Domainer Show – Episode 23 – .au Domain Rules (Part 1)

In this special, 23rd Episode of the Domainer Show, hosts Ed Keay-Smith and Robert Kaay speak with Scott Long and Anthony Peake from about auDA’s upcoming major changes to .au Domain Licensing Rules.

We are currently at a very important stage in the future of Australian domain names. We also discuss a lot of Australian domain name history in this show.

This is quite a long show (2 hours!), but if you can invest some time in watching, we’re sure you’ll find some great opinions on what these future rules may mean for domain investors, entrepreneurs and Australian business leaders, once they’re implemented by auDA shortly. You’ll also hear a lot about past domain name rules and drop-catching history by Anthony.

It should be noted, Domainer Show invited auDA (au Domain Administration) to come on to this show. auDA declined stating; “While we appreciate the offer, we will politely decline as the team are busily preparing for the rollout of the new licensing framework”.

It should also be noted that at 1:47:58, we discuss the reality of Direct .AU Registrations being implemented anytime soon, and Ed Keay-Smith promises to perform a “dare” if Direct .AU is ever released, at all…

17 thoughts on “Domainer Show – Episode 23 – .au Domain Rules (Part 1)

  • September 25, 2020 at 1:46 pm

    The policy we are talking about

    The most important part of which is 2.4 ELIGIBILITY AND ALLOCATION CRITERIA

    When I talk about 2.4.4. I am actually talking about 2.4.4 2) (f) (i) and (ii) where “service” and “goods” are defined as

    Service includes:
    1. a service relating to banking, insurance, and the provision of grants, loans, credit or finance;
    2. a service relating to entertainment, recreation or refreshment;
    3. a service relating to transport or travel;
    4. a service relating to gas, water or electricity;
    5. a service of a kind provided by members of any profession or trade;
    6. a service of a kind provided by government, a government or public authority or a local government;
    7. a service of a kind provided by a not for profit for the benefit of the public or a sector of the community;
    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.

    Goods has the same meaning as under section 2 of the Australian Consumer Law.

    When discussing the domain “” being used for affiliate links I was stating that I would consider it eligible under 2.4.4. 2) (f) (i) using service definition 8. which can be written as

    “A Person applying for a licence in the and namespaces must be, a commercial entity; and the domain name applied for must be: a match or synonym of the name of: a service that the Person provides; and which that Person is providing at the time of the application.” where service is defined as “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.”

    2 people like this.
  • September 25, 2020 at 7:27 pm

    Just on clause (8) I assume the domain name can link to a social media profile which does not directly provide any goods or services (i.e. twitter profile). Except that the social media profile is “related to” a broader social media platform “as a service” and that the platform advertises goods or service used by the public.

    • September 26, 2020 at 11:41 am

      for example; a Person can redirect multiple domain names to his/her social media profile because the service the person provides is communications. In this regard, the domain name itself is a communications tool. However, to be certain that a registrant does not breach other provisions, it might be a good idea to make regular posts or provide “information” on that social media platform.

      “Communication” is a very broad term, and the new licencing rules does not specify that the person must provide information relevancy to the domain name itself, only that the Person is providing “information as a service” and “communicating it via social media”

      (Just my own personal opinion.)

  • September 26, 2020 at 7:19 am

    Enjoying this, thank you Anthony for sharing your thoughts. About 38-39 mins in so far…

    The hole in the argument that gradually relaxing the prohibition on resale did not affect the number of sales occurring each year falls over when you consider that there should be fewer sales each year generally.

    Thus to have the number of sales remain constant year after year is actually a net positive.

    The reason there should be fewer sales each year (rather than sales remaining constant) is that each year fewer and fewer names are held by domain investors ie each year more names end up passing to end users who hold them more tightly.

    Anonymous likes this.
  • September 27, 2020 at 1:29 pm

    Scott, not all rights are proprietary.

    Anthony, ABN applications can be done within minutes, not 28 days.

    Scott the new rules are less complicated than the old rules.

    Rob, the rules are being loosened not tightened.

