Generic domain names debut

Generic domain names, such as computers.com.au, are for the first time, available to Australian businesses.

As part of its continuing changes to the rules governing Australia's .au Internet domain space, the. au Domain Authority (auDA), has opened the auction process for domain names classified as 'generic' and previously unavailable to Australian businesses.

A total of 3,006 domain names are listed for the online auction, which ends on January 31.

Australia's domain name industry regulator, auDA took up the challenge of introducing new policies to make the administrative infrastructure of the .au space more competitive earlier this year. To avoid a 'landrush', auDA will assess the eligibility of applicants based on the new com.au policy.

As part of the new policy, trademarks are deemed permissible grounds for obtaining a generic name, even if a company's business name does not match.

AuDA CEO, Chris Disspain, said, "The .au domain is a public resource that auDA is managing in the interests of all Australians. A market-based allocation system is the best option to prevent a 'landrush' and ensure a fair and equitable outcome," said Disspain.

"AuDA is concerned to give all Australian businesses, especially small businesses, an equal opportunity to secure these attractive domain names. The strict eligibility criteria will minimise the risk of large multinationals and domain name speculators buying up all the good names."

Online auction house Stuff.com.au, which is ironically a generic name, is contracted to manage the application and auction process. A list of available names can be found at http://www.stuff.com.au/auda.asp. Applicants must apply for the name of their choice through the website.

Generic names which receive only one bid by the deadline could be registered for $110 for a two-year period.

Any names that are not auctioned as part of this process will become available for registration on a "first come, first served" basis when the new policy is introduced.

Successful applicants will not be able to register and use the domain name until the new policy is introduced during the first half of 2002.

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