Domain Complaints are changing in 5 weeks.

auDA recently released this article on their website entitled; The complaints process under the new licensing rules, which come into effect on the 12th April, 2021.

The short and sweet of the new Domain Complaint process goes as follows:

  1. You can’t lodge a complaint to auDA anymore. You must lodge a domain complaint directly to the Registrar. (Unless the complaint is about a Registrar. In this case, Domainer believes you will still complain to auDA in this regard).
  2. The Registrar has 30 days to resolve the complaint, and they must inform you of the decision.
  3. If you are unhappy with the decision, you can then request auDA to perform a review of the Registrar decision, and auDA has 28 days to perform the review.
  4. If you’re still not happy, you can ask auDA for an internal review.
  5. If you’re still not happy with auDA’s internal review, you can then request an External review. However, Domainer is lead to believe the cost to initiate an External review is set to dramatically increase.

This is all fine and dandy, but…

Let’s use an example domain name complaint here.

Let’s say someone complains against a domain name I own, let’s say it’s my Default.com.au domain name (how bloody generic is that?!)

Is this how the potential conversation with the Registrar could go?

Registrar: Hi Rob, we’ve received a domain name complaint from an anonymous complainant who states you’re not allowed to own the domain name Default.com.au(.) Please explain how and why you purchased this domain name.

Robert: Hi Registrar. I purchased it to develop “default business services” software to help Australian businesses get started. It’s taking me a while to develop it though, as I have many other projects I am simultaneously working on. Please dismiss this vexatious complaint from this anonymous wanna-be domain name thief.

Registrar: Um. Okay… I guess that’s okay?

Have auDA given Registrars a list of domain name complaint rules they must abide by?

Is there a domain name complaints matrix being handed out to Registrars by auDA?

If Registrars require any sort of “proof” from domain name owners, that they meet the ownership policy guidelines, what constitutes “proof”?

Are auDA going to pass along their own domain name “proof” matrix? Has there even been one to begin with this whole time? Or have auDA staff been relying on their own personal opinions, as to whether someone can keep their domain name or not?

Many, many questions are currently being raised by the domain name investor community, in regards to how this new complaints-policy-direct-to-the-registrar is going to work…

How are Registrars going to “police” complaints? Are they going to make their own judge-jury-execution decisions, or do they have to rely on an auDA-created complaints matrix?

Story developing . . .

17 thoughts on “Domain Complaints are changing in 5 weeks.

  • Avatar
    March 5, 2021 at 12:29 pm
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    I don’t think it’s a good idea for registrars to be able to ‘police’ such matters.

    Do registrars even want this responsibility?
    Registrars better know their obligations to the registrant 😳

    Interesting development..

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  • Avatar
    March 5, 2021 at 2:12 pm
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    com.au and net.au namespace
    2.4.4 A Person applying for a licence in the com.au and net.au namespaces must be

    a commercial entity; and
    the domain name applied for must be:

    (f) a match or synonym of the name of:
    (i) a service that the Person provides;

    1.4 DEFINITIONS
    In these auDA Rules:
    Service includes:
    8. a service providing information or a referral to another provider which relates to
    goods or services used by the public or a sector of the public.

    https://www.auda.org.au/policy/au-domain-administration-rules-licensing

    Very easy for domainers to satisfy.

    What is more, auDA still reviews all decisions. It is simply delegating and inserting another lower level review process.

    This policy is better for domainers and those who have generic names as it is very black and white. ie. Those who have a generic keyword name and a basic page that satisfies the meaning of ‘Service’ under 8. above will feel confident that any complaint made about their registration will be knocked down as invalid.

    Also this policy only applies to names registered or renewed from the date it is implemented, meaning registrars will not be able to review complaints in relation to domain names that have not been registered or renewed since the date of implementation.

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  • Avatar
    March 5, 2021 at 2:19 pm
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    I like the fact that it’s 30 days!

    This gives domain holders plenty of time to reply and drags out the whole process, which then might be extended with a 28 day review period again!

    It used to be just 7 days, which was really bad for those on holiday or snowed with other things.

    I don’t think people will waste 2 months waiting for a vexatious complaint (that is very unlikely to succeed) if they need the domain name for their business. They’ll just grow a pair and buy it.

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  • Avatar
    March 6, 2021 at 8:07 am
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    Personally, I see this as a good thing.

    There’s always a silver lining.

    Savvy registrars can easily follow the rules while protecting the interest of domainers.

    All domainers will gravitate towards those registrars. A quick win for savvy registrars.

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    • Avatar
      March 6, 2021 at 6:39 pm
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      Great point. I think many will leave GoDaddy and Crazy Domains for Trellian and Drop lol

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  • Avatar
    March 8, 2021 at 10:54 am
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    If auDA made the complainants process “not anonymous” 90% of complaints would drop away.

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    • Avatar
      March 8, 2021 at 1:48 pm
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      auDA are sick of dumb complaints, that’s why they’ve changed the policy. They’re sick of being a hotline for idiotic and impotent wishful thinkers.

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      • Avatar
        March 8, 2021 at 1:52 pm
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        If you or someone you know is an idiotic / impotent wishful thinker and needs counselling, there is help, for a limited time. Phone auDA to have your vexatious complaint heard before April 12.

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      • Avatar
        March 8, 2021 at 1:53 pm
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        I’m sure auDA would word this a little differently, but I tend to agree with you, H.

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  • Avatar
    March 9, 2021 at 8:46 am
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    In 2019/2020 auDA received a total of 4,458 complaints and 3,426 enquiries. The average time to close a complaint was 14 days.

