Draft recommendations from the 2015 Names Policy Panel

The 2015 Names Policy Panel released an Issues Paper in April this year seeking views on the policy framework for .au domains.

Today the Panel has released its draft recommendations, following the initial consultation period for the Issues Paper. Below is a short excerpt from the release:

The main recommendation is that, in principle, Australians should be able to register domain names directly under .au (eg. myname.au).
The Panel also proposes some other changes:

  • the domain name licence period should be from 1 ‐ 5 years (currently it is two years)
  • the policy relating to business names should be updated, to reflect the national business names registration system that came into effect in 2012
  • the policy prohibiting misspellings should be retained, but there should be more flexibility in the way it is enforced.

There is now a further public consultation period, to allow stakeholders the opportunity to share their views on the draft recommendations. Submissions close on 30 September 2015 and can be made by email, fax or through an online survey. For further details see the auDA website.

An article discussing the prospect of allowing direct registrations under .au was published on The Conversation this morning (also republished on StartupSmart). The author of the article is Derek Whitehead, Chair of the Names Policy Panel.

In the interests of full disclosure, Ned is a member of the Names Policy Panel and I also personally made a submission on the Issues Paper (and will be making a further submission on the draft recommendations). Don’t forget to have your say!

17 thoughts on “Draft recommendations from the 2015 Names Policy Panel

  • August 19, 2015 at 7:05 pm

    One of the most important proposals is that (for the first time) individuals could be entitled to register a domain name without an ABN.

    • August 19, 2015 at 7:10 pm

      Yes, that would be a big change! And a good one in my opinion.

  • August 20, 2015 at 1:00 pm

    My portfolio mainly generic names. I’d be pissed if it’s opened. They should just convert all .com.au’s to .au’s.

    Opening it up to anyone is dumb as it will negate the confidence in the .au’s from scammers and spammers.

    • August 20, 2015 at 1:33 pm

      Thanks for commenting David.

      The issues being considered will certainly have a big affect on many of us, myself included. I encourage you to raise your concerns through a submission or response to the online survey.



      • August 20, 2015 at 9:46 pm

        The survey is pretty confusing in a number of places. I wonder if that was intentional?

    • August 28, 2015 at 1:29 pm

      .COM.AU is historically the highest level commercial domain you can get in Australia. In marketing terms it is a TLD (top level domain) for every single registrant and millions of Australian businesses have invested in this convention. To alter decades long convention is extremely costly, problematic and confusing for businesses as it affects absolutely every single entity in Australia – there has been no genuine consultative process with registrants as these registrants are each and every business entity in Australia from each and every category of business there is – only domain specific industries are aware of this impending disaster. The proposed benefits of .au under the current proposal monetizes this registry only for the benefit of auDA, ausregistry, and large domain registrars – at great cost, risk and disadvantage to millions of current registrants.

      .COM.AU equals .AU to every single Australian business and to the millions of customers. .COM.AU is for all intents and purposes the same as .AU – it started as our highest level domain and should remain so. It is too late to demote it.

      I doubt auDA has hundreds of millions of dollars allocated to finance the marketing campaign to educate consumers over many years to address the confusion this will cause, or to pay for reaching each and every business so they fully understand the implications of the proposal to cannibalise .COM.AU with a new namespace that would pass off as their existing business (not with an unread spammy email by with calls, tv campaigns, field officers, over many years etc). I also doubt auDA has the funds to even support and manage the exponential increase in disputes costs that will arise from court cases.

      The only reasonable solution to respect the trillions of dollars in investment in brands and good will at stake that is currently guaranteed by an orderly DNS. There is no credible basis to destroy all the decades of investment in .com.au for a quick cash sale of a duplicitous registry to a privileged few.

      Current registrants are entitled to benefit from marketing .AU internationally – .COM.AU has been the trusted commercial registry for Australian entities, to take away this status is theft. The current .AU policy is like the council selling the footpath, grass verge and public street to developers to build high rise buildings in front of your property – it only benefits vested interests and does not benefit all those affected by the changes.

      I recommend mirroring the .COM.AU registrant records with .AU records, at zero cost or effort by a single registrant – this is smart, cheap and highly effective at generating the greatest marketing value out of .AU/.COM.AU brand domestically and globally. It would deliver maximum benefit to maximum stakeholders. Registrants could alter their DNS records for .AU/.COM.AU if desired, but the default is a mirror and the registrant is only able to have one legal entity as Registrant for both .COM.AU and .AU.

      Monetising the .AU namespace as it is currently proposed only serves a tiny vested interest and disadvantages the entire pool of registrants, registrars and consumers now and into the future. Whomever was involved in this proposal have not consulted the stakeholders or if they had, they could not have arrived at what appears to be a predetermined vested interest serving policy.

