I don’t have a problem in making complaints to auDA and registrars about scammers who engage in “stealing” legitimate entities ACN or ABN in order to register Aussie domains. In fact, I wish more people would do it! The integrity of the .au space is something that is in everyone’s interest to maintain.
Overall, I believe auDA do a great job with complaints. As I wrote last September:
- “Because auDA operates on a “complaints based system”, you will only ever get a complaint if someone makes a formal online complaint – and auDA deems that the complaint has validity. In other words, some part of policy has not been complied with.
- Every week auDA gets many complaints. But what a lot of people don’t realise is that a huge percentage of these don’t even get past first base (because they are not valid complaints for a variety of reasons).”
Many people – including currently serving auDA Directors – have opined (in the past) that the current system which allows anonymous complaints to be made to auDA is both unfair and wrong.
Currently, anyone can make a complaint online. You don’t even need to use your real name; there’s no fee to pay – and a disposable email address will suffice.
That doesn’t sound fair to me – particularly when 9 times out of 10 the complainant is probably someone who wants a domain name, but is not prepared to pay market value for it. So they roll the dice with a complaint – safe in the knowledge that they can do so hidden behind a keyboard.
Back in 2012, the auDA Board approved the “Accountability and Transparency Framework”. This is worth a read for a whole lot of reasons! For the purposes of today’s article, let me focus on two submissions that were made.
The first was by Simon Johnson – and in relation to complaints, he said:
“auDA – Deleting Domains
In the interests of transparency and fairness, auDA should make available:
a) the names of people and companies who make complaints against Registrants.
b) the basis in which auDA gives instructions for domain names to be put into Pending Delete.
c) The basis in which auDA engages in proactive reviews of domain names held by registrants.
This information will help businesses who respond to auDA complaints, as well as others who are unaware of auDA Policy and have their domains deleted. It may also help to reduce the number of complaints made to auDA.”
The second was by Erhan Karabardak – he said in part:
“Finally, I urge auDA to provide copies of complaints (received from complainants) to domain name registrants, who are subject to those complaints. This will enhance transparency and go some way to reducing bad faith complaints.”
And then there is this old thread on DNTrade which features comments from both Erhan and Stuart Benjamin (also an auDA Director and now Chairman). In part, Stuart said:
“But my gut feel is that it is unfair for someone to make a complaint (when they benefit from the outcome) anonymously.”
I totally concur with Simon, Stuart, and Erhan. And so I ask the question:
Now that you are auDA Directors, what’s happening in this regard?
Like a lot of fellow professionals in the domain industry, I am totally against people making complaints to auDA (or using someone else to do so) in order to score a domain for themselves or someone else.
That’s the line in the sand for me. Do unto others as you would have them do to you.
There is nothing wrong with legitimate backorders where you may know that a domain is going to expire because of other circumstances. Like an expired ABN; deregistered company; registrant email that bounces etc. I’ve seen some excellent acquisitions made by people who have good intel! It’s just a matter of being patient; and watching the expired auctions.
My fervent hope is that we do away with “ambulance chasing”. Perhaps if complaints were no longer anonymous, that wouldn’t happen as much?
Having said all this, I accept the fact that there may occasionally be exceptional circumstances where a complaint is appropriate. If people are prepared to put their names to such a complaint (and justify it), then at least there is some transparency.
What do you think?