    Anthony: “[auDA’s] intention is definitely for .au to be attractive to people who aren’t eligible for’s… they want it to be useful to people who don’t qualify yet for a”

    The above is why .au will be for social media mums and backyard operators, many of whom don’t have ABN’s and many of whom barely turn a profit or pay tax. Nana’s chutney business has found a home! Move over!

    Anonymous likes this.
    • September 27, 2020 at 7:14 pm

      Hi Mark,

      I do (in part) agree with you that the rules are less complicated; However, it does appear auDA has injected a lot of legal drama into the rules; For example, the concept of providing an array of services in the definition of services is practically perplexing.

      As noted in Anthony’s comment & New Licencing Rules:

      Definition of service:
      (5) a service of a kind provided by members of any profession or trade;

      This could mean two things –
      (a) a member of a peak body engaged in professional services or trade.
      (b) any business activity involved in a profession or trade. (i.e. COMPETITION AND CONSUMER ACT 2010 SECT 95A “services” (a)(i) performance of work

      if it’s (a) then its limited to just members of a peak industry body related to a profession or trade; therefore, the definition of services is also limited to just a few industry types (1) (2) (3) (4) what about mining, real estate, construction … etc? (not all registrants are members of a profession or trade related organisation)

      if its (b) then the meaning of (5) as (b) makes (1) (2) (3) (4) redundant.

      Does it actually mean both (a) & (b)?

      There is nothing in the explanatory guide to interpret this simple little clause. Zip.

      Anonymous likes this.
      • September 27, 2020 at 8:30 pm

        ? A profession is a paid occupation. Don’t overthink it.

        • September 28, 2020 at 12:24 am

          Based on your own reasoning, (1) (2) (3) (4) is redundant compared to (5).
          So, why fill this document with redundant clauses?

          A profession is a paid occupation – but is it?

          Given today’s fast-changing environment of knowledge and expertise, it’s now generally understood that simply deriving an income from a particular task might make you an “expert” or “good at your job” – but if you’re a “professional”, this has a broader meaning.

          Key definitions

          A profession is a disciplined group of individuals who adhere to ethical standards. This group positions itself as possessing special knowledge and skills in a widely recognised body of learning derived from research, education and training at a high level, and is recognised by the public as such. A profession is also prepared to apply this knowledge and exercise these skills in the interest of others.

          A professional is a member of a profession. Professionals are governed by codes of ethics, and profess commitment to competence, integrity and morality, altruism, and the promotion of the public good within their expert domain. Professionals are accountable to those served and to society.

          Anonymous likes this.
          • September 28, 2020 at 6:05 am

            ?… I’m off to buy some great domains.

            2 people like this.
  • September 28, 2020 at 10:39 am

    Bruce Tonkin auDA COO

    .AU POLICY CHANGE May 20, 2008

    From: Bruce Tonkin
    Sent: Thursday, 14 June 2007 7:40 PM
    To: [email protected]
    Subject: Melbourne IT response to the 2007 Names Policy Panel issues
    paper, May 2007

    Hello Jo,

    Please find below Melbourne IT’s response to the 2007 Names Policy Panel, issues paper of May 2007.

    Bruce Tonkin
    Chief Technology Officer
    Melbourne IT
    ( now auDA COO)

    (1) Should .au be opened up to direct registrations (e.g If yes, should there be any policy rules, and if so what rules?

    Melbourne IT is opposed to opening up registrations at the top level of .au.

    The present naming structure has allowed for a stricter policy to apply to for businesses,
    whilst also supporting less stringent requirements for non-profit organisations via, or
    individuals via The naming structure also provides an indication to the user of the nature
    of the licence holder. This contrasts with the .com and .org domains, where anyone is allowed to
    register in either of these spaces, and the distinction is no longer meaningful.

    There is also the possibility for multiple registrants to use the same name, whilst still distinguishing
    their nature.

    For example a name like used by Flinders Camping is easily distinguished from which is the University. This provides more opportunity for registrants to get a simple and easy to remember domain name, and takes advantage of the hierarchy which is a key feature of the DNS.

