The Australian Communications Consumer Action Network (ACCAN) has written to the .au Domain Administration (auDA) board to voice concerns over the proposed changes to the Australian domain name system.
auDA has proposed to introduce a .au environment without the need for .com, .net, .edu extension on domain names, enabling domains like www.accan.au to be registered.
ACCAN claimed, in a statement, that Australia’s current domain name system is highly regarded and has strong public recognition and the proposed changes could have adverse effects on small businesses that rely on their website and domain name to attract business if other parties register and use similar domain names.
It could also result in additional expenses incurred by small businesses that have to defensively register additional domain names to protect their businesses, it added.
ACCAN CEO, Teresa Corbin, indicated the changes may be confusing to consumers as recognised domain names of businesses and organisations could change.
“ACCAN has consulted with a number of small businesses who have expressed concern over the proposed changes to Australian domain names. There is a strong likelihood that small businesses will incur extra costs due to defensive registrations, not to mention the extra time and effort they’ll need to spend ensuring their domain name and business are protected.
“We are concerned that to date feedback on the changes has largely been from the domain name industry and the consultation has not adequately taken into account other perspectives such as those of small businesses. A lot of small businesses may not even be aware of the proposed changes,” she said.
Corbin also highlighted the issue of who gets priority access to the new .au domain names that have already been registered as .com.au, .org.au, etc.
“In the UK, .com domain name holders were given priority over other parties to purchase the new .uk domain names. If this approach is adopted in Australia it would be unfair to many small businesses.
“These issues need to be worked through before any change is made so that fair arrangements can be put in place that don’t disadvantage small businesses,” Corbin added.