For those involved on a daily basis in the domain industry, it is common knowledge that NetAlliance t/a Netfleet (an auDA accredited registrar) is not currently in a healthy state. David Goldstein exposed their trials and tribulations in the Goldstein Report two weeks ago. He also detailed the ownership changes – those that have already taken place; and those that are potentially going to happen.
Sources have told me that the breach notice they were issued with by auDA (domain name regulator) has not as yet been complied with, and that they have given several extensions to achieve compliance. This is particularly in relation to their required ISS (Information Security Standard) obligations.
By way of background, Netfleet (NF) used to be the predominant drop catcher of expired domains – this was until Trellian purchased Drop.com.au and DomainShield.com.au (and the services of Anthony Peake). Drop gradually became the superior service as they improved their skills and resources – and conversely, NF declined because money and resources were not invested. This was very disappointing for the well respected and liked Nikki Scholes who (with the help of one very able consultant) kept NF going for so long against the odds. Sadly, they have both now departed.
But as a domain investor, you were mad if you didn’t bid on both platforms – just in case! Earlier this year, NF briefly became more competitive again (which was great), then it just “died in the arse”. We now know why.
If you are still bidding on NF’s auction platform, don’t bother. My understanding is that the majority of the “connections” they had to the Registry have long gone, and they will now only pick up an “uncontested” domain. All you are doing by bidding on NF is showing others what the top bid for a domain was! This screenshot taken two days ago is a common scenario these days.
Questions for auDA
Given that you state the following online:
“The .au Domain Administration (auDA) is the government-endorsed not for profit organisation which sets the rules for .au domains and accredits the registrars who license them. We help ensure the .au domain is a safe, accessible and trusted asset for all Australian internet users.”
- Who is actually running Netfleet?
- If Netfleet is still in breach of their Registrar Agreement, why has there been no official action or announcement by you as the regulator?
- Have individual registrants that still use Netfleet or associated companies been notified that there is a current issue that may affect them?
- What caretaker arrangements have been put in place to look after registrants – and to assist them with migration to other registrars?
Let’s hope we get some answers soon.