I am pleased to present Edition 4 of our quarterly industry report, Behind the Dot – State of the .au Domain.

The last few months have been very eventful for the team at AusRegistry, as our parent company Bombora Technologies was acquired by information services company Neustar, Inc. As this change in shareholders provides an exciting opportunity for the company to grow and strengthen, AusRegistry will continue to be the technology provider for all second-level .au domain names and the same team and management will continue to operate from our Melbourne offices.

This edition includes the much anticipated annual .au Survey Report for 2015. Incorporating the survey is a first for Behind the Dot – a fantastic initiative which allows us to provide some interesting insight into some of this year’s findings.

Another noteworthy event this quarter is .au’s recent 3 millionth domain registration. The artwork on the front cover of this report is a wonderful tribute to this achievement. It so accurately portrays the complexity that lies behind the running of a namespace. Having been part of the domain industry since 2000, I am particularly proud of the important role AusRegistry has played in keeping Australians online by creating a stable and secure environment in which to operate.

The Domain Name Journal recently featured an article that refers to .au as a ‘venerable’ namespace, which is a particularly apt description. As one of the oldest ccTLDs – approaching 30 years in operation – it has grown over time to become Australia’s premier domain space. It remains among the top 10 ccTLDs for domains under management, which is truly significant for a country of fewer than 24 million people. In many respects .au has been somewhat of a trailblazer in relation to policy, marketing and security initiatives. A detailed timeline (2002 – 2015) outlining some of .au’s important milestones can be found in the background section of the survey report. Looking back, I find it astounding to see how much has been achieved in this period of time.

Whilst it is important to ‘stop and smell the roses’ in acknowledging our achievements so far, the 3 millionth registration is also a perfect time to look towards the future. The survey findings have raised some interesting discussion points this year with respects to the next generation of .au registrants. A slight shift away from domain holders towards non-.au domains raises a number of questions as does the very notable change in how respondents navigate online content. The two ‘focus’ pieces in the survey report look at these two issues and provide a balanced industry perspective.

As we attempt to navigate the uncharted territory of new gTLDs, I am a firm believer that the cream always raises to the top. .au has a long history of responding to market need and auDA’s current Names Policy Panel review, more specifically discussing whether .au should be opened up to direct registrations at the second level, is one way in which Australians can support innovation in the market and continue to look at .au as the premier domain name option in Australia. I urge readers, if they have not done so already, to learn more about the Names Panel and get involved – https://www.auda.org.au/policies/panels-and-committees/2015-names-policy-panel/

You can access Edition 4 of Behind the Dot, as well as all previous editions on the AusRegistry Research page. We encourage your feedback, and thank you for reading and supporting the .au domain namespace.