The reason for this is that given domaining is my full-time business, I believed it was important from the start to understand the “rules” (auDA policies) – and abide by them to the best of my abilities.
However, I got one recently on a 3 letter domain, so I thought I’d share the process.
But First Some Background
- Because auDA operates on a “complaints based system”, you will only ever get a complaint if someone makes a formal online complaint – and auDA deems that the complaint has validity. In other words, some part of policy has not been complied with.
- Every week auDA gets many complaints. But what a lot of people don’t realise is that a huge percentage of these don’t even get past first base (because they are not valid complaints for a variety of reasons).
- I’ve always found auDA staff very helpful and friendly. But it’s like anything in life and business – if you are courteous in your approach (and willing to listen), then generally this is reciprocated.
- If you do get a complaint, you are given time to respond – and where possible and appropriate, to fix any breach of policy.
- If the complaint is initially upheld, you do have the right to seek an internal review at no cost. And a second level of appeal process also exists via the Registrant Review Panel.
- Contrary to urban myth, auDA do not dislike domainers. They simply expect everybody to comply with policy. That sounds fair to me.
Back in 2011, Jo Lim, Chief Operations and Policy Officer of auDA, wrote a very helpful article: “Domain Monetisation Policy explained”. (Domain monetisation is no longer a stand alone policy because it was incorporated into Domain Name Eligibility and Allocation Policy Rules for Open 2LDs (2012-04) )
This is part of what Jo said:
The final thing I’d like to say is that, contrary to popular belief, auDA does not have a vendetta against domainers and domain monetisation. Our role is simply to enforce the Domain Monetisation Policy. We strive to do this as fairly and consistently as we can, bearing in mind that some elements of the policy are inherently subjective.
We give all registrants a reasonable opportunity to respond to a complaint, be it during the investigation period before we make our determination, and/or during the 14 day pending delete period after the domain name has been deleted (policy-deleted domain names can be reinstated right up until they are due to drop).
Back To My Recent Complaint
I got a complaint from auDA on NGS.com.au – obviously made by someone who coveted the domain. 😉
Paragraph 3(a) (Schedule C) of the policy states that the “the content on the website to which the domain name resolves must be related specifically and predominantly to subject matter denoted by the domain name.”
We have reviewed the website displayed at www.ngs.com.au. Of the 15 monetised links that occur on this website, only 1 relates to ngs.com.au. Therefore we consider that the content is not related “specifically and predominantly” to the domain name.
In accordance with paragraph 5.3(a) of the Complaints Policy (2012-03) at http://www.auda.org.au/policies/auda-2012-03/, you must modify the content of the monetised website so that it relates specifically and predominantly to the domain name.
You must modify your website, and notify auDA that you have done so, by no later than 5pm on 16-Sep-2015.
If you do not take action as requested, then we will instruct the registrar of record to delete the domain name for breach of policy.
All my domains are automatically “parked” with Fabulous, and with 3 letter domains in particular, the advertising links don’t always relate to the acronym. But that’s not auDA’s problem – and they specifically say that the onus is on the registrant to provide relevant links.
So upon receipt of the complaint, I was quickly and easily able to resolve the issue. I created a 2 click lander (Fabulous offers this), and provided eight specific links to the acronym (as you can see below).
Response From auDA
This was quick and efficient. They said in part:
We note that you have modified the content on the monetised website at www.ngs.com.au. In our view, the current content is related specifically and predominantly to the domain name.
auDA will not take any further action in relation to this complaint at this time. However, please note that if the content on the monetised website changes in future so that it does not relate specifically and predominantly to the domain name, then we reserve the right to delete the domain name without notice.
Whilst I have concerns at how easy it is for anonymous people to make complaints for their own ends (more on this another time), I believe the example above shows that the system works.
Not all complaints are the same though – so if you do happen to get one, make sure you always seek advice from experienced people. Particularly if it is valuable cyber property. I’m always happy to give my opinion (no charge!) – and where necessary, I can recommend you to the best professional help.