      • August 29, 2015 at 5:34 pm

        That’s a well argued point of view Ben. Hope you submitted this to the Names Panel!

        Not sure if your “mirror” suggestion will ever get up (even though I can see some potential merit in it). It wouldn’t satisfy those that want to increase the pool of available names.

  • August 21, 2015 at 7:57 pm

    Concerns have been raised regarding this proposed change

    Contact the Federal Small Business Minister http://bfb.ministers.treasury.gov.au/contact/

    Concerns expressed by small business owners so far include;
    – Increased cost. Businesses needing to again defense register even more extensions
    – Increased competition
    – Confusion
    – Increased red tape
    – Increased Domain name disputes and associated costs
    – IP/ Trademark issues, lawyers fees
    – Damage to existing businesses investment of the branding and business
    – Conflicts of Interest
    – Due process given to Millions of small business owners to have a say and be informed fully on the proposed Auda changes
    – Concerns about public press releases, media releases, blog announcements being made and and seemingly promoting an outcome already.

    • August 21, 2015 at 8:10 pm

      Now clearly this comment is NOT by The Hon Bruce Billson MP! 😉 I almost didn’t approve the comment for that reason, but I think the sentiment is fair – if you have concerns about the (draft) proposals for .au, then by all means raise them with the government.

  • August 21, 2015 at 9:33 pm

    It seems strange people who can make such a decision to change a whole countries system in such a way can also make a profit from it and not be made to abstain from voting or input.

    It appears an obvious conflict of interest is taking place and millions of .com.au owners are not aware at all what Auda, its board and panel is deciding.

    Has Auda emailed every domain name owner and clearly outlined the proposed change or are they making a decision based on selected parties financial interests

    Obviously if Auda, Netregistry, registrars have it passed they will make $ million extra a year…..and secure their own jobs and incomes perhaps?

    Trademark, IP lawyers etc also will be pushing for it so they can make some money from the disputes

    Who are the members of Auda, the board and the panel. Is there any conflict of interest?

    It seems like Auda, Netregistry etc are heavily promoting the change as a done deal ( albeit it while inviting feedback to appear to be fair) or why do such press releases and media announcements

    Auda, Netregistry and some registrars ( Melbourne It etc) has been pushing for this for years as it gives them more income.. more scared .com,.au owners needing to again be blackmailed into buying a .au to protect their business

    Netregistry even states this themselves..


    Today there are more choices for your business than ever before. over the different options available to your business in the .com.au and .net.au Top Level Domains……………….

    Some businesses may choose to register a .net.au Domain Name if the .com.au version of their name is unavailable and vice versa.

    Also, many businesses register a .com.au and .net.au version of their company name, products, profession to protect their branding. This helps eliminate confusion in the marketplace if someone else happens to register the same name in a different namespace.”

    All that Auda, Netregistry and the registrars are trying to do is make 3 million mainly businesses have to buy a .au in addition to their .com.au or .net.au

    It is nothing but blackmail

    • September 4, 2015 at 9:58 am

      Netregistry =! Ausregistry

  • August 22, 2015 at 12:25 am

    Maybe its time the administration of the domain space was put out to tender again. Time for the Communications Department to go to tender.

    Time to VOTE OUT AUDA and get new administrators in place, maybe even government.

    It is clear Auda’s few staff want to secure more money for themselves and same with the registrars and Ausregistry.

    Anyone who will make massive profits from the change ( auda and ausregistry) should have no right to vote or make policy change, nor should their stooges and mouthpieces. It should be Federal Government and all 2 + million .com.au domain owners deserve a vote.

    Every .com.au owner will be affected.

  • September 16, 2015 at 11:41 am

    Should be the same rule as is with the new .uk if you already have the .com.au no one else can grab the .au version

  • September 16, 2015 at 3:47 pm

    Just like all other gTLDs (.sydney and .melbourne included) this will be another total flop.
    Don’t waste your money.

    Unless the sale of .com.au is stopped and/or retired .au will never come to fruition.

    The marketing and effort in promoting .au over .com.au is a mammoth task and who is going to fund it? Auda? I doubt it.

    .com.au domains are as safe as houses. I’m off to buy some more…

  • September 17, 2015 at 8:12 am

    Verisign have just produced their 2nd Quarter Report for 2015, and this shows that .com is still growing. https://www.verisign.com/assets/domain-name-report-september2015.pdf

    “As of June 30, 2015, the base of registered names in .com equaled 118.5 million names, while .net equaled 15 million names”.

    The obvious question remains: do we really need to effectively double our .au market when we are still only sitting at 3 million registrations?

Comments are closed.