The EU Commission’s DESI index shows that Serbia, a non-EU country, significantly topped the bottom four EU countries in 2018 in some relevant aspects of digital. This included parameters such as integration of digital technology by business and digital public services (e-governance). Active internet users and digital services consumers might readily accept that the country is well ahead in digitalization, however, it is still significantly below the EU average. Furthermore, market research ordered by RNIDS showed that less than two years ago 46% of Serbian businesses were not presented online. Not in any form. These companies had no website, did not manage social media pages, and many were even unmentioned in online business repositories like Yellow Pages. Most “offline” businesses are micro and small ones, those which can benefit the most from an online presence.
RNIDS (the Serbian National Internet Domain Registry) believes in the power of the internet and its essential importance for boosting the growth of small businesses and in providing a helping hand to those taking baby steps towards increased market penetration using the assets that the internet provides. But the Registry also stands for safe, appropriate and legal use of the internet and reaches out in order to offer its know-how to as many internet users as possible.
But how to advocate a safe, legal and appropriate online business approach to those who are offline, who are trying to grow their businesses offline, to those who are sceptical or unaware of the advantages the internet brings? By getting offline ourselves – by getting to the people in order to share and to educate.
The tenth DIDS, Serbian Internet Domains Day, our major event and the biggest free internet conference in Serbia, took place in March and this year’s topic was digital transformation. Its processes and perspective were deliberated on by three panel participants, with an emphasis on the digital services provided by the government and on the changes made and expected to be made in the business world by those processes. The cultural and social aspect was not left out of the discussion and the goal of covering all those aspects of living that are changing under the wheel of digital transformation was fully met.
Throughout the spring months RNIDS continued its education series “The buyer is just a click away!”, with two workshops organised in Serbian cities. Choose a proper domain, choose an appropriate domain name, establish an online presence for your business – build your digital home effectively and securely. Protect your business and protect your domain name, be mindful of the security of yourself and your clients online, as trust is one of today’s most valuable assets. Take advantage of the available tools, let social media and online advertising assist you, use them wisely to reach new buyers even with a more modest digital budget. Those were the topics that aimed to encourage business owners to devote more thought to their future online activities or to the enhancement of their current ones.
RNIDS experts also spoke at numerous other similar workshops, panels and conferences organised by Serbian institutions, societies, and major companies in order to provide to the growing internet community in Serbia the most valuable thing one can give – expertise and knowledge.
Before one’s career kicks off one should generate as much knowledge one can – especially in less common subject matters. That is what students of the Faculties of Law at two Serbian universities had an opportunity to do by attending two round tables dedicated to the Serbian domain name system, trademarks and domain arbitration processes in Serbia. RNIDS participated in the organisation of two important legal events. In late March The Law and the Internet conference offered legal professionals an opportunity to get expert insights into topics related to GDPR and its influence on the domain industry, domain name resolution disputes, the question of copyright on the internet and the new personal data protection law to be enacted in Serbia.
The grand finale of these legal events came in early June when Dr Cedric Manara, Google’s copyright director, spoke at the Internet Dialogue, an event co-organised with the Faculty of Law of the University of Belgrade. The challenges faced by copyright online was in focus and Dr Manara spoke of the multitude of forms of content, platforms for content placement and ways internet users can access the digital copyright marketplace. Up to 99% of creative content is generated by ordinary users, and the Creative Commons licence changes the game, with various industries now competing online with individuals with a smartphone. He discussed the Directive on Copyright in the Digital Single Market issued by the EU in April and shared Google’s experience with similar legislation in Germany.
All of these activities yielded positive results, with relevant feedback from event attendees – submitted online, of course.