auDA (au Domain Administration) have consistently stated they have “no control or jurisdiction over the drop or secondary Australian domain name market“. Yet, they continue to negatively influence it time and time again.
Here’s some examples…
We wrote about the dodgy way Company.com.au was dropped and then magically won for $8.50 (against bids of over $20,000) when a “catching-server” mysteriously went missing over at Drop.com.au headquarters and into the hands of the Terrific Registrar service operators.
It was clear there was “foul play” involved on multiple levels, so a formal complaint was made to auDA to investigate. The first investigation came back fruitless, so a second internal investigation was requested.
Cameron Boardman dragged his feet on this, over a number of months, and replied in writing as follows, a few weeks before he left auDA;
“I have nearly completed the internal review which has been interrupted by ICANN and other issues. Accordingly I will respond shortly.
I must point put that I have no authority to review this matter on anything except as it relates to auDA’s public policies. If you would like the matter reviewed under a statutory mechanism, this will have to be referred to the appropriate authority.
I will provide further information in my review. I’ll be back in contact shortly.
Best regards, Cameron“
Mr Boardman never performed this task, left it unfinished and soon left auDA.
I made an inquiry to auDA, asking what was to happen next.
A few more weeks went by and the conclusion James Shady gave can be summarised as;
“Your correspondence raises various allegations regarding contracts between Drop and the Registrant and the use of Registrar credentials and potential anti-competitive behaviour. auDA published policies and codes of conduct seek to promote a competitive market and ethical behaviour by industry participants. However, the allegations you raise are not a matter on which auDA is able to take action. More appropriate bodies for addressing the allegations that you have raised may be the ACCC or a small business commission, such as the Victorian Small Business Commission.“
What a copout!
auDA are supposed to be the “domain industry police”, yet when you report dodgy behaviour to them, directly related to “domain names”, they claim they have no power to act.
And the culprits, Terrific Registrar in this case, have now seemingly been let off scot-free to get away with their heist.
We shouldn’t forget that Terrific Registrar defended themselves at the time, stating they were “testing” and “preparing” to release a “public backordering system” (documented here).
From our data, and FOUR MONTHS LATER, this excuse as to why Terrific Registrar hijacked a Drop.com.au server to catch one of their own names back in an anti-competitive fashion appears to be a load of rubbish.
auDA allowed a panel to be invented to create the rules of Direct .AU Registrations. They called this panel the Policy Review Panel (PRP).
Namebid documented the PRP’s “Roadshow” in February 2018 and stated the “cut off date” by which a domain owner had to own a domain name before a certain date, to be eligible to own the matching Direct .au version of their existing domain name.
After much public uproar, and after many months, this initial “cut off date” was changed from April 2016 until February 2018.
During this time however, the domain aftermarket and drop market industry flailed and a lot of trust in buying Australian domain names was lost.
Now that Direct .AU Registrations have been PUT ON HOLD YET AGAIN, there’s no doubt that the “cut off date” is going to have to be moved YET AGAIN too.
The concept of the “cut off date” in relation to Direct .AU Registrations has, and continues, to instil fear, confusion and anti-trust into the Australian domain name aftermarket and drop market.
Well done, auDA. Not.
Just yesterday, a domain developer/investor purchased DBRE.com.au legitimately and fairly off the Drop.com.au platform.
TODAY he received the following message from Drop.com.au, as instructed by auDA;
This email is to inform you that the domain dbre.com.au has been locked by auDA due to an administrative error on their side.
The domain was the subject of an External Review and was supposed to be locked at the Registry.
They decided last night to return the domain to the old registrant and to lock the domain pending the outcome of the External Review.
If the panel finds against the registrant, they have agreed to transfer the name back to yourself.
If the panel finds for the registrant then they will cover reasonable costs associated with your registration of the domain.
They expect the External Review to make a finding next week so I will be in contact as soon as they provide me with an outcome.
Please note that the Review is not related to you or your registration of the domain name, it is a pre-existing problem with the old registrant.
This now means that when any of us buy a domain name from the Drop Aftermarket, we all have no idea if one or two individual people at auDA are going to decide, “Nah, I’m just going to reverse that one and take that domain off that buyer“.
If you ask me, all this shows is that not only is auDA’s management and director infrastructure publicly and embarrassingly falling apart, but that auDA are no longer competent to perform simply daily domain name administration.
These are merely three examples that show how auDA have ruined, and continue to ruin, the trust and value of Australian domain names in the drop and general aftermarket.