    The existing second level domains are widely recognised in Australian and internationally.

    A key drawback of introducing names directly at the top level could be damage to the businesses of existing registrants, when registrations at the top level are made to trade off their reputations.

    There would be a significant cost to businesses to try to protect their brands in the top level without any specific gain from a consumer perspective.

    Whilst other cctlds have indeed increased their volumes of registration since opening up the top level
    of their ccTLD to direct registration, this has generally occurred at the same time as relaxing the policy
    for registrations as well as changing the price point.

    auDA has already significantly relaxed the rules for domain name registration since 2002, and the growth of the .au namespace has tracked the international average for growth.

    (2) Should the policy rules for,,, and be changed? If yes, what changes should be made?

    Melbourne IT supports the current policy rules which have already been through regular stages of evolution, and have provided a stable environment for the growth and use of the .au domain name space.

    (3) Should registrants be allowed to sell their .au domain names?

    Melbourne IT is in favour of registrants being able to transfer their domain name licence to another eligible party.

    The eligible party would need to comply with the policy rules. The policy rules should be designed
    to protect against various infringements of trademarks, rather than creating separate rules for transfers of licence.

    Currently most of the short and easy to remember domain names have been registered in In an open market, registrants place a different value on names according to their likely return from using that name as the identifier for their business.

    These short and easy to remember domain names are not available to the majority of Australian businesses. Either the existing registrant will continue to hold onto the domain name
    as long as they are receiving an economic benefit larger that the current fee to renew the domain name, or if the existing registrant neglects to renew the domain name, professional domain name monetizers will re-register it the second it becomes available again for re-registration.

    There are examples of businesses that obtained their domain name licences under auDA’s auction process for generic names, or its process for obtaining geographic names, that are not effectively using these names, but would not be prepared to simply allow the licence to lapse given the high price they paid for the name.

    Many of these registrants would be prepared to transfer their names to another eligible registrant at lower cost than what they paid for to at least recover part of their investment.

    auDA is being hypocritical by charging high fees for some names, but not allowing the registrant to transfer the name to another eligible registrant.

    Allowing an orderly market for the transfer of domain name licences, and the re-registering of expired domain Name licences, will ensure that domain names are held by those that can make the most effective use of the domain name. The most effective use of any given name is usually not to place the name on a parked page to receive advertising. Overtime more and more names are being ineffectively utilised in this way.

    Melbourne IT believes allowing the transfers of domain name licences consistent with the policy rules, ensures that there will be efficient reuse of domain names.

    Melbourne IT also notes that this is the approach used for most gTLDs and ccTLDs, and also by the Australian Government with respect to phone numbers that can be dialled with alpha-numeric keypads (e.g 1800 PIZZA etc), or vanity car licence plates that are used to identify a particular car.

    • October 4, 2020 at 10:48 pm

      It’s a different market now from 2007 when only around 800000 to 900000 domain names were registered but I have no doubt that we would still be having the same debate irrespective of how many names were registered.

  • September 28, 2020 at 10:42 am

    auDA’s year of expensive advertising of the “Structure of the .au domain name system” is important for people to watch and it does make sense doesn’t it?

    Why does auDA say we have these domain name extensions in Australia?

    • September 29, 2020 at 1:50 pm

      .au poses no threat to and not even

      I see no point in heated debates over this rubbish

  • October 4, 2020 at 6:39 pm

    A great show guys, lots of useful information for the upcoming changes…

    • October 6, 2020 at 12:06 pm

      That aren’t upcoming anymore

      • October 7, 2020 at 6:55 pm

        AFAIK, the new policy framework is not in effect yet (commencement date TBA), nor are direct .au registrations.

  • October 21, 2020 at 6:33 am

    Finally got a chance to watch through this episode. Extremely informing and useful to have different real examples, and how those domains will now be treated by AuDA.

    It’s very rare to have an industry registrar like Anthony provide such good guidance to people on how to keep compliant, and to also help humanize an otherwise very faceless and mysterious industry. Thanks Anthony and Drop for participating!

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