Direct .AU update since our recent Domainer Shows.

Since our last two Domainer Shows (Episode 34, Episode 35), auDA have released more information in regards to the implementation of Direct .AU in March 2022.

If you’re still not sure what ‘Direct .AU’ is or means, you can read this article.

Back in our two recent Domainer Shows, we noted that we didn’t believe the domain investor or entrepreneur communities had the answers to the following questions, but now auDA have recently answered some of them, as follows;

Q. What will the fee be to apply for .au direct and why is a fee required?

A. The wholesale fee will be $8.67 for an ‘Application Token Fee’ which effectively allows you to ‘put your hand up’ to say you’re interested in acquiring your matching Direct .AU(.) Registrars and Resellers may add a service fee on top of this.

Q. If a .au direct name is in contention and the matter is not resolved within the initial one-year registration period, is there a need to pay the application fee for a further year to keep the name in contention?

Yes, you must keep paying your ‘Application Token Fee’ FOREVER, until you either become the last person ‘with your hand up’ from paying the never-ending annual fee, or until you give up, or until you go bankrupt from paying a multitude of annual fees for multiple domain names for multiple years. Whichever comes first.

Q. Will expired .au direct names drop at auction as they do for com.au?

The answer is YES, but many of us are praying the current monopolisation of a single domain name drop auction platform is over, waaaaaaay before the Direct .AU launch (see this article about the current drop.com.au monopoly and ongoing complaints against them)

Q. Can I sell my domain name once I have paid my ‘Application Token Fee’?

This question remains unclear. Perhaps people can discuss this in the comments section below?

Q. Did auDA consider revising the priority cut-off date considering it was originally determined in 2017?

auDA state that they “undertook extensive consultation on the cut-off date at the end of 2019, and a clear majority of the community supported keeping the cut-off date as 4 February 2018. Based on this consultation, auDA considers the current cut-off date remains sound.”

We ask auDA the following question: Please transparently reveal how and when you undertook “extensive consultation” of the cut-off date and please transparently reveal exactly how many numbers you are talking about when you state “a clear majority of the community” want to keep the cut-off date to 4 February 2018.

We hope an auDA Representative will answer this question either in the comments below, or some other means.

For answers to some other Direct .AU Registration implementation questions, you can see auDA’s new blog about this.

3 thoughts on “Direct .AU update since our recent Domainer Shows.

  • October 11, 2021 at 8:18 pm
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    No country or namespace manager in the world has ever charged a conflict process fee or token or lottery ticket or service fee or admin fee.. whatever they have colluded to call it to profit.

    Every .au domain name that is already registered is already supposed to be verified by its annual wholesale fee price so this new fee may be illegal and it is pure greed and misuse of market power by auDA and possibly Afilias and the Registrars.

    auDA want this fee. The auDA Policy Rview Panel did not nor did any stakeholders.

    auDA CEO Cameron Boardman stated any fee would be on a cost-recovery basis only if they did charge one.

    This is a ripoff off of .au domain name registrant consumers

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  • October 11, 2021 at 8:21 pm
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    https://insideretail.com.au/news/warnings-of-online-catastrophe-in-domain-name-shake-up-201804

    Warnings of ‘online catastrophe’ in domain name shake-up

    A long-simmering dispute between the .au Domain Administration (auDA), the industry self-regulatory body tasked with managing the country’s top-level domain, and its members has erupted this week, with some members calling for the resignation of the organisation’s CEO, Cameron Boardman, and three directors.

    Jim Stewart, chief executive of digital marketing firm StewART Media and a signatory to the letter calling for Boardman’s resignation, said the situation has become untenable and demanded a special general meeting to discuss Boardman’s position.

    The auDA in recent months has held public hearings and received submissions on the development of an implementation process to add a direct registration option to Australia’s domain space. This would allow website owners to register a domain ending in .au, rather than .com.au, .net.au, .org.au and so on.

    However, some auDA members say the panel has failed to make a business case for direct registration, nor has it fully complied with its obligation to include a peak industry body representative on the review panel, despite repeated calls to do so.

    “Business has not been consulted on this at all,” Stewart told Inside Retail.

    “The auDA were meant to have a peak industry body rep on a panel going over the .au proposals, but they only appointed someone last month, after submissions closed.

