Follow The Money

Ok, so it’s back to the thorny subject of possibly introducing direct registrations sometime in the forseeable future. e.g.

Given that Australia has only 3,000,000 domains currently registered – of which 2,592,000 are – there are many people who say this is nothing more than a money grab by the “supply” side of the business.

The mantra of those wanting this change seems to be:

  • It will open up the space & allow businesses to register domains that have previously been unavailable.
  • Much shorter to type, therefore they are more appealing; more memorable; and therefore preferable.
  • They would make the domain name system simpler and easier to use.
  • Many other domain spaces around the world have done it, therefore Australia is lagging behind.

Those against it believe:

  • The current system works fine – “if it ain’t broke, why try and fix it”?
  • It will impose an unnecessary financial burden on individual registrants, small business and corporates because they will have to try and defensively register the additional domain extension to protect their current interests.

Let’s Look At Who Benefits

  • For the purpose of the exercise, I’ve made some assumptions on the potential takeup of new .au domains – and potential costs / revenue.
  • I’ve done two figures – a 15% takeup on the existing 3,000,000 registrations (450,000); and then being a bit more optimistic, I’ve shown 1,000,000 new registrations.
  • Depending upon outcome of granting rights to existing registrants; these registrations will either be “defensive” or “new registrations” – or a combination of both.
  • Costs are based on current charges for other .au extensions (I don’t imagine the new .au will be cheaper – if anything it could be more costly!).
  • Revenue to registrars / resellers is shown at 3 different levels – $5 above wholesale cost  (making a new registration $24.95); $10 above ($29.95); and $20 above ($39.25). Many registrars / resellers charge much more than this – including good old Melbourne IT who charge $149.99.
auDA Wholesale Costs
  • This table shows the potential earnings of the Registry (not necessarily AusRegistry) and the auDA (based on current wholesale costs).

Table 1A


  • This table projects the potential return to Registrars and Resellers. (Plus think of all the extra hosting business).

Table 2B


  • This table shows the possible total expenditure that registrants will have to shell out.

Table 3A



Given the stats, who does this really benefit if it goes ahead?

Doing a cost / benefit analysis, would it be worth the aggravation?

What do you think?


Important Disclaimer
  • I am a member of the auDA 2015 Names Policy Panel.
  • I am also a domainer / domain investor with a substantial portfolio of domain names.
  • I therefore have a “vested interest”.

18 thoughts on “Follow The Money

  • September 14, 2015 at 1:45 pm

    It’s an instantaneous revenue boost with not extra costs bar the emails to every current holder.

    I can see why the supply side are keen.

  • September 14, 2015 at 1:57 pm

    well presented , it really shows who is really to benefit from this and it isn’t small business.

    a definite money grab.


  • September 14, 2015 at 3:11 pm

    Great topic Ned. I think even if they were to do this they would have to reserve the .au variant for the owner for a decent period of time, similarly to how they have done it with new .uk extension.

    I for one wouldn’t be happy if I spent $100,000 on a premium only for another person to hand register the same keyword with a shorter version of the existing extension.

    Those that I’ve spoken to in the UK mostly say that the new .uk extension has been a flop so perhaps there is not as much money in it as we would think? If anything I think the majority of the registrations would be defensive.

    What do you think?

  • September 14, 2015 at 5:42 pm

    defensive registrations are going to be compulsory for my client base and that’s what sucks

    “reserving” it for the for X amount of years is just like saying ” the money will eventually come ” .

    they all aren’t promoting the survey but sure as hell they will be promoting the purchase of a .au !


  • September 14, 2015 at 9:29 pm

    I love black and white facts like this. There’s no need for the new direct ccTLD to come into existence. Ever.
    If it does, it will be exactly like when the LaserDisc came out.

  • September 15, 2015 at 9:04 am

    If this happens I’m going to be so pissed off. My wife and I have been in small business for 18 years, and over the last 3 years we’ve gone online. We have six domains that revolve around our type of business, and we’ve spent loads of money on SEO and getting noticed. If this comes in, I’m going to be forced to spend more money on new domains which I simply can’t afford. Should someone else gets these, then we’re stuffed. Wake up AUDA.

    • September 15, 2015 at 1:15 pm

      Darren, thanks for your post. Great to get a comment from small business. Please make sure you make a submission to the auDA before 30th September, 2015.

      1. Send a written submission to:

      Jo Lim, Chief Operations and Policy Officer, auDA
      email: [email protected]
      fax: 03 8341 4112

      All submissions will be posted on the auDA website (below) unless clearly marked confidential.

      The closing date for submissions is Wednesday 30 September 2015.


      2. Complete the online survey at

      Collected survey responses will be posted on the auDA website (below) at the close of the public consultation period.

      The survey will close at midnight on Wednesday 30 September 2015.

    • September 16, 2015 at 9:40 am


      The other big ticket item is the need to update collateral marketing materials (online content / links etc, stationary, billboards, etc)

      Most small business owners can’t do this alone and need to outsource this work

      In the UK they created a 5-year window to allow the incumbents to spread the cost and integrate the changes into their everyday operations (most of this stuff gets changed, or at least reviewed, every 5-years)

  • September 15, 2015 at 9:29 am

    Brett, it’s the business owners like Darren (the majority of the owners) who are going to be harmed by this.

    I guess that’s why you’re posting articles about it on TPP Wholesale and not on Melbourne IT.

    • September 15, 2015 at 5:09 pm

      Don’t let the facts get in the way of your position @david

      While I’m always happy to consider the opinions of others, let’s look at the comment from the ‘small business’ objectively. Changing SEO based on domain is a red herring. People do this every day of the week and it doesn’t adversely impact natural search. That’s exactly why we have permanent redirects.

