Back To The Future

As many long-time readers know, I was the founder and publisher of Domainer – but last year, due to personal circumstances, I sold to Robert Kaay. I needed someone to carry on with what I had started, and Rob was someone who I believed had the passion and will to do so. He has obviously put his own stamp on Domainer as he is entitled to do.

That said, I do love the direction that Rob and Ed have taken with their podcasts, and these now seem to be going from strength to strength. Those two certainly make a great team.

Having had a long time away, I missed “my baby” – but I particularly missed writing about everything to do with .au. So I had been considering starting another publication, but when I mentioned this to Rob, he suggested that I should fulfil my craving by coming back to Domainer as a Guest Editor. So here I am on a trial run!

What Can You Expect?

Given the auDA Board’s recent decisions to signal that they intend getting rid of (and/or relaxing) a lot of the red tape and prohibitions surrounding .au, I am filled with positivity about the future of domain investing in Australia. And that’s what I’ll mostly be writing about.

However, I also believe there are still some roadblocks ahead, and I’ll be giving my constructive and considered opinions about these based on over a decade of experience in the .au space.

Until next time.

Neddy

(Ned O’Meara)

21 thoughts on “Back To The Future

  • Avatar
    August 21, 2019 at 6:32 pm
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    Yay the legend is back. Welcome back Ned.

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    • Neddy
      August 23, 2019 at 11:54 am
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      Thanks Rudy! It was good to touch base with you last week – it’s been too long.

  • Luke
    August 21, 2019 at 7:03 pm
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    Welcome back Ned! I look forward to reading more of your articles 🙂

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    • Neddy
      August 23, 2019 at 11:53 am
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      Thanks Luke. Though as I’ve always said (and I mean it sincerely), your writing is far better than mine!

      Ned

  • Avatar
    August 21, 2019 at 7:23 pm
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    The legend is back indeed!!!

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    • Neddy
      August 23, 2019 at 11:51 am
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      Legend in my own lunchtime. 😀

  • Avatar
    August 21, 2019 at 7:32 pm
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    Your commentary has been sorely missed Ned.

    Garth

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  • Avatar
    August 21, 2019 at 7:35 pm
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    Heeeeees back!

    The man, the myth, the legend!

    Welcome back Ned 👍😎

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    • Neddy
      August 23, 2019 at 11:50 am
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      Thanks Ed – and good to chat with you yesterday. 🙂

  • Avatar
    August 22, 2019 at 5:45 am
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    Good to see you back old boy

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  • Avatar
    August 22, 2019 at 7:09 am
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    Welcome back Ned.

    Matters I’d like to see discussed include:

    1. Monopoly pricing of .au domains, notably any financial and economic considerations including the rationale that underpinned these Board Decisions of 27 June 2019:
    – The wholesale fee for direct registration .au domain names match the open 2LDs names; and
    – The application fee associated with implementation model be set annually and at the rate of the wholesale fee for open 2LDs.

    One obvious question comes to my mind:
    Was marginal-cost pricing* considered and, if not, why not; and, if so, why was it rejected?

    * Marginal-cost pricing, in economics, the practice of setting the price of a product to equal the extra cost of producing an extra unit of output. By this policy, a producer charges, for each product unit sold, only the addition to total cost resulting from materials and direct labour. … [Reference: Marginal-cost pricing: economics, Britannica.com, https://www.britannica.com/topic/marginal-cost-pricing (accessed 22 Aug 2019)]

    2. What processes are or were underway with the ACCC regarding the need or otherwise for any authorisation** of the new auDA regulatory scheme?
    It was mentioned at the gathering of auDA Members in Canberra that auDA was engaging with the ACCC and had provided it with numerous documents.

    ** Authorisation: Where businesses are concerned that their proposed conduct may give rise to a breach of the competition provisions of the Act, they can seek authorisation from the ACCC. If the ACCC is satisfied that the relevant legal test is met and grants authorisation, this removes the risk of legal action under the competition provisions. … [Reference: Authorisation, ACCC
    (accessed 22 Aug 2019)]

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  • Avatar
    August 22, 2019 at 7:42 am
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    Good to have you back and the timing could not be more appropriate.

    This week auDA did a MAJOR backflip on the reduction of red tape after getting feedback from DoCA and it looks like the red tape is already back.

    https://www.auda.org.au/assets/Uploads/auda-DOCA-letter-19Aug2019.pdf

    “Removal of allocation rules for com.au and net.au registrations
    auDA notes the Department’s concerns that the removal of the allocation rules for the com.au and net.au name spaces is a significant departure from the longstanding registration policy.
    In response auDA will reinstate the close and substantial connection categories in the com.au and net.au name spaces, whilst undertaking further public consultation on the possible alternatives including: the current close and substantial connection rule, and the refinements suggested by the Policy Review Panel.”

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    • Neddy
      August 22, 2019 at 8:02 am
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      Thanks for that info Anthony. All I can say is OMG! We are back to where we started.

      My optimism bubble has now been suddenly deflated.

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    • Avatar
      August 22, 2019 at 11:00 am
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      Hello Anthony, et.al.

      The auDA letter of 19 Aug 2019 to the Department regarding further consultation on the new .au licensing rules, in my view, could have gone further and mentioned consultations with two key national “small business” associations – Australian Chamber (ACCI) and COBOA – national peak bodies and key stakeholders. I have observed at close quarters the effectiveness of consultations with these associations when changes in government policy impact thousands of small businesses eg ATO on GST introduction.

