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Australian domain registrations reveal insights into economic activity
Wed, 6th Dec 2023

New research uncovers an innovative way to monitor economic activity in Australia through a real-time system locating global .au domain name registrations. Sponsored by auDA and conducted by the League of Scholars, together with researchers from CSIRO's Data61 and the University of Technology Sydney, the study was published in the 'Atlas of Australia Online 2023' report.

The report utilises .au registry data in conjunction with publicly accessible geographic, economic, and technical data to paint a picture of Australia's digital landscape. A unique method was formulated to organise, rank, and group .au domain names. Machine learning is then applied to identify areas of high business concentration and zones of technological creativity in the Australian tech landscape.

A key finding of the study revealed that domain name registration is a leading indicator of broader innovation activity, which can be tracked almost in real-time. Australian domain names also exhibit significant global impact, demonstrating higher network centrality than much of Western Europe and most of the OECD nations.

It was also found that Australian Digital Business Intensity, which signifies the concentration of domain names as a proportion of businesses, does not depend on population density.

Additionally, Digital Business Intensity can be utilised to assess the effectiveness of digital policies at a local level. Clustering analysis of the .au100K, Australia's most significant domain names and websites, revealed eleven Technology Tribes, offering insights into the technological composition of the Australian internet, including dominant technologies and technology providers.

Rosemary Sinclair AM, CEO of auDA, emphasised that the Atlas of Australia Online research validates the superior global impact and influence of the .au Top Level Domain compared to others. She hopes that the insights derived from this report will be valuable for policymakers, researchers, and individuals interested in understanding the technology landscape. The goal is to support innovation, not only within Australia but also on an international scale.

Rosemary Sinclair AM stated, "The Atlas of Australia Online research confirms that .au outperforms other top-level-domains in terms of global impact and influence."

"We hope the findings from this report aid policymakers, future researchers and others looking to distil the technology landscape and support innovation, both in Australian and overseas."

Professor Paul McCarthy, the lead research partner, stated, "Our novel approach to classify and rank the most significant Australian domain names using machine learning provides unique and highly quantifiable insights into Australia online." He believes that these findings offer a new perspective on the digital landscape, which may inform future policy and research.

.au Domain Administration Limited (auDA) is the trusted administrator of the .au domain name system (DNS), which is Australian critical infrastructure, supporting more than four million .au domain names.

auDA is a not-for-profit, endorsed by the Australian Government to innovate and invest in the Australian internet ecosystem to improve the utility of the .au domain for all Australians. Through its steady stewardship of the .au domain and support of multi-stakeholder internet governance, auDA strives to ensure the internet remains open, free, secure and global.