement” he said. “In a time where the Federal Government is committed to removing regulatory barriers in FinTech and expanding sources of capital for Australian small businesses, this is a pretty big bureaucratic slap in the face”.

Stop au domain

Josh Rowe, who previously served as a non-executive director of auDA for fourteen years, says he has also been waiting for a solid explanation from the organisation about why ‘.au’ domains are necessary. “There’s been no clear case made for the expansion of the domain space, and to my understanding, it’s not like ‘.com.au’ names are running out”.

In submissions to the government’s inquiry on the domain name space, one website owner says he currently has eight registered ‘.com.au’ domains, and the change would be outrageous. “There is absolutely no benefit for businesses in having an additional domain name to manage. It is simply an additional expense and an unnecessary overhead” the business owner said.

While auDA says it’s continuing to gather feedback about how direct registrations for these new domains would work, an exact timeline for the rollout is not yet finalised and business owners are rightfully angry over the decision.

The Gold Coast Junior Chamber of Commerce is calling on auDA to consider the detrimental impact this will have on small business and to abandon the proposal.