    “And the person they appointed works for Canstar…you wouldn’t call Canstar a peak industry body,” he said.

    Weighing up the costs and benefits

    According to Stewart, the implementation of direct registration could result in businesses disappearing from Google searches, cybersquatters claiming desirable .au domains and holding them ransom, widespread confusion among consumers and internet users and potential security issues.

    “Most people don’t fully understand the implications. For instance, a competitor may secure your domain name without the dot com. When the changes come into effect, any company can register say commbank.au or bhpcom.au causing confusion and cybersecurity issues. If a company was able to register their name.au and just switched it on that would be a disaster, you would lose all your Google search traffic,” he said.

    “By switching your current domain name (for example ‘.com.au’ to ‘.au’) you’re effectively creating a new website.

    “This means you run the risk of disappearing from Google searches. Imagine if you were an Australian retailer, what would that do to your business?”

    Stewart said the benefits – shorter, more appealing and memorable domain names, according to the auDA – pale in comparison to the risks. He also questioned the need for the change, noting that more than 100 million .com domains have been registered, compared to only around three million .com.au domains.

    Panel member resigns

    A spokesperson for the auDA told Inside Retail the reform is intended to preserve the value of the .au domain and pointed out that countries like Canada, the UK and New Zealand all offer direct registration.

    “Currently, Australia is among only a minority of G20 nations that do not offer a direct registration option. There is a risk that […] .au could diminish in value and usefulness,” an auDA spokesperson said.

    The auDA also said the review panel has consulted with a range of industry representatives and that the views and interests of business are always a leading consideration.

    However, a member of the review panel, Luke Summers, owner of The Lucky Country, recently resigned his position, citing a lack of confidence in the panel’s ability to act in the best interest of the Australian internet community.

    “The size and composition of the panel is entirely inappropriate for a policy review of this scale and significance,” he wrote in a letter of resignation to the panel chair, John Swinson, on 7 April.

    “I am greatly concerned that the panel lacks objectivity, and that stakeholder feedback is being overwhelmingly overlooked in favour of personal views held by some panel members.

    “Many of the policy reforms being pushed for by the panel are in direct opposition to the majority of views expressed by stakeholders; and should these reforms be implemented, then a large number of stakeholders’ concerns will ultimately be realised.”

    Acting in whose interest?

    There are two types of auDA members: domain name holders, which include internet users the general public, and domain name industry participants, which include registry operators, registrars and resellers.

    According to Stewart, the push for direct registration is being driven by the industry participants to the detriment of the other members.

    A law firm acting on behalf of the auDA responded on Tuesday to the letter signed by Stewart, saying the auDA is currently considering the request for a special general meeting.”

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  • October 12, 2021 at 2:57 pm
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    This is auDA cash grab. Hello bonuses!

    If you want a .au that has a contention then you will need to pay the application fee (Same price as renewal)

    Assume that renewals are wholesale price is $8 (for the sake of easy math). So for argument’s sake assume that. there are 200,000 domains in contention. So that is 2 people going for the same .au. So back of the envelope calculation says that will be 200,000 domains x 2 people x $8 = $3.2million revenue for auDA (no domains have been sold yet)

    Now assume that (for argument sake) a further 1,000,000 domains (there is 3.3 million domains names under management – https://assets.auda.org.au/a/2021-05/auDA%20Quarterly%20Report%202021%20Q1_0.pdf) are required that people are protecting their IP or they just want a .au = 1,000,000 * $8 = $8 million in revenue. So by Q3 2022, there will be over $11 million in cash flow in auDA’s door. This is almost equal to the entire Revenue from operations of $13.7 million in 2020 (https://assets.auda.org.au/a/2020-11/au-Domain-Administration-Annual-Report-2019-2020.pdf). Then ongoing yearly renewals will increase by around 30%.

    My numbers are back of the envelope calculations, but it gives you an understanding of the scope of this. auDA will almost double their income in 2022

    The Australian public will pay more than double these figures as the registrars will add their margins. Now registrars handle the complaints process, auDA is not going to be paying for extra support staff.

    As auDA is a non-profit organisation, I wonder what happens when they make such large profits? Maybe they give it all to Afilias for improving infrastructure? $200,000 funding boost to enhance the utility of the Internet (https://www.auda.org.au/statements)?

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