The .au domain name space has generated big business in Australia and will continue to do so, according to a recently report by Deloitte.
Commissioned by AusRegistry together with the au Domain Administration (auDA), the Economic and Statistical Analysis of the .au Domain Range report is the first of its kind to assesses the true extent of the .au domain's influence on the Australian economy.
The key finding from the report was that the .au domain name space contributed $475 million to the Australian economy in 2011.More than 4300 full-time jobs were connected to it.
$269 million of that, or 57 per cent, was connected to registration and hosting of .au domains, with services such as web design and infrastructure provision also contributing.
"The Internet has clearly become the starting point for consumer research and purchasing decisions," Deloitte Access economics director, Ric Simes, said.
"The contribution to the Australian economy of the industry administering .au is significant, particularly in terms of employment, and this will continue to grow with the ongoing shift to e-commerce."
Despite the attraction of the cheaper and more accessible .com domain, the .au domain has experienced exponential growth in the number of registrations over the last decade, reaching a total of 2.3 million in 2011 for a 600 per cent increase from 2002.
".au is a vibrant marketplace, with over 30 registrars competing on price and services," auDA CEO, Chris Disspain, said.
With almost 60,000 new .au domains being registered every month, up from a mere 6552 in December 2002, AusRegistry CEO, Adrian Kinderis, sees this as proof of Australian business owners placing value in the .au domain name.
"We are continually developing the .au namespace to increase its profile, promote its benefits and drive greater registration volumes," Kinderis said.
"These actions have created a strong appetite within the Australian business community, resulting in .au evolving into the domain name of choice for Australian business."
The report found that the .au name space is a labour-intensive industry, with 58 per cent of the $475 million contributed to the economy being attributed to employees.
Looking towards the future, the report forecasts that future growth in .au registrations will be driven by the increasing Australian-centric online retail activity.
In addition to discovering that businesses and consumers are already very "patriotic" in their online behaviour by showing preference for Australian content, the report expects the NBN and the rapid growth of e-commerce and m-commerce to further contribute to this growth.
The full report from Deloitte is available at: www.auda.org.au