Proposed new second-level domains under '.au'

auDA, the Australian domain name registry, is seeking proposals for the creation of additional second-level domains under the '.au' extension.
It is not possible to register directly under '.au'. Many registries allow registrations at the first level (ie, directly under the country-code top-level domain) or have recently relaxed their rules to allow this (eg, Mexico - for further details please see "Registration of domain names under '.mx' reopened"). However, this is not the case for auDA, which allows registration only at the second level - with notoriously strict eligibility requirements. Various second-level domains currently exist in the '.au' domain name space (eg, '', '' and ''), each with their own set of requirements. 
Proposals for new second-level domains will need to meet the following criteria:
  • The second-level domain must not be seen to serve mainly as a means of enhancing the legitimacy or authority of a single organization or individual;
  • Proposals will not be accepted if the applicant, or any individual or company associated with the applicant, has proprietary rights in the corresponding term; and
  • The public will be consulted and given adequate opportunity to express its views on the proposal.
Any new second-level domains will be run by auDA in a non-commercial manner. There will be no fee payable for proposals and there will be no proprietary rights granted to those whose proposals are eventually accepted. Therefore, possible proposals could include '' or ''.
auDA is also seeking proposals for the reactivation of the existing second-level domains '' and '', which are not currently active. Anyone with an interest in the Australian domain name industry who wishes to be part of the Second-Level Domain Advisory Panel may apply to be a member. Once nominated, the panel will assess any second-level domains proposals against certain criteria.
The panel will have the following tasks:
  • evaluating proposals for new '.au' second-level domains;
  • considering proposals for the reactivation of '' and ''; and
  • providing recommendations to the auDA Board, following a public consultation process.
The closing date for new second-level domains proposals, including those in relation to '' and '', along with nominations for the panel, was November 30 2009.
The panel is expected to start deliberating on the submitted proposals in early 2010. Importantly, it will be entitled to decide that none of the second-level domains proposals meets the necessary requirements.
David Taylor and Jane Seager, Lovells, Paris

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