Erika Roberts, director of auDA and a member of ICANN's name council, has decided to heat up debate about the .au domain by criticising the auDA's Name Policy Advisory panel over its first report into the domain space.
According to Roberts, the .au name is being neglected by Australian businesses because the schema behind registering a .au domain name is too restrictive.
"The .au domain space needs a lot of improvement, to put it mildly," she said. "People are finding the .au space so restrictive they are registering for .com overseas. If the .au space is to remain important, it must be easy and user friendly. Australia is in danger of becoming totally out of step with what is happening overseas."
Roberts said the .au domain space is still being administered in the same fashion as it was during the days of Robert Elz, the initial legacy administrator responsible for developing the .au name space. While she believes the domain market needed to be restrictive in the early days, the Internet environment has changed considerably and many of the restrictions are no longer justifiable.
Roberts is disappointed with the report released by auDA's Name Policy Advisory panel because it failed to offer any potential solutions to the problems and focussed on less urgent issues. "The report is not addressing how to make the .au domain more attractive," she said. "I think we have failed to take advantage of several second-level domains that already exist today, like id.au, conf.au and info.au. These are potentially attractive spaces but no one seems to know about them. I also think we should open up the second-level domain space, and have the likes of bhp.au. The higher the level, the more attractive."
Roberts is hoping the public discussions following the report will yield criticism and generate new ideas for the .au space before it becomes "atrophied".