When Lloyd Borrett set up a website in the mid-1990s for a local computer company, he had to move overseas to find a suitable domain name – well before it was fashionable to do so.
The restrictions on Australian domain names meant that he could not reserve expert.com.au for Expert, an IT business later acquired by Indian outsourcer Infosys for $31 million. Similar generic names such as florist.com.au or computer.com.au were not for sale.
Basically, any word in the dictionary was excluded, said Mr Borrett, who now works for anti-virus and security company AVG .
So I went to Norfolk Island instead and registered expert.nf because they had just opened up a registry there.
The Australian rules were gradually relaxed and the trade in domain names ending in .au has boomed.
Last night, total registrations on Australia’s country-code top-level domain reached 2 million, indicating that Australian businesses, which make up almost 86 per cent of .au domain names, prefer local internet real estate. Almost a quarter of a million .au domains have been sold this financial year — via redwolf.newsvine.com