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section heading icon     overview

This profile looks at auDA, the nonprofit body responsible for developing and administering policy regarding the dot-au domain space. It also considers the shape and evolution of that space.

auDA is the national equivalent of the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names & Numbers (ICANN), discussed in a separate profile.

This site includes detailed information about domain names, network issues and the governance of cyberspace.

     contents of this profile

This page provides an overview of auDA and its predecessors. The profile includes the following pages -

  • dot-au - the nature of the Australian ccTLD, including its 2LDs
  • history - auDA's precursors and its establishment
  • structure - its constitution, Board and membership structure, administration and challenges
  • engagement - debate, advocacy and community expectations
  • activity - what the organisation has done since its establishment and its vision of the future
  • the new regime - the shape of the new domain administration in the dot-au space, including name eligibility
  • industry - an overview of domain service businesses in the dot-au space: registrars, resellers and other players
  • naming - the shape of domain naming in the dot-au space
  • auDRP - mechanisms for dealing with domain name registration disputes and highlights of decisions under the new auDRP
  • TPA - the Trade Practices Act and other mechanisms for handling disputes about use of dot-au domain names
  • dot-au statistics - figures about the growth of the dot-au space
  • whois - the dot-au WHOIS and privacy
  • costs - questions about regulatory cost-shifting, efficiency and benchmarking
  • landmarks - a brief timeline of auDA's activity and antecedents.

There is a separate profile covering the dot-nz space - the New Zealand ccTLD.

     auDA at a glance

The .au Domain Administration Ltd (auDA) is a nonprofit company responsible for administration of the dot-au space, ie the Australian ccTLD.

It is based in Melbourne, with a small staff and a 13 member board of directors (most of whom were elected by the company's members).

It has assumed responsibility from the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA) and operates under Commonwealth telecommunications legislation that reflects the federal government's powers under the Constitution for communications.

Since its establishment in 1999 it has progressively developed new policies and introduced competition for the delivery of domain-related services, in particular domain registration.


auDA is not a government owned corporation and is not established by specific Commonwealth legislation. However its powers and responsibilities are circumscribed by federal law, in particular by the Telecommunications Legislation Amendment Act 2000, which amended the Telecommunications Act 1997 and the Australian Communications Authority Act 1997 regarding responsibilities of the Australian Communications Authority (ACA, now ACMA) and Australian Competition & Consumer Commission (ACCC) in relation to electronic addressing.

The expectation is that auDA will act in the national interest, funded by industry (through fees and membership charges) rather than by government. It will develop policy, set and monitor standards but not necessarily deliver all domain-related services. It has accordingly delegated maintenance of the dot-au domain registry to a commercial service provider.

The following pages describe how it is structured, how it operates, what it has been doing and what the new regime may look like.

     and the dot-au space

The dot-au space comprises registrations in a range of 2LDs. Those 2LDs are examined in more detail here (with a comparison to those in other countries) and here (from an industry perspective).

The space has shown substantial growth in recent years, up from 82,000 dot-au registrations at the end of 1998 (and under 4,000 in 1995).

As at October 2001 there were around 257,000 registrations (although not all were active). Opening of competition in provision of registration services from 1 July 2002 onwards is associated by some observers with growth in several of those 2LDs.

By December 2002 there were 310,733 registrations within the dot-au space, rising to 316,526 in January 2003, some 350,000 later in the year, 440,000 by the end of June 2004 and 561,721 in June 2005 -

2LDs /
date
com
net
org
asn
edu
gov
Nov 95
2,573
..
63
..
..
..
Dec 96
13,555
..
520
..
..
..
Dec 97
31,657
..
1,520
..
..
..
Dec 98
62,898
..
3,000
..
..
..
Dec 99
126,591
..
4,850
..
..
..
Dec 00
202,484
17,384
6,700
1,983
5,825
2,397
Oct 01
229,339
17,383
7,841
2,532
6,720
2,885
Dec 02
278,903
15,849
11,218
3,022
6,907
..
Dec 03
340,589
27,812
15,479
3,377
..
..
July 04 382,994
34,391
17,480
3,581
..

..

Dec 04
425,698
38,939
16,247
2,664
..
..
July 05
486,467
47,700
18,871
2,818
..
..
Dec 05
539,438
51,897
20,773
2,927
..
..
July 06
627,457
61,142
23,458
3,010
..
..
Dec 06 697,763 69,713 25,637
3,026
..
..
July 07 841,164 86,108 29,867
3,253
..
..
Dec 07 874,001 91,058 30,746
3,310
..
..
July 08
..
..

In February 2005 auDA announced that the combined number of .com.au and .net.au domain names had reached 500,000; by mid-2007 there were nearly a million registrations in the overall dot-au space (a comparable per capita number to that of other ccTLDs such as dot-uk). The millionth dot-au registration was announced in December 2007.

More detailed figures about the size of the dot-au space from February 1995 onwards are available here; figures on other ccTLDs are here.

Detailed statistics about the size of the dot-au space prior to October 2001 are somewhat uncertain, an issue explored in a forthcoming paper by Bruce Arnold on Volunteerism and Its Discontents: Self-Regulation and DNS Administration in Australia and New Zealand.




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