      Following the auDA Membership meeting in Canberra on 16 Jul 2019, I sent the following key text in an email to auDA on 18 Jul 2019.

      Subject: auDA: Association Membership

      Hi …

      Further to the auDA meeting last evening and our chat thereafter, here’s a link to a post I made on the Domainer Blog in 2018 which I made about these two key national “small business” associations – ACCI and COBOA – national peak bodies and key stakeholders with the ears of Ministers.
      https://domainer.com.au/i-hate-to-say-it-but/.

      As noted in this post:
      “The Australian Chamber has a network of over 115 business associations made up of peak state and territory chambers of commerce, national industry associations from all sectors, and the Business Leaders Council.”

      I think it would be a feather in auDA’s cap if you were able to persuade ACCI and individual member chambers and associations to join auDA and remain members in perpetuity. They are important channels of communications to their member chambers and associations, which in turn are important channels of communications to their thousands of small business members. Small businesses trust their association leaders. These comments apply similarly to COSBOA.

      As mentioned, ACCI has had a longstanding policy of eliminating “Red Tape” – see https://www.australianchamber.com.au/top-issues-for-business/our-policies/small-business/full-policy/ and other links on this website to ‘Red Tape’ policy and surveys.

      In my view, the new auDA regulatory regime amounts to levels of complexity which could impose regulatory costs on many thousands of Australian small businesses and may be *seen* as to additional Red Tape, particularly during the transition phase from the ‘old’ to the ‘new’ auDA regulatory regime. I suggest that consideration be given to managing risks associated with rollout of the new regime. I suggest that education of small businesses through their trusted associations is worthy of consideration by auDA.

      If I can be of any assistance in building association membership of auDA let me know.

      The former CEO of the now defunct SETEL (Small Enterprise Telecommunications Centre Ltd) … had close relationships with ACCI and COSBOA and many of their key members. He’s still around Canberra and may be able to assist.

      Cheers, Ian

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      • Avatar
        August 22, 2019 at 1:38 pm
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        Ian,

        Thanks for your interest in this matter, I personally don’t have much experience on the who is who of Peak bodies in Australia so it might also be worth reading the letter from DoCA to auDA which prompted auDA’s response. https://www.auda.org.au/assets/Uploads/DOCA-letter-to-Ms-S-Ewart-5.8.19.pdf

        DoCA has made some recommendations on who auDA should consult with in terms of business and peak body representatives. They mention Internet Australia, the ACCC, IP Australia and others which is taking too long for me to re-type as the PDFs are frustratingly published as images so you cannot cut and paste. If you have some time it might be worth reading DoCAs letter and seeing if you feel DoCAs recommendations represent the interests of the groups you mention in your post. If you still feel strongly that they do not then I am happy to help you get in contact with someone at auDA to ensure your ideas do not get lost in the noise.

        With regards to building up membership in auDA every little bit helps so send anyone you know to https://www.joinauda.org.au/ so we can help them get to their membership goals.

        The interim period where the auDA board are also the members is coming to an end soon. Most likely at the next AGM later this year, so make sure you and others are members by then as there will be an opportunity to vote for four new directors.

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        • Avatar
          August 22, 2019 at 10:33 pm
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          Thank you Anthony for the feedback you provided.

          I’ve read the DoCA letter to auDA and note that the letter refers to the principles of multi-stakeholder internet governance which would include “dialogue with … consumer groups … business interests, and internet users.”

          As a member of ACCAN, a substantially Federal Budget funded consumer group, I contacted ACCAN and enquired as to whether there had been dialogue between the ACCAN nominee on the PRP and ACCAN following the nominee leaving ACCAN and whether ACCAN intended to make any submissions to auDA relating to the proposed new licensing rules for .au. I note that ACCAN’s last submission to auDA’s PRP was made on 13 Mar 2018 [ https://accan.org.au/files/Submissions/ACCAN-auDA-registrant-policy20180313.pdf ]. I am not aware of any dialogue post-separation. I understand that ACCAN simply didn’t have the resources to respond during subsequent rounds of PRP and intensive auDA staff consultations.
          ACCAN has responsibilities for representation of small business interests.

          As for dialogue with ‘business interests and internet users’, in my view, dialogue with the Australian Chamber (ACCI) and COSBOA should go a long way towards meeting DoCA’s expectations.

          I spent years consulting with ACCAN’s ‘predecessor’ (Small Enterprise Telecommunications Centre Ltd (SETEL), ACCI and its members who collectively represented over 300,000 small businesses in the early 2000s. COSBOA, ACCI and many if it’s member association were members of SETEL (now defunct). SETEL worked with ACCI and key member associations on auDA matters, as evidenced by their submissions to auDA’s early panels and efforts by their nominees to join the auDA Board.

          I’ve made my point about the merits of auDA dialogue with ACCI and COSBOA to auDA in writing and in the Canberra auDA members meeting discussions and on several occasions on this Domainer blog in recent years. Bruce Tonkin and other auDA staff present at the Canberra meeting.

    • Neddy
      August 23, 2019 at 11:49 am
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      New article posted Anthony. Thanks for the heads up.

      Ned

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    • Avatar
      August 27, 2019 at 2:08 pm
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      This is crazy.

      Why the hell did auDA spend so much money and resources on The PRP and the “Australian Road Trip” extravaganza for a fruitless outcome?

      So many people were involved in this whole 3-year drama… and now….

      We’re back to where we started?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?

      If these new policy rules aren’t implemented, heads should roll from the recent previous auDA leaders for incompetence and wasting not-for-profit money and resources.

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