auDA, Some Well Meaning Feedback For You

auDA, you really do seem to have some problems at the moment – and you have brought all these on yourself by your lack of proper communication and transparency.

The revolt by Members by calling a S249D meeting is just an indicator of the problems you potentially face in the future. The last thing anyone wants (members included), is for these to become bigger than “Ben Hur”.

The Big Issue Is “The Registry Transformation Project”

This is how many “Demand” and “Supply” members see it.

♦  Your actual intentions are confusing. In one breath you say that auDA is not going to become a registry operator – yet all your written communications say the opposite. Here is one example (bolding is mine):

auDA has decided to conduct a tender process to enable auDA to build and operate a dedicated .au registry.”

♦  You haven’t made your case to members – you may understand what you’re trying to do, but we don’t.

♦  If you do want to make such a substantial transformation to how auDA has always operated, then you have to observe the Constitution and get member approval via a special resolution. This also means “making your case” as I said above. If you do this, you may find that members will get behind your aspirations. But if you don’t, they won’t.

Why Wait?

If members vote for Resolution 3 whenever the S249D meeting is held, you will then have to call an EGM (Extraordinary General Meeting) to put a special resolution to members. Or wait for the AGM to put this up. That’s ages away.

This will put auDA under all sorts of time pressures to wait this long. And what will happen if you don’t get a 75% approval from both classes of membership? To put it in plain lingo, you’ll probably be “stuffed” – and you’ll have to go cap in hand to AusRegistry and ask for an extension of the existing registry contract!

So our advice is get some resolution one way or the other within the next 30 days. Call an urgent EGM immediately, and put your case to the members. You’ll either get approval or you won’t – but at least you will know quickly. Makes a lot of sense doesn’t it?

Ned O’Meara – 23 June 2017


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13 thoughts on “auDA, Some Well Meaning Feedback For You

  • Avatar
    June 23, 2017 at 10:22 am
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    I don’t believe it is clear cut that AUDA needs to change its constitution to run a registry. Some registry functions are already specified in the constitution,

    For example in the objects section,

    The principal purposes of auDA are:

    ………

    e. to manage the operation of critical technical functions including:i. the primary and secondary .au name servers;ii. zone files for second level domains; andiii. a searchable data base containing information on registrations within the .au ccTLD.

    In reality those registry functions are supposed to be run by AUDA but they have chosen to outsource them. If AUDA really wants to be 100% certain of its position it should go to a member vote, but is there any time and would it ever get 75% from a hijacked membership base?

    In my view changing the registry is only decent thing AUDA in years. Really this should have gone out to tender and prices should have been dramatically reduced as a result, but is it a good idea to try and block AUDA’s current plans on this? I’m not sure on that because if it does get blocked the end outcome may not be favourable.

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    • Ned O'Meara
      June 23, 2017 at 10:35 am
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      @Snoopy – the whole object of the S249D General Meeting request was to seek transparency, communication and good governance. Requests for all these have fallen on deaf ears in the past. And we’ve been “misled” (that’s being polite).

      I’m on the fence with regards the registry – simply because I don’t know what they exactly propose. Let auDA make their case unambiguously. If they do so, then they may well get members onside.

      Rest assured there are some well-funded supply organisations that are looking at this very closely. Who knows what they may have in mind? That’s why I recommend auDA get this sorted one way or the other now.

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    • Scott.L
      June 23, 2017 at 12:12 pm
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      @Snoopy, auDA would require a registry backend in the event of a retail registry going belly-up or whatever … having said that, “to manage the operation of critical technical functions” is allot different from building an In-House registry for the purpose of providing “Wholesale Registry Services” to a market which should be competing in a Tender to provide such services.
       

      Ned you summed it up perfectly.

      ♦  You haven’t made your case to members – you may understand what you’re trying to do, but we don’t

       
      WTF is the BIG secret auDA?

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  • Avatar
    June 23, 2017 at 10:28 am
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    Just on another note,

    AUDA’s board has been very foolish to not quickly remedy concerns regarding the Code of Conduct and Minutes. This is what members are concerned about. It would have had no real effect on AUDA to scrap those two. Instead they have not acted, and now they have far more damaging issues (resolution 3 & 4) on the table.

