14 June 2001

Level 35
360 Elizabeth Street, Melbourne

Present: Alan Chalmers, Steve Fielding, Rowan Groves, Keith Inman, Ron Ipsen, Jo Lim, Daniel Rechtman, Josh Rowe, Cathy Thawley, Derek Whitehead

Teleconference: Philip Argy, Mark Davidson, Ian Johnston, Cheryl Langdon-Orr, Christine Page-Hanify, Cliff Reardon, Galen Townson

Apologies: Evan Arthur, Odette Gourley, Tony Hill


  1. DW and JL to draft minutes from meeting.
  2. DW and JL to draft report and circulate it to the Panel via the closed list.
  3. Panel to finalise report and provide to auDA Board.


New 2LDs
1. The Chair and secretariat will draft the report to the auDA Board, and circulate to the Panel for further discussion/revision via the closed list.

2. The report will be provided to the auDA Board on 30 June 2001.


2 New 2LDs – public discussion paper

Outcome of public consultation
The Panel received and considered 16 submissions (including 6 that were received after the closing date). The Panel noted that the discussion paper did not generate a large degree of public interest, which is significant in itself.

The Panel discussed issues raised in submissions under each section of the paper:

1. Criteria. The Panel noted comments that commercial viability is an important evaluation criteria for new 2LDs; however, the Panel agreed that commercial considerations will not necessarily be applicable to all types of domain space. Rather, the Panel concluded that sustainability is a key criterion – this encompasses notions of community support and DNS integrity, as well as commercial viability.

The Panel agreed that the 10 criteria for a good DNS environment, and the 4 criteria for new 2LDs, should be more clearly distinguished and logically presented in its report to the auDA Board.

2. Existing 2LDs. The Panel agreed that existing 2LDs should be evaluated according to the same criteria as new 2LDs. The Panel focused its discussion on the existing 2LDs that are not popular at present – conf.au, id.au and info.au. The Panel agreed that conf.au and info.au are potentially useful domain spaces that should be separately reviewed by auDA in order to determine their future role in the Australian DNS. The Panel considered that restructuring the id.au 2LD by allowing registrations at the 3LD would address apparent demand for a user-friendly personal domain space. This is a priority issue, given that Australian registrants will be able to use the new .name TLD in the near future.

3. New 2LDs. The Panel acknowledged comments that a need for new 2LDs had not been demonstrated. However, the Panel agreed that there is scope for new 2LDs in the .au domain, albeit a fairly limited one at present. The Panel identified the issue of geographic 2LDs as a priority matter, as indicated by the 2 submissions containing quite detailed proposals, one of which has been endorsed at state government level. The Panel cautioned that while this is a priority area, it must be implemented carefully and should not be rushed. In particular, it is critical that new geographic 2LDs are community-focused, not government-focused.

The Panel discussed comments on the remaining new 2LDs put forward in the paper, and concluded that none are priority issues, however they are worth exploring in future. The following points were noted:

  • informal associations might be included within a revised definition of asn.au
  • an ‘open slather’ 2LD is contrary to the purpose-driven nature of the 2LD hierarchy (the Panel noted that it had previously agreed that the eligibility criteria, including the need for proper identification of applicants, would be applicable to an open slather 2LD)
  • the gateways concept is complex and would need to be tested with an initial ‘proof of concept’ (it is possible the geographic 2LDs would provide this experience)
  • there is no case for a new open commercial 2LD at present
  • ongoing international work on technical standards for mapping telephone numbers into the DNS precludes the creation of a telephones 2LD at present
  • an indigenous 2LD would require an initiative from indigenous groups.

4. New TLDs. Submissions indicated that there is not much support for the notion that the .au domain should completely reflect the gTLD space, however consideration of alignment of new 2LDs with new TLDs would be appropriate. The Panel concluded that there is no need to give priority to the new TLDs in the consideration of new 2LDs. However, auDA should consult with relevant groups (eg. the arts sector regarding .museum) in order to assess user demand.

5. Process. Not many people commented on this part of the paper. The Panel noted that its proposed process does not provide scope for entrepreneurial proposals (ie. where the successful proponent receives rights in the registry), except for proposals for new closed 2LDs. There is a risk that this approach might deter responses, as there is no guaranteed return on investment for proponents. The Panel agreed that development costs and risk should be borne by the industry, not auDA. Therefore, the Panel agreed that the process should be multi-phased, starting with preliminary, non-binding proposals for new 2LDs, followed by a tender process requiring more detailed responses and demonstration of community support and sustainability.

The Panel noted comments that the process for selecting new 2LDs must be transparent and open, and include adequate consultation with all relevant stakeholders. The Panel also noted that the process may need to be invoked from time to time, in response to changes in the local and global Internet environment.

Panel recommendations
The Panel agreed to put forward the following recommendations in its report to the auDA Board:

  • The id.au 2LD should be restructured to allow registrations at the 3LD, in response to perceived demand for a more attractive and user-friendly personal domain space.
  • The conf.au and info.au 2LDs should be reviewed to determine their future role within the .au domain.
  • The creation of new geographic 2LDs is as a priority matter. It is critical that a geographic naming system is implemented in a way that is community-focused, not government-focused.
  • The process for selecting new 2LDs should be multi-phased, in order to ensure that proposals for new 2LDs demonstrate genuine community support and sustainability.
  • The new ICANN TLDs should not be accorded priority in the process for selecting new 2LDs.

Last Updated: 07/03/2006 09:19