/ nic-Report - 19.05.2016 10:37
.at-report 1/2016 - Short domains
“One, two or three – the choice is yours: you have three blanks to choose from!” There’s hardly an Austrian alive that can’t remember the hit TV show with Michael Schanze. You are probably wondering what that has to do with domains. Particularly as it isn’t even possible to choose between one, two or three, since all .at domains have to have at least three characters – until now, that is!
But like the TV show, that rule is soon to enter the history books: before the year is up, one and two character domains will be available directly under the top level .at domain. This edition of the .at report explains the reasons behind the move and looks at how the launch will play out.
The fact that short domains have not been available until now is primarily due to technical obstacles – which have since been overcome. Over recent years more and more registries have opened up their top level domains for single and double digit names, including .ie and .fr. In the german speaking region .de is the only domain to support domains with fewer than three characters.
The new .at development will bring almost 5,000 short domains onto the market. And that calls for careful planning. One aspect involves assuring that the process is transparent and fair, putting in place the requisite technical framework and ensuring that everyone affected by the move is informed of all the latest developments. In Austria we worked closely with the domain council as we evaluated and prepared for the introduction of one and two character domains. Head of nic.at’s Legal department Barbara Schlossbauer who is also leading the project gives the inside line on the process in an interview on page 2.
The project will go live on 29 August 2016 when brand owners will have the chance to apply for their domain before everyone else. Turn to pages 3 and 4 to find out what form the phased allocation of short domains is set to take, what brand owners need to bear in mind and what the new domains cost.
We also like to take a look at developments slightly further afield in the .at report and this edition is no different: on pages 5 and 6 we unveil three examples of best practice at European TLDs which recently opened the door to short domains. We talked to the project managers at AFNIC, DENIC and IEDR about how they organised the roll out and what surprises it had in store for them.
And last but not least it is also our job to make sure that the general public knows all about the upcoming policy change, in addition to brand owners. This is why we aren’t just cooperating with representatives of special interest groups, but are flanking the launch of the new short domains with a comprehensive info campaign. Various examples of high-profile brands and well known abbreviations are covered by this .at report – shorter is better, don’t you think?
We can’t wait for the successful launch phase ahead and are looking forward to making the Austrian domain name landscape even more diverse with your help!