      Also I don’t think anyone has advocated a position of rolling up all the existing third levels into a single second level ala the way .ca approached the problem. So it would be their choice to retain their branding and presence. In fact for many small businesses that is probably the right choice. Many of those businesses also have fairly unique names and it’d be unlikely they’d even need to bother registering in the second level, unless they felt it was better – again that’s about choice.

      For every comment I’ve seen by a small business talking about impact, I’ve seen one supportive of registrations in the second level. A sample size of n=1 is hardly a compelling argument, especially when it’s technically wrong.

      • September 15, 2015 at 6:30 pm

        Thanks for the links, any for Melbourne IT?

        Why don’t you ask auDA to try a sample size of 2.5 million owners.

        How about just emailing all your current customers and seeing what they think?

        • September 15, 2015 at 8:34 pm

          I’ve commented why I think a direct stakeholder engagement model is better in this forum.

          We have emailed retail and wholesale customers, we will again before the end of the submission process. Most of the people we are contacting are happy with the change, and are completing the survey in the affirmative. Same as the first round of consultation.

          NR is a direct retail brand. It has more retail customers (by many many) than MIT. Happy to post to MIT blog as well if it’ll make you feel a tiny bit better.

          • September 16, 2015 at 10:02 am

            Apologies to Ned but this forum isn’t very big and doesn’t include very many of the stakeholders that will be affected.

            It’s funny because I haven’t received any emails from you regarding this issue.

            And the posts on NR don’t really spell out how it will effect the majority (ie defensive registrations and potential loss of visitors).

            With registration costs at MelbourneIT being $149.99 and it being the original place to buy domains, I’d reckon they deserve to be informed like your other customers. I mean these are the people who will be paying $149.99 for a defensive registration right?

            You keep saying the feedback is positive which isn’t surprising as it is a reflection of what you write. I’d reckon those that disagree probably keep quiet.

  • September 15, 2015 at 10:52 am

    This is a little presumptive of the process Ned.

    The process won’t be hashed out for a long time and there are a lot of voices to be heard between now and then. It is just as likely that direct .AU registrations will be free for the first year as there is of a ‘premium’ price being applied. There has also already been much discussion regarding the need for a ‘hierarchy’ of rights to existing registrants.

    It’s understandable that domainers would need to protect the value of their assets, and I am sure this group will be taken into consideration when the final process is designed. The same importance also lies in protecting existing users who are actually using the domain name for their website and brand — and it’s important the solution would need to fit all.

    The motivation for change is for maintenance as well as growth of the .AU domain space. As an investor, would you agree that market growth is an important part of increasing the value of your investment?

    • September 15, 2015 at 11:46 am

      Thanks for taking the time to respond Gavin – I appreciate that.

      (For those that don’t know, Gavin is from Crazy Domains, and is a fellow member of the Names Panel).

      Firstly, if .au is brought in and offered free for the first year, I will donate $5000 to a charity of your choice. How much will you donate if they are not offered for free? 😉

      With respect, I think you are missing the thrust of the articles and comments here. It’s not just domainers that need to protect the value of their assets. It is the “Ma and Pa’s” – as well as thousands of small businesses (not to mention corporates).

      Your last paragraph leaves me perplexed. Read one of my earlier articles – we’re only at 3,000,000 domains in total – yet dot com is at 116,000,000 and still growing. I would submit that there is plenty of opportunity for market growth within the current system – and without angering people that are going to be forced to cough up unnecessarily.

      However, if the majority want direct registrations, I will reluctantly go along with it (provided there is protection for existing registrants). As for “hierachy of rights”, don’t get me started! I’m saving that for an upcoming blog post. 🙂


  • September 15, 2015 at 1:03 pm

    I for once think that they should only keep, or .au now similar to .in extension, otherwise there is no need for an extra level of domain name extension.

    Introduction of .au would definitely kill the value of which has been the case with when .in was introduced back in the days.

    All in all, we have seen the results in case of and extensions..

  • September 24, 2015 at 5:50 pm

    Have just been deluged with emails from the Melb IT stable of ZipHosting, NetRegistry and TPP Wholesale.

    They want everyone to just vote “yes” to every proposal on the survey.

    In fact the TPP Wholesale one goes even further:

    Every vote counts! Help secure a simpler domain in .au

    Dear The,

    Would you like to see .au available for registration directly in the second level?

    If so, you’re far from alone. We get a staggering number of requests from our retail clients for shorter and simpler domain names in the .au space.

    Recently, auDA’s panel have put together a proposal which, if approved, will see direct .au registrations become a reality.

    Going by the volume of demand and the outstanding success of similar proposals overseas, this should be extremely popular in .au.

    To ensure the proposal goes through, make your voice and those of your clients heard:

    • Cast your vote before Wednesday 30 September — vote here.
    • Encourage your clients to have their say by sending them an email with the link to the survey. We have written a whitelabel email you can use to streamline the process — download it here.

    If this proposal goes through, it will:

    • Create more options for businesses
    • Allow the registration of shorter, easier-to-remember domains
    • Reduce the risk of misdirected traffic (for example, customers typing instead of
    • Provide shorter addresses without sacrificing the visibility and trust afforded to those with an .au domain

    To find out more, refer to this month’s blog post by Brett Fenton or talk to your account manager.

    It’s time the .au space joined the rest of the world in the 21st century, and every vote counts!

    Voting closes on Wednesday, 30th September.
    Kind regards,
    TPP Wholesale Partner Services

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