.au on the nose ?

29 06 2009

We were recently riding a tram in Melbourne when we noticed a Tourism Australia campaign entitled No Leave No Life.

Being domain lawyers, the first thing that stood out to us was the very prominent use of the of the domain name noleavenolife.com. This got us thinking, why don’ t Tourism Australia, or other many Australian businesses use the a .au domain name. One simple explanation is that one wasn’t available, but we suspect the issue is a little deeper than first thought. In our view it is one of publicity and awareness, or a lack of it.

We regularly see promotions and campaigns which use a GTLD such as .com, but what is peculiar about this new Tourism Australia campaign is that it is targeted at an internal audience (yes Australian employees and employers), yet a .com is used. Is this because of a lack of awareness ? We think that this may be the answer in many situations (although not all). The .au space does not receive enough promotion. This is more evident in light of the impending launch of new GTLD’s discussed at ICANN’s meeting in Sydney last week, where we attended with some fanfare the ‘launch for a bid’ for the .food GTLD by celebrity chef Wolfgang Puch.

For Domainers one of the most telling signs of a lack of demand in the .au domain space, are the relatively low sale prices for what would otherwise be premium domains in most other GTLDs. One only has to look at www.netfleet.com.au to see what the market is valuing names at.

We don’t recall any recent campaigns to promote the .au name space, yet that is what is needed. For example .Asia has been heavily promoted in movies and music, maybe this is what the .au space needs.

Although, the public expect that auDA has a responsibility promote the .au space, auDA’s constitution does not make specific reference to the marketing and promotion of the .au domain space. To auDA’s credit they have in the past advertised in the press and given away base ball caps, something more needs to be done so that Australian domain owners can get the full benefit of their domain space. Maybe they could start by writing to Tourism Australia.

PS. auDA may want to check out the .nz Domain Commission, whose most recent “.nz is our home” campaign is doing precisely what the .au space needs a large scale awareness program!

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