As many people know, the .au domain space is potentially in for a bit of a shake-up.
The auDA 2015 Names Policy Panel has now released its draft recommendations about the use and allocation of .au domain names, the most notable of which is a proposal that Australians should be allowed to register domain names directly under .au (such as abc.au or myname.au). This has not been possible in Australia before.
- I am a member of the Names Policy Panel, and I’ve attended every panel meeting this year – except for the last meeting on 6th August when these draft recommendations were formulated (I was in India).
- I am also a domainer / domain investor with a substantial portfolio of com.au domain names.
So what’s going to happen?
Yesterday I received many worried phone calls and emails from fellow domainers / domain investors. They had read the draft recommendations, and most were perturbed by what they deemed to be perceived threats to the future of their domain holdings.
Obviously I am not at liberty at this stage to discuss the workings of the Names Panel.
Suffice to say that the Panel comprises 23 members representing key stakeholders in the Australian domain name system, including auDA Board members, auDA members, auDA accredited registrars, domain name resellers, domain name holders (registrants), domainers, business, consumers, government, law enforcement, legal sector, IT industry and Internet users.
Given the diversity of the Panel, discussions and opinions can be robust at times. 😉
Nothing is set in stone
- The most important thing to remember is that your opinion counts. That’s why this has gone out for public consultation.
- If you agree or disagree on aspects of the draft recommendations, then you need to speak up now; or “forever hold your peace”.
- If the overwhelming opinions received (either by survey or written submission) are for or against certain aspects of the recommendations, then quite clearly they will be taken into account at the next Panel meeting in October.
- Both the NZ and UK name spaces had similar public consultation processes in the last couple of years, and ultimately it was the “public” who helped determine their final direction. In the UK case, there was a huge public backlash as to the initial recommendations of Nominet – so much so that the process was re-started and ultimately revised to take into account the rights of existing registrants.
- The Names Panel were not empowered in the terms of reference to suggest how implementation of any possible future changes would be determined and managed. This will be up to the auDA Board. (Many of us including myself have strong opinions though!).
- It is not the Names Panel who will make the ultimate decision as to the future of the .au space. A final set of recommendations will be given to the auDA Board – they will determine the final outcome.
Comments can be submitted in one of two ways – and must be received no later than 30th September 2015.
1. Send a written submission to:
Jo Lim, Chief Operations and Policy Officer, auDA
fax: 03 8341 4112
All submissions will be posted on the auDA website unless clearly marked confidential.
2. Complete the online survey at https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/WKZZLPV
Closing date for submissions is Wednesday 30 September 2015