Background

Domain names

A domain name is simply an address on the Internet.

The most common use is a web address, where the domain name follows the ‘www’ part of the address (e.g. www.cgdn.org.au).

Internet addresses ending in .au are registered in Australia as part of the .au domain space. Within the .au domain space there are several second level domains, such as .com, .net and .org. These second level domains are used to differentiate between different types of enterprise (e.g. .com is for commercial entities, .org is for charities and not-for-profit organisations.  For more information, visit: www.auda.org.au

History of CGDNs

auDA has created eight new .au second level domains (2LDs), one for each Australian state and territory:

  • act.au

  • nsw.au

  • nt.au

  • qld.au

  • sa.au

  • tas.au

  • vic.au

  • wa.au

The One City One Site (OCOS) working party was formed in 2000 and proposed the release of new geographical 2LDs as a fair and equitable domain name system for reservation, and restricted use, that protects and promotes the geographical area and its community.

OCOS carried out a pilot study in three localities – Ballarat, Bathurst and Wollongong – and the auDA board subsequently approved the release of the geographic domain names for community website use.

Using CGDNs

Australian geographic names are reserved for use by the relevant local community. Names are available for all addressable localities such as towns, cities or suburbs (see Policy 1).

To be eligible to license a community geographic domain name (CGDN), the applicant must be a legally registered not-for-profit entity or a special committe of local council and representative of the local community (see Policy 2).

All CGDNs will be registered as third level domains (3LDs) using the locality name (for example: ballarat.vic.au, bathurst.nsw.au, wollongong.nsw.au).

These names can only be used for community websites that reflect community interests such as local business, tourism, historical information, culture, special interest groups, events and news (see Policy 3).

What is a Community Website?

A community website is a single entry point or gateway that provides information specific to that location.

Community websites can provide easy access to a host of information relating to your local city, town, suburb or area, for example:

  • local businesses

  • sporting clubs

  • community and other common interest groups

  • tourism information

  • events calendar

  • up-to-the minute news (e.g. sports results).

Community websites can remove geographic and social barriers, allowing a community to build connections, exchange ideas, collaborate on projects and bring economic benefits through local business. It can also reach people outside the community, encouraging visitors or providing information to people interested in relocating.

As each community is different, so is each community website. As a guide however, you might include things such as a community events calendar, a local business directory, a community services directory and community feedback facility, plus tourism and historical information relating to your area.

What are the Benefits of a Community Website?
It puts your community on the map!

A community website is a fantastic communications tool to help connect people in the locality with similar interests and outlooks. It can help people find businesses to shop locally and support the local economy, or provide people with a history of the place where they live.

Because it is run by the community, the website will reflect the needs, activities and issues of the broader community, rather than sectional interests.

The website can be used to establish ties within the community. Being connected helps build understanding and shared values, which in turn helps build a strong, sustainable community and increases the general wellbeing of community members.

A listing of all local businesses will inform people of the products and services that are available locally, contributing to the economic stability of the community. It can also be used to advertise job vacancies.

Once the community website has been established, an online forum can be introduced to enable people to post and read comments on a particular topic. This not only informs people (including local councils, media and members of the public) of the key issues and events in the community, it also encourages citizens to actively participate by giving them a voice on the internet.

The website can also promote your community to people outside the local area who may want to visit or are thinking of relocating. The website can be a vehicle to present your community’s interests, activities and aspirations.

For information on outcomes and initiatives from existing CGDN websites see the following page on our website:  www.cgdn.org.au/outcomes

Why Use a Community Geographic Domain Name?

By using a community geographic domain name (CGDN), anyone looking for local information will be able to find your website instantly. The CGDN is simply your locality name, your state/territory and the Australian country code (for example: ballarat.vic.au, townsville.qld.au).

A CGDN provides users with the easiest way to find specific locality-based information without resorting to a search engine, which usually lists the most visited but not necessarily the most relevant sites.

In addition, the checks and balances that regulate the use of CGDNs mean that users can be certain they are accessing a true community website. The policy prevents individuals or single organisations from establishing a CGDN website for their own gain or simply to provide a gateway to another site.