As someone who has been a domain investor for nearly two decades, 2020 was my absolute best year in terms of domain sales. Due to Covid-19, people and businesses have realised that an online presence is essential. And that starts with a good domain name.
I have also seen many changes in the .au domain name space over the years. None more so than recent times!
So I thought I’d bullet point my wish list for the coming year. This covers auDA, Drop Catching, the Aftermarket and “Parking”. Many of these suggestions have been echoed by others. Please view this as a conversation starter – you may or may not agree with everything I suggest! If you have additional or alternate points of view, please share them in the comments below.
auDA Wish List
- Less red tape and better communication has been promised for years. Is it going to happen this year?
- Easy to understand information sheets regarding do’s and don’ts of policies and rules. E.g. most normal people don’t want to wade through screeds and screeds of legalese.
- Less overt and subliminal prejudice shown towards domain investors. After all, we are a vital part of the .au eco system.
- True transparency and accountability from auDA – Board, Management and Staff. There have been some issues that have not been dealt with satisfactorily. An independent Ombudsman is an absolute necessity in the opinion of many.
- Better education and oversight of foreign based registrars / resellers. There are some who simply don’t follow the rules (perhaps not purposely – it is just their systems are not geared for .au idiosyncrasies).
- Consistency in decision making.
- Education first – “punishment” as a last resort. i.e. Help registrants comply with policy and rules – allow them time for rectification.
- Find a way to discourage vexatious and anonymous complaints. Some people or businesses who don’t want to legitimately purchase a domain name on the aftermarket decide to make a complaint to auDA. Why? Because it is easy to do, and costs them nothing. Currently, anyone can look for a supposed breach of policy, and file an online complaint with a fictitious name and a throwaway email address. A genuine complainant should not have a problem in paying a small fee to lodge a complaint. And if people start mentioning “privacy concerns”, let me remind them that if you lodge an auDRP, not only do you give your details, but you have to stump up real fees! Minimum of $2k.
- The above point is going to be made more complex given that auDA is proposing to delegate complaint handling to registrars.
- Now that there is only one expired auction platform, this in my opinion is not healthy. Monopolies never are (in any industry). Competition and choice provide for a healthy and respectful eco system, so hopefully we will see new entrants coming onto the scene.
- The other thing that has been missing in recent years is transparency with the bidding process. Currently, no one knows who bid what and how much. This diminishes faith / trust in my opinion. Over two decades, there have been a few eyebrow raising events in the drop catching environment!
- A proper proxy bidding platform with usernames would be great. In the early days of Drop, you could put you maximum bid in, and, if you were the highest, you would only ever pay $1 more than the highest bid.
- Most good auction platforms let you know if you have been outbid, and give you an opportunity to increase your bid. This is a win for “the house”; and a win for the punters. In my opinion of course.
- The lack of a properly functioning / effective aftermarket platform in Australia is a crying shame waiting to be rectified. I know Drop purchased Netfleet to fix this, so hopefully this will happen soon.
- Once again though, competition and choice is paramount in my opinion. I believe there is room for more than one platform.
- Many domain investors I have spoken to have also want the ability to have aftermarket auctions. Whichever provider nails this (sooner rather than later) will have a distinct advantage.
An Australian “Parking” Platform
Because of current auDA policy, registrants using domain monetisation as their eligibility criteria need to have a landing page with appropriate links related to the domain name.
Unfortunately, the “parking providers” are all overseas based, and sometimes they create changes that don’t take into account our need for proper links! There is nothing worse than when you think you have your page monetised properly, and suddenly you get a complaint because changes have been made in the background.
So, once again, any Aussie provider that can offer compliant and financially rewarding landing pages will make a motza. 🙂
What do you think?
Do you agree or disagree?
I’m also sure there are many other things that I have missed – so please let me know in the comments.