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  • Avatar
    June 23, 2017 at 1:28 pm
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    “stuffed” is the word

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  • Avatar
    June 24, 2017 at 12:26 pm
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    Good try Ned but auda are a law unto themselves

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  • Avatar
    June 26, 2017 at 1:55 am
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    auDA’s authority to manage the .au domain space is derived from a Commonwealth endorsement that requires auDA to manage the .au in the public or common interest. Continuing to outsource registry services without tender subordinates social returns to the profit of a single stakeholder,  this seems inconsistent with management of .au as a public asset in the common interest.  The EOI exercise to test the market response – well in advance of the expiry of the current arrangements seems like a prudent and responsible move. The “industry self regulation” regime in Australia is something of an experiment in governance, the CEO and board should ensure there is no perception that a registry operator with significant commercial interest is not engaged in “regulatory capture”. This is a significant risk when an industry “self regulates”.The only way to do this transparently is through an EOI that might ( or might not ) lead to an RFP. I cant think of a single similar OECD county where the TLD manager does not also run the registry directly or via a subsidiary entity of some sort. If outsourcing is a better model for .au then then the EOI process will simply help auDA justify the decision to stray from the more common model.

     

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    • Avatar
      June 26, 2017 at 3:52 pm
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      Many people know the “self regulation” has not worked. What we have seen are certain powerful auDA  Board Supply entity members who largely set their pricing and market dominance and whom have enjoyed massive personal and corporate profits over many years.

      https://www.crn.com.au/news/118m-payday-for-melbourne-domain-name-firm-407350

      https://www.auda.org.au/news/auda-awards-registry-tender-to-registrarsasia-subsidiary/

      Certainly it has been the .AU registrant/ owner/ buyer who has paid the price for the overcharging.

      Also Australia has a whole loses as the massive profits are merely shifted offshore in the case of the wholesale registry provider which is 100% foreign owned.

      We should see public disclosures about what financial or other benefits auDA Board members could/ do make from auDA Board decisions. This may shed light on why and how decisions are made. .. and also explain why certain auDA Board members seem to push certain policy changes and the recent push for the un needed additional competing .au extension which they aim to make more money off personally and for their Supply companies.

      Is the auDA CEO able to make any form of extra personal financial performance bonuses and how is that calculated, could a decision to bring in house the wholesale registry and generate extra income be a factor or what are the exact performance bonus conditions if any?  Why is this not disclosed to auDA members?

      Where are the details of the auDA Chair’s income? In every other country this is basic public disclosure, “best practice” and done for accountability and transparency. Why does auDA’s CEO refuse to disclose this information to members or put it on the auDA website?

      Example https://cira.ca/about-cira/board-and-governance/board-compensation

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  • Avatar
    June 27, 2017 at 11:45 am
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    It is hard to fathom why any members on the supply or demand side ( other than one that might be adversely effected ) would be concerned by the Registry Transformation Project.  The current model sees millions of dollars in wealth transferred from millions of stakeholders to one stake holder. Locking this situation in place in perpetuity might, to an interested observer, be taken as evidence that industry self regulation has led to regulatory capture and perhaps regulatory failure.  To those members that say  auDA is not following their constitution and needs to setup an advisory panel to before issuing an EOI or RFT, I would suggest that they look at the advice of the 2012 IAP, unless I am missing something, auDA is simply following the advice of the IAP. The IAP looked seriously at the issue of the outsourcing of the registry in 2012 and concluded that there was repetitional risk to auDA in continuing the practice of outsource without tender beyond 2018.  “The Panel agreed to proceed with a recommendation for re-negotiation with AusRegistry (for a period of 2, 3 or 4 years), with full RFT to be conducted should negotiations fail. The Panel also agreed to recommend that the auDA Board commit to holding a full RFT process at the end of the next registry licence agreement. The Panel restated the need for clarity and expansiveness in the recording and explanation of this decision”Putting it to tender is complicated in that the likely outcome is somebody will underbid the incumbent ( whoever that is ), switching back end providers every few years is a nuisance and has some costs to registrars and stability risks etc, auDA would likely be forced to come up with some dubious excuse to continue to use the current contractor, causing repetitional risk. Building internal capacity and running the registry in-house is really the only long term option in my view.CoCCA submitted an response to the EOI in support of the RTP. Our commercial interests are limited to a USD $15,000 commercial support contract for our free SRS.

