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auDA is Creating Yet Another Mess

20190402_auda AUDA is creating yet another mess....

I just had a read of the changes that the Australian governing authority (AUDA) is looking to introduce to the .AU namespace. I must admit that I found myself quite perplexed that they have no idea what is going on in the domain space.

Escrow.com

The single biggest problem with AUDA is they are the police, judge, jury and executioner of the .AU namespace. What do I mean by this?

AUDA actively trawls the .AU namespace looking for domains that may fall foul of one of their policies. When they find one, they demand the registrant justify why they should keep the domain and if AUDA is not satisfied with the response they turn the domain off.

Let me share with you my experience with this process. A number of years ago I used to own around 2,000 .AU domains, I dropped the lot of them and would now encourage anyone that owns a .au domain to do the same.

Even though I owned generic domains (ie. no TM violations) AUDA in their infinite wisdom decided to take a domain off me because they had researched the fact that a New Zealand company with a similar name to my domain may want to come to Australia. Completely ridiculous.

The fact that the New Zealand company didn’t exist prior to me registering the domain is beside the point. After complaining (and the domain turned off) AUDA then threatened to investigate each and every one of my .AU domains by using Google (a dynamic search engine) as the arbitrator of whether I could keep my domains. Like I said, I dropped the lot and invested my money in other namespaces where I had security over my assets.

I have no idea why AUDA can't do what the rest of the world does by managing a complaints process. This would separate the policing and judgement roles.

Now AUDA is going through a policy review that is the laughing stock of the world. Let me cite a number of examples.

Domain warehousing (ie. investing in domains for sale purposes) will be effectively banned. To illustrate just how stupid some of the policy changes are, it sates (remember this will effectively become law) registrants are not able to build “computer generated webpages”….. For those individuals at AUDA that aren’t aware, the entire Internet is run on computers and ALL webpages are generated on computers. Since this is the case, the policy in place means that ALL domains should be deleted. Good luck!

Domain monetisation (ie. investing in domains to monetise the traffic) will also be banned. Under the proposed policy, not only is Pay per Click (PPC) singled out but the entire affiliate industry. As an example, my daughter built a website that sold via affiliates a host of fashion paraphernalia….sorry girl, that site is going to be banned.

A part of the policy also says that a domain name with directory listings will be banned…..so much for google.com.au (or maybe AUDA will be selective). When I searched for “knitting” on Google how is the page being displayed related to the domain name google.com.au?

By the way, I just loved the lack of understanding on how PPC works. In the past PPC links provided by Google used to be context sensitive but now they are psychographically targeted. This means that in the past the content used to relate to the domain but now it relates to the user looking at the domain.

Under the AUDA policy they are enforcing that PPC links must relate to the domain……not the person. The policy suggests that AUDA is going to use a “reasonableness test” to ensure this is the case……I think that the AUDA police will discover the magic of psychographic targeting. Maybe this is why porn is being displayed on some of the pages for domains they are investigating.....

Don’t worry everyone, there is a grandfathering clause……but it only lasts until the end of the current registration period. The fact that you may have registered an AU domain under the former rules for the past 10 years is irrelevant. Remember my comments earlier about security over assets? It’s a joke.

So I’m at ICANN and bump into the AUDA team of a number of directors and the CEO. I ask about wildcarding the AU namespace to help promote Australia and the com.au brand. The CEO of AUDA states emphatically that .AU is already wildcarded (none of the others disagreed BTW)…..at which point I pull out my phone and proved that it isn’t.

It occurs to me that these same people are making the insane policies (there’s a lot more stupidity btw) and congratulate themselves at being just sooooo clever.

Let me give AUDA a heads up….. Just a few years ago the new gTLDs have come onto the scene and begun chomping into the market share of most notably the ccTLDs. I’m not sure if AUDA is aware but just over half the new gTLDs are being monetised in some fashion or another. In fact, it’s estimated that around 40% of all domains in the world are purchased for investment reasons.

Given this is the case, AUDA, you need to understand that like the music industry of the past, you are effectively waring against your customers. Like me, your customers will just move their business elsewhere and the AU namespace will be even more of a backwater than it already is.

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Comments

Guest - Roberto on 04 April 2019
Perplexing

Hey Mikey, thanks for this post. The AUDA anti-domain investor bias is very concerning. Australia has always had a disproportionally strong domain aftermarket presence compared with the size of the domestic market. Australian companies like Fabulous/Dark Blue Sea, Above.com, ParkLogic, and Melbourne IT were involved with premium domains from early days. Very surprising that the local registry would be so hostile towards an industry that Australians helped create. Are they eating their own young? What gives?

Hey Mikey, thanks for this post. The AUDA anti-domain investor bias is very concerning. Australia has always had a disproportionally strong domain aftermarket presence compared with the size of the domestic market. Australian companies like Fabulous/Dark Blue Sea, Above.com, ParkLogic, and Melbourne IT were involved with premium domains from early days. Very surprising that the local registry would be so hostile towards an industry that Australians helped create. Are they eating their own young? What gives?
mgilmour on 05 April 2019

I'm not sure why the registry feels the need to be policing the TLD....and in such an arbitrary manner. There is a great amount of innovation downunder but all of our technology is focused on the international market and not in our back door.....this is really sad. Maybe it's time to move to the USA?

I'm not sure why the registry feels the need to be policing the TLD....and in such an arbitrary manner. There is a great amount of innovation downunder but all of our technology is focused on the international market and not in our back door.....this is really sad. Maybe it's time to move to the USA?
Wolftalker on 07 April 2019
Word

Right on Michael. Good piece

Right on Michael. Good piece :)
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