How Australia Occupies 1% of Global Domains with Just 0.3% of World Population

Australia, despite its modest population constituting only 0.3% of the world, has made a remarkable impact on the global digital landscape. The recently unveiled Atlas of Australia Online 2023 sheds light on the nation’s significant presence in the online domain, showcasing the profound connection between domain registrations and broader economic innovation.

Domain Names: More Than Just Web Addresses

When we think of domain names, we often associate them with website addresses. The Atlas report reveals that registering a domain name is not just about establishing an online presence; it’s a strategic move synonymous with initiating a business.

The study, conducted in collaboration with CSIRO’s Data61 and the University of Technology Sydney, found that businesses in Australia tend to register a domain name concurrently with their official business registration.

What’s fascinating is the temporal sequence in which businesses secure trademarks and patents. According to Professor Paul McCarthy, lead research partner, there’s a noticeable lag between registering a trademark and subsequently filing for a patent. This insight suggests that domain name registration acts as the initial step in a broader economic cycle, serving as a leading indicator with the potential for various economic predictions.

Australia’s Digital Impact on a Global Scale

Australia’s influence on the global digital stage is disproportionately high, considering its population. With only 0.3% of the world’s inhabitants, the nation contributes 1.7% to the global economy. This impact is mirrored in the online landscape, where the .au domain holds its ground, encompassing around 1% of the world’s domain names.

What makes this even more noteworthy is Australia’s remarkable network centrality, ranking sixth globally in harmonic centrality. In simpler terms, this means that Australia’s web, particularly the .au domain, is not just extensive but is also trusted globally. Professor McCarthy emphasizes that the .au domain is central to the global web, indicating its significance as a reliable source for information and commerce.

Digital Business Intensity: Breaking Population Correlation

While domain name registrations correlate with population density, Digital Business Intensity tells a different story. The research reveals that Digital Business Intensity, representing the concentration of domain names relative to businesses, is not directly dependent on population. For instance, while Sydney may have the highest number of registered businesses, Brisbane leads in Digital Business Intensity.

Moreover, certain regions, like Karratha and Torquay, defy population norms by exhibiting high levels of digital adoption. These outliers suggest that unique circumstances, such as tourism or industry-specific activities like mining, can encourage heightened digital activity in unexpected places. The study also highlights the correlation between higher Digital Business Intensity and socio-economic advantages, education, and occupation levels, providing valuable insights into the digital disparities across Australia.

Digital Business Intensity: A Gauge for Policy Success

Digital Business Intensity isn’t just a metric; it’s a tool for policymakers. By analyzing the concentration of domain names in relation to businesses, governments can gauge the success of their digital policies.

The report suggests that higher Digital Business Intensity can be a driving force for innovation and entrepreneurship, prompting policymakers to invest in initiatives that bridge the digital divide.

Rosemary Sinclair, CEO of auDA, underscores the importance of internet connectivity, digital policies supporting innovation, entrepreneurship, and the role of domain names in achieving economic and social outcomes. These key findings encourage a strategic approach to policymaking, fostering an environment that supports growth through technological innovation.

Australia’s Tech Landscape: Unveiling 11 Technology Tribes

Delving deeper into the Australian internet, the study identifies eleven distinct ‘Technology Tribes’ among the .au100K, representing significant domain names and websites. This clustering analysis provides insights into the technological composition of the Australian online sphere, showcasing dominant technologies and usage patterns.

The .au100K collectively employs a staggering 13,000 different technologies, ranging from enterprise software products to content management systems and payment gateways. Each Technology Tribe boasts its unique set of ‘signature’ technologies, shedding light on how organizations utilize their online presence, especially in areas like e-commerce. Professor McCarthy suggests that this wealth of information creates learning opportunities for smaller organizations, enabling them to adopt successful technology usage patterns.

In conclusion, the “Atlas of Australia Online 2023” presents a compelling narrative of Australia’s prowess in the digital realm. From the strategic significance of domain name registrations to the global impact of the .au domain and the nuanced insights into Digital Business Intensity, the report offers a comprehensive understanding of the nation’s digital landscape. As we navigate the evolving online terrain, these findings provide not only a snapshot of the present but also a roadmap for future digital endeavors in Australia.



  1. Jane Ives Avatar

    Australia’s small population, ranking sixth globally in harmonic centrality, significantly impacts the global digital landscape, with its eleven Technology Tribes employing 13,000 different technologies providing insights for smaller organisations. Despite comprising only 0.3% of the world population, Australia still significantly impacts the global digital landscape with their .au extension and wide awareness of the importance of domain names for innovation and entrepreneurship.

  2. William Bentick Avatar
    William Bentick

    Key Take away of this report is that higher Digital Business Intensity can be a driving force for innovation and entrepreneurship.


    Australia is a relatively open, trade-exposed economy. Thus, as per Professor McCarthy, I too feel that such findings do create learning opportunities for organisations. Small businesses could therefore learn to use and adapt, evolve these technologies by identifying the technology stack of the .au100K and their patterns of technology usage.

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