    If you are interested the link to the CoCCA EOI is below.https://cocca.com.au/eoi/REOI-CoCCA_XO_AU_260617-CV.pdf

     

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    • Scott.L
      June 27, 2017 at 4:47 pm
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      RFC 1591      Domain Name System Structure and Delegation     March 1994
      “The key requirement is that for each domain there be a designated manager for supervising that domain’s name space. In the case of top-level domains that are country codes this means that there is a manager that supervises the domain names and operates the domain name system in that country.
      Since the inception of auDA the DNSSD 1994 appoints and assigns the ccTLD as both the manager and the policy authority administrator. However, a clear separation between Policy authority and Registry operator occurred during the formation of of auDA whereby, a competition model 2000-01 gave rise to an interpretive outcome that in some reasoning appears in defiance against DNSSD RFC 1591.
       
      I suspect, this was due to the heated issues that manifested through ADNA in 1997-8 between the delegates of various 2TLD’s and its directors that ultimately escalated into the abandonment of ADNA at that time. With that in mind and whilst still fresh in the minds of panellists and various actors concerning the past issues of ADNA, the foundational articles of auDA’s constitution were incorporated and therein contained the OBJECTS and ‘principle purposes’ that became the very prison of which auDA can’t apparently escape. Unless, a resolution to do so can assist in bringing about that change.
       

      resolution 3 @ grumpy.com.au

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    • Avatar
      June 27, 2017 at 4:50 pm
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      Most would agree that and in-house registry is the best way to move forward.

      The question is if auDA is actually capable of building and managing it. The members have no faith that they are which is why they are attempting to make the board accountable for their decisions.

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  • Avatar
    June 27, 2017 at 8:17 pm
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    Dear Anonymous ( why anonymous ? ) , Re “is auDA actually capable of building and managing it”. I would hops so,  or I would argue they have no  business being a TLD manager.  And if they cant mange the project for some reason, the Commonwealth and ICANN have the authority to assign the management to another entity.

    The industry is mature, agreed international standards are in place, and free open source tools available that support best practices in technical administration of a TLD.

    auDA already decides who can connect to the registry, dictates the commercial terms, along with the IETF, and ICANN sets both technical specifications and service levels, establishes policy and resolves complaints, it is unclear how adding the direct management of the .au database to this set of competencies compromises auDA’s independence.

    Transparency in the management of the .au database is more important than a separation of operations and administration. It can be argued that the lack of transparency and awarding of contracts without tender is more damaging to auDA’s reputation and perceived independence as a regulator than an active role in management of a database would be.

    The 5 Critical Functions that are critical to the operation of a TLD registry:

    DNS resolution
    DNSSEC properly signed zone (if DNSSEC is offered by the registry)
    Shared Registration System (SRS), usually by means of the Extensible Provisioning Protocol (EPP)
    Registration Data Directory Services (RDDS), e.g., WHOIS provided over both port 43 and through a web based service.
    Registry Data Escrow

    https://www.icann.org/resources/pages/transition-processes-2013-04-22-en

    Detailed standards have been published and and free open source tools available to support all 5 critical functions.

  • Avatar
    June 27, 2017 at 8:21 pm
    Permalink

    Dear Anonymous ( why anonymous ? ) , Re “auDA is actually capable of building and managing it”. I would hops so,  or I would argue they have no  business being a TLD manager.  And if they cant mange the project for some reason, the Commonwealth and ICANN have the authority to assign the management to another entity.

    The industry is mature, agreed international standards are in place, and free open source tools available that support best practices in technical administration of a TLD.

    auDA already decides who can connect to the registry, dictates the commercial terms, along with the IETF, and ICANN sets both technical specifications and service levels, establishes policy and resolves complaints, it is unclear how adding the direct management of the .au database to this set of competencies compromises auDA’s independence.

    Transparency in the management of the .au database is more important than a separation of operations and administration. It can be argued that the lack of transparency and awarding of contracts without tender is more damaging to auDA’s reputation and perceived independence as a regulator than an active role in management of a database would be.

    The 5 Critical Functions: Functions that are critical to the operation of a TLD registry:

    DNS resolution
    DNSSEC properly signed zone (if DNSSEC is offered by the registry)
    Shared Registration System (SRS), usually by means of the Extensible Provisioning Protocol (EPP)
    Registration Data Directory Services (RDDS), e.g., WHOIS provided over both port 43 and through a web based service.
    Registry Data Escrow

    https://www.icann.org/resources/pages/transition-processes-2013-04-22-en

    Detailed standards have been published and and free open source tools available to support critical functions.

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