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Country Snapshot: Australia

Marc Jarrett
For a country that has one of the world's most tolerant attitudes to gambling, you might be forgiven for thinking that Australia's Government would adopt a similarly liberal attitude when it comes to online adult.

On the contrary: In fact, quite the opposite would appear to be the case.

In an effort to woo Christian voters, Australian Prime Minister John Howard recently announced the NetAlert program which, amongst other things, included the distribution to families of filtering software that cost AUS$84m to develop.

Ironically, but perhaps inevitably, it was cracked within minutes of release by a teenager it was designed to protect.

"For 84 million dollars, I would have expected a pretty unbreakable filter," said 16-year-old Melbourne teenager Tom Wood. "I tried a few things, it took about half an hour and [it] was completely useless," he explained.

Australia is also the only country where we are obliged to disclose the URL or the website visited – so that this can be disclosed on the surfer's telephone bill at the end of each month.

But given that our processing URL (Ranked 3,397 by Alexa) is content neutral, we occasionally receive enquiries from curious girlfriends or wives, wanting to know what websites their men folk have been visiting. It never ceases to amaze me how popular www.downloadtoprint.com is with Australian fellas!

Despite the challenges, Australia – with 21m inhabitants and high levels of both Internet and credit card penetration – remains one of our most profitable markets. As with other developed counties, 'Ozzies' seem to like the anonymity and convenience of 'buy now, pay later' phone billing when paying for content on the web.

Thanks to the shared use of the English language and nothing lost in translation, 'down under' remains an attractive market for adult webmasters.

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