Re: [DNS] Nomination as auDA Director

Re: [DNS] Nomination as auDA Director

From: Don Cameron <donc§mudgeeab.com.au>
Date: Sat, 17 Nov 2001 13:03:20 +1100
Thank you Bruce.

I do intend to continue contributing to this forum (a groan from the crowd?
:) because I likewise believe that any organisation tasked with implementing
national policy should be receptive to views crossing a range of market
demographics - and whilst I acknowledge the expertise of many list
contributors, this forum does not seem particularly well balanced between
the 'practitioners', and those whom I would consider to be 'end users',
'customers', or 'recipients' (pick your favourite descriptor).

auDA continues to focus on the micro - understandable in a new business
attempting to build structures, credibility and sustainability. However the
macro elements of Australian Informatics remains high on the national
agenda, and I do not think we should allow this to be overshadowed by
squabbles over the somewhat minor issue of administering the .au namespace.

So moving away from the mechanics - As a group of interested persons, what
is the long-term vision for .au? - What are the potential threats? (did the
formation of auDA include that most basic of business tasks - a SWAT
analysis?). Over the past few weeks I have conducted several ICDL training
sessions (the 'International Computer Drivers Licence' for those unfamiliar
with the acronym), and as ever and always, when we come to the module on the
Internet, I am met with a room full of blank faces when participants are
asked the question: "If you have a web site, should the address end in .com
or .com.au?". Most people don't understand the difference, yet when it is
explained, greater than 50% will always choose .com over .com.au, in the
belief that the Internet is predominantly global in nature, and a .com will
attract a wider level of visitation - and who can argue against them when we
have corporations such as Telstra actively promoting the use of .com for
Australian businesses? (bigpond.com)

We are devoting so much effort to the nuts and bolts of .au administration,
that our limited focus has resulted in the very reasons for having an
Australian namespace being forgotten. We are not marketing the benefits of
.au. We are actively creating barriers to entry, through placing new charges
on .org and .asn, and through the introduction of additional restrictions on
the use of business names. We are marginalizing the very product that most
of the companies here rely on for their existence! (I'm not a marketing
guru, but I can imagine more than a few here would be shaking their heads at
all of this).

So where are we heading? - I am right in the middle of coordinating the
installation of a fifteen workstation LAN for our local Youth Crisis Centre.
The purpose of this is to help our disadvantaged kids by providing
instruction and access to Internet-based counselling services (as well as
for general recreational purposes). Yesterday I attended a meeting to
discuss new training curriculum for U3A participants (the University of the
Third Age - a program in part designed to introduce technology to our aged
citizens. This is taking-off right across Australia, and I have been
fortunate in obtaining a wealth of training material for their use). In a
few weeks I'm attending a State conference to discuss the progress of
constructing an additional 50 Community Telecentre's throughout NSW, and the
various ways by which we can use these to improve rural Internet acceptance
and literacy. Next year I will (hopefully) be presenting at Monash
University on the take-up and cultural aspects of using Linux as a means of
raising IT awareness and skills.

There is an enormous amount happening... and the matter of .au
administration is not high on the agenda... however having said this,
decisions made by auDA and supportive organisations does have the potential
to impact on each and every one of these initiatives. In a very real sense,
we are placing our future in your hands. Please don't lose the vision in the
haste to achieve commercialisation and cost recovery. There are far more
important aspects for Australia in all of this, and more is at stake than
just the viability of one NFP organisation (auDA).

Regards, Don

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Received on Sat Nov 17 2001 - 01:09:34 UTC

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