    Good luck with that.

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    • Avatar
      March 9, 2021 at 10:59 am
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      WOW, that’s good data, Mr Cottons.

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      • Avatar
        March 9, 2021 at 5:04 pm
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        Multiply that number if when conflicted names are introduced.

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  • Avatar
    March 9, 2021 at 12:32 pm
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    Under the Complaints (Registrant Eligibility) Policy No 2004-01 the complaints were meant to be directed to the registrars so there’s nothing new here for them to deal with. I think auDA are just making it clear now that they don’t want the complaints coming straight to them.
    Policy 2004
    3. COMPLAINTS-HANDLING PROCESS
    3.1 Where a person believes that a registrant no longer exists or is no longer eligible to hold their domain name licence, that person should lodge a complaint with the registrar of record for the domain name (disclosed on the WHOIS service).
    3.2 On receipt of a complaint about the eligibility of a registrant, the registrar must reconfirm the eligibility details of the registrant (for example, check that the registrant’s company, business name or trade mark registration is still current). If the eligibility details are current, the registrar is not required to take any further action.
    3.3 If the registrant’s eligibility details are not current, or if the registrant no longer exists, the registrar is required to follow the process outlined in sections 4 and 5 below.

    • Avatar
      March 9, 2021 at 5:13 pm
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      Its probably more realistic to assume auDA got sick of registrars hand balling complaints to auDA?

      The question is, do the registrars actually have the personnel and processing capability to resolve the number of complaints before escalating it to auDA. It appears they do not because its easy to handball it to an already established complaint management system.

      In that regard, auDA failed to properly prepare, train, and provide registrars with important complaint management procedures and processes. I hope the registrars are now getting this type of support and training from its regulator.

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      • Avatar
        March 10, 2021 at 2:58 am
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        Registrars can more easily be sued if they make an error in judgement that results in loss of domain or even just business interruption.

        auDA is therefore putting the risk on registrars and most registrars will deny complaints, because denial means no risk.

        Registrars have no duty to complainants, whereas they have contractural duties to existing registrants and can be sued for wrong decisions.

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    • Avatar
      March 9, 2021 at 7:25 pm
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      No Peter, that’s for one part of the (old) policy only.

  • Avatar
    March 10, 2021 at 1:22 pm
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    https://www.internetcommerce.org/registrar_sues_auda_for_deleting_domain_name/

    Registrar sues auDA for deleting domain name

    December 4, 2008 By Philip Corwin

    Domain Directors, and its associated company, Instra Corporation, an auDA and ICANN accredited registrar, is continuing with its litigation against auDA.

    The Supreme Court of Queensland today set down this litigation for trial for 2 February 2009.

    In November, Domain Directors, an auDA and ICANN accredited registrar, commenced legal proceedings against auDA, the Australian domain name policy and regulatory body.

    auDA had unilaterally suspended the registration of the domain name auregistry.com.au, and was in the process of cancelling Domain Director’s registration of this domain name.

    auDA had asserted that a third party had made a complaint regarding Domain Director’s eligibility to own this domain name.

    Domain Directors has owned and used the auregistry.com.au domain name for over eight years, without any issue.

    Once challenged, auDA backed down and revealed that there was no third party complaint. auDA also reinstated the domain name and consented to court orders.

    Days later, auDA then restarted the cancellation process, stating that there was a second complaint to auDA.

    When auDA was challenged regarding the second complaint, Chris Disspain, the CEO of auDA responded “I am handling this issue. The request for eligibility information is not the result of an external complaint.”

    Today in court, Mr Justice Chesterman asked the parties, “where does auDA’s power to cancel domain names come from?” He decided that the issues raised in Domain Director’s lawsuit were important commercial issues that required speedy resolution.

    Tony Lentino, the CEO of Domain Directors, was pleased with the court’s actions.

    “I look forward to my day in court. auDA is not above the law and must behave properly.

    Chris Disspain cannot just decide to delete someone’s domain name without good reason.”

    Mr Lentino said that Domain Directors is preparing for trial. “auDA’s actions in deleting one of our long standing domain names was the final straw.

    We had no choice but to stand up to them. auDA should be subject to more external scrutiny.

    They are supposed to be a custodian of the Internet in Australia.”

    John Swinson, partner of Mallesons Stephen Jaques, representing Domain Directors said:
    “This case will set important precedent in Australia and clarify auDA’s roles and powers.”

    Result… auDA lost:

    Domain Name: AUREGISTRY.COM.AU
    Registry Domain ID: D407400000001021775-AU
    Registrar WHOIS Server: whois.auda.org.au
    Registrar URL:
    Last Modified: 2021-02-07T15:51:13Z
    Registrar Name: Domain Directors Pty Ltd trading as Instra
    Registrar Abuse Contact Email:
    Registrar Abuse Contact Phone:
    Reseller Name:
    Status: serverRenewProhibited
    https://afilias.com.au/get-au/whois-status-codes#serverRenewProhibited
    Status Reason: Not Currently Eligible For Renewal
    Registrant Contact ID: C0059998-AR
    Registrant Contact Name: THE MANAGER
    Tech Contact ID: C0060000-AR
    Tech Contact Name: Tony Lentino
    Name Server: NS1.INSTRADNS.COM
    Name Server: NS2.INSTRADNS.COM
    DNSSEC: unsigned
    Registrant: Domain Directors Pty Ltd
    Registrant ID: ACN 100 504 596
    Eligibility Type: Other

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