Should auDA delete all 5032 “.com.au” domain names that contain the term “Bank”?

In July 2019, auDA stated they “accepted a proposal from Australia’s Digital Transformation Agency (DTA)” to reserve more generic .com.au domain names so that Australian businesses couldn’t own them.

Although some of these recommendations make sense, a vast majority that the auDA Board approved for reservation don’t make any sense.

For example, archive.au and library.au were added to the reserved list. These are generic terms and Australian businesses should be free to register them on a “first come, first served” basis.

Yeah yeah, we all know that there are various government and corporate “acts” that state this and that… No one is saying a domain name owner is allowed to contravene a particular “act”… But… if someone wants to own a restaurant called “Library” they should at least have a chance of owning the generic dictionary-termed Library.com.au(.)

Let’s get down to just how ridiculous some of the banned generic terms are in auDA’s Reserved Policy List

In Section 3 of the policy they state:

3.1 The table in Schedule A contains a non-exhaustive list of words and phrases that are restricted under Commonwealth legislation. It is the responsibility of the registrant to ensure they have obtained the requisite consent, where applicable, prior to registering a domain name that contains a word or phrase listed in Schedule A. Where auDA becomes aware that a registrant does not have the requisite consent, auDA reserves the right to revoke the domain name licence and delete the domain name.

Now, make sure you just read the above paragraph very carefully.

From what I understand, they are clearly stating that the Registrant must have obtained consent from the requisite authority, or else, if auDA become aware that they haven’t, they will potentially DELETE THE DOMAIN NAME.

Now, let’s use the current Bank.com.au situation as an example of a highly generic domain name that should never have appeared on the Reserved Policy List.

auDA have obviously recently pointed to their magical Reserved Policy List in the case of Bank.com.au and, as we recently reported, had set the domain into a status so it couldn’t be renewed by the current registrant at the next time of renewal. At that time, they will then place the name into REGISTRY LOCK so no one can ever own it.

To be able to do this with Bank.com.au auDA are pointing to this part of their policy;

“It is the responsibility of the registrant to ensure they have obtained the requisite consent, prior to registering a domain name that contains a word or phrase listed in Schedule A.”

Schedule A” includes the generic term “Bank“.

Technically, I take this to mean that no one can own any domain name in Australian .com.au that contain the word “Bank”.

And if this is the case, here is where auDA’s Reserved Policy List completely falls apart.

There are currently exactly 5032 “.com.au” domain names that have the term “bank” in them.

If I were to publish this list right now, auDA would officially be made “aware that a registrant does not have the requisite consent” to own the domain name.

And…

auDA would potentially be compelled by policy to DELETE ALL 5032 DOMAIN NAMES that contain the term “bank” in them.

If I were on the auDA Board right now, I would be quickly arranging a meeting with Australia’s Digital Transformation Agency (DTA) and going through the logistics of this potential nightmare. And also pointing out to them that Australia is the only country in the world that has been banning single-generic-word domain names like this.

Check this out…

There are 162 “.com.au” domain names alone, that contain the term “southbank”.

If I were to publish this list and make auDA “aware” of this list, would they delete all the “southbank” domain names and lock them up forever?

What about RayWhiteSouthBank.com.au – should this be deleted?

What about PowerBanksAustralia.com.au – should this be deleted?

What about PlantBank.com.au – should this be deleted?

7 thoughts on “Should auDA delete all 5032 “.com.au” domain names that contain the term “Bank”?

  • Avatar
    January 30, 2020 at 6:45 am
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    The problem lies with businesses that are not ADIs using “bank” to promote financial services. ADIs which are regulated by APRA are entitled to use the term “bank” for financial services and they would make up a large portion of your 5032 names. The three examples you provided are not using “bank” for financial services, are not regulated by APRA (or covered by the Banking Act) and therefore would not draw complaint.

    If bank.com.au had only ever been used for a café (rather than for monetisation to financial services sites), it probably never would have drawn a complaint.

    The owner of the domain is in a bit of a catch 22 – if they don’t monetise, they don’t meet the eligibility and allocation criteria, if they do monetise, they are using the domain for financial services and can be deleted due to the Reserved List and Banking Act restrictions.

    • Avatar
      January 30, 2020 at 10:17 am
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      When you say, “the three examples would NOT draw complaint”, how do you know that? What if someone does complain about them? Then, they DO lose their domain name.

      Complaints are made for a variety of reasons. That’s not a good excuse for this generic term “bank” to appear on this reserved list, “Oh, don’t worry, no one will complain about that name anyway”.

      There’s a bigger moral to the story here.

      The Reserved Policy List is officially BROKEN.

      More to come.

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  • Avatar
    January 30, 2020 at 6:03 pm
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    spermbank.com.au is “Coming Soon”.

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  • Avatar
    February 3, 2020 at 5:44 pm
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    Sorry about my late reply to this.
    I’m very glad that the issue of reserve names is still being followed by some.

    As with many many auDA policy initiatives over the last 3 years, the reserved list effort was half-hearted, selective, ill-advised and poorly considered. That is why I took the time to lodge a public comment.
    https://www.auda.org.au/public-comment/recently-closed-consultation/

    I think almost every other response was solicited by auDA and, of course, told them what they wanted to hear. Few would have even known a consultation was going on, nor how important the topic is.

    I’ve done a lot of work internationally on the reservation and use of names in the DNS and at much higher levels than a ccTLD 3rd level. This includes the use of country names as new TLDs. It is a huge and fraught issue.

    Five main points:

    – Lists of names are ultimately fallible. There is not such thing as a perfect list.
    – Names change over time, creating inconsistencies and conflicts. Maintaining a reserved list to accommodate these changes would require resources and expertise that auDA does not possess. Besides, it isnt auDA’s job.
    – auDA risks putting itself in a position of determining what should be reserved and what should not. This creates policy and legal risk for auDA.
    -The act of establishing a list possibly creates a hierarchy of rights that did not previously exist.
    – Protection instruments, hierarchies of rights and dispute resolution mechanisms already exist in .au. These, rather than lists, should be used to balance the need for protection and competition and choice.

    Overall this is a tiny issue but very very important.
    It is also an example of auDA 2.0’s disastrous policy management efforts which will now all need complete review and revision. Good luck to all involved.

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    • Avatar
      February 12, 2020 at 10:47 am
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      I thought I was the only one noticing policy management issues. Initially, I would suggest that some of the wording requires clarification. They have been in existence for long enough to have made things more clear year by year. Second to me is the current way they are making EDITS to the policies. In the past, the new revision would be labelled by year and whatever number they were up to for that year, giving a clear history showing past iterations of that policy with links to previous versions. Really basic stuff.

      • Avatar
        February 12, 2020 at 11:37 am
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        Indeed, this is really basic, having regard to principles of transparency and accountability.

        Ian Johnston

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  • Avatar
    February 5, 2020 at 10:46 pm
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    I’m just linking this discussion to an earlier discussion – for those who may not be aware of it – regarding the use of the words like ‘bank’, ‘banker’ and ‘banking’ at
    https://domainer.com.au/locked-by-registry/#comment-5645

    No other contribution at this point in time!

    Ian Johnston

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