auDA Announces Delay

In a statement on the auDA website yesterday, current Chair Suzanne Ewart announced that there will be a delay to the proposed introduction of direct registration (e.g. the ability to register Domainer.au).

While we had previously estimated direct registration and changes to the licensing rules would be implemented in the fourth quarter of 2019, it is critically important that the changes are widely understood, backed by an education program and supported by robust business processes throughout industry. It is also essential that these changes are implemented in a way that minimises imposts on business and avoids unintended consequences.”

After the sudden “reluctant departure” of previous CEO Cameron Boardman, it was obvious to many in the industry that the “work was far from done” on so many levels.

I know I speak for others when I applaud this decision of the auDA Board to avoid a calamitous rush to implement massive changes. In keeping with the Chair’s statement yesterday “that the changes are widely understood”, I believe it is incumbent on auDA to inform every single registrant of a domain name in Australia what is happening; and how it will affect them. This was a commitment that was “dragged out” of the previous CEO, but unfortunately, like many of his assurances, is yet to happen.

“The auDA Board takes its responsibilities very seriously and is committed to best-practice levels of transparency, accountability and consultation in overseeing the operation and management framework for the .au domain.”

Other Consequences

It looks like the auDA Board’s common sense decision to simplify current licensing rules of existing domain names is now also on the backburner. This is a shame, because the work is “done and dusted”, and, unlike direct registration, could be easily implemented. In my opinion, confidence in the .au space will continue to be affected until these changes are ratified. More about this in a future article.

Ned O’Meara – 22nd August 2019

8 thoughts on “auDA Announces Delay

  • Avatar
    August 22, 2019 at 1:50 pm
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    As entrepreneurs and domain investors, we all just went through a couple of years of turmoil at great expense of time and money protecting our legitimate digital development-investments.

    We made our points and obeyed the procedure and saw the “haters” and “paid-debaters” publicly lose.

    We were told the new “modernisation” of Australian Domain Name Rules to bring us in line with the rest of the world would implement in October and Direct AU would occur in April.

    Then, Cameron Boardman left early, before the job was done, and the job he did STILL remains unfinished. Contrary to the PC-fluff-press-release that’s been written.

    Some people are saying that Mr Boardman’s reign in the Australian Domain Name Industry is similar to a “wrecking ball” causing destruction to a certain industry, and then leaving before the full extent of the destruction can be seen.

    I can’t say I disagree with this analogy, but only time will tell.

    And… right now, no one at auDA knows what’s going on, and whether the millions of dollars spent on “research and public consultations” and the crazy amount of money spent on “The PRP” has gone to waste?

    What a shambles.

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    • Avatar
      August 23, 2019 at 8:45 am
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      From the Chair’s announcement:
      “It is also essential that these changes are implemented in a way that minimises imposts on business and avoids unintended consequences.”

      Just to clarify, from an economist’s perspective, the real cost to small business should include the ‘opportunity cost’ as defined here [ https://www.encyclopedia.com/social-sciences-and-law/economics-business-and-labor/economics-terms-and-concepts/opportunity-cost (accessed 23 Aug 2019) ].

      There has already been significant ‘opportunity costs’ as explained by Robert: “As entrepreneurs and domain investors, we all just went through a couple of years of turmoil at great expense of time and money protecting our legitimate digital development-investments.”

      Others involved in processes since the formation of the PRP, including consumer advocates, have also experienced significant ‘opportunity costs’.

      The ‘opportunity costs’ for tens of thousands of Australian small businesses is potentially huge.

      Taking time for further dialogue with stakeholders is prudent, notably with the ACCC which has responsibilities for consumer protection and competition policies embedded in legislation.

      • Neddy
        August 23, 2019 at 11:38 am
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        Ian, I have just published a new article which gives a summation of “where we are at”.

        Ned

  • Avatar
    August 22, 2019 at 6:32 pm
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    No CEO, no chair. .au will be a complete disaster if they try to push ahead with it at the behest of registrars.

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  • Scott.L
    August 22, 2019 at 10:16 pm
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    I think the delay was caused by the The Dept CommsAU who told auDA to revert back to the close and substantial rule (monetisation as a basis for registration) or something similar.

    Its astonishing to think the Dept. CommsAU has decided this policy change. Especially when Months of brawling about this issue led to a global escalation against it. I’m surprised the Dept CommsAU or the Minister Paul Fletcher actually holds the authority to ‘direct’ auDA to change policy without the involvement of the ACCC? If so, WTF is auDA doing in the namespace as the Administrator of Policy development, review and regulation?

    Cheers

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    • Neddy
      August 23, 2019 at 11:42 am
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      Scott, you’re spot on about DoCA.

      But I have read and re-read both DoCA’s letter and auDA’s response, and I believe that we’ll get there in the end. DoCA have basically given auDA a road map.

      Of course, I may be wrong.

      Ned

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