Believe it or not, I received an auDA complaint last week about a particular 3 letter domain name. Yes, good old innocent me, who always trys and plays by the rules (and encourages others to do the same).
I had purchased this domain on the expired auctions, and, unbeknown to me, it was on the official “auDA Misspellings List”. I never imagined that a 3L acronym domain would be on such a list!
auDA had done one of their regular audits, and so I received an email telling me in part that:
“Under the Prohibition on Misspellings Policy (2008-09) available at http://www.auda.org.au/policies/auda-2008-09/ a person may not register a domain name which is a misspelling of an entity, personal or brand name that does not belong to them, in order to trade on the reputation of the other entity, person or brand.
The above domain name is on the list of prohibited misspellings and therefore we have instructed the registrar of record to place it into policy delete. The domain name will be in “pending delete” status for 14 calendar days, and then it will be dropped from the registry and become available for registration on a first come, first served basis. Please refer to paragraph 7.2 of the Domain Renewal, Expiry and Deletion Policy (2010-01) at http://www.auda.org.au/policies/auda-2010-01.”
The Good News
Whilst I think that this policy sucks for all the reasons mentioned in my previous article on the subject, auDA does give you 14 days to make your case that the domain name is “not a misspelling”. This is from the same email:
“If you can provide evidence to demonstrate that the domain name is not a prohibited misspelling as defined in the policy, then you must do so before the end of the pending delete period.
If we determine that your registration of the domain name does not breach the policy, then we will instruct the registrar of record to reinstate the domain name.”
The system does work. I responded to the complaint the same day … this was part of what I wrote:
“This is an acronym domain, and is being used as per the domain monetization guidelines of auDA policy. See screenshot below of the domain lander with acronyms relating to the letters “- – -”. This lander was in place prior to receiving your complaint. If you need me to make any further changes to the landing page, I am happy to do so.
Therefore, as per 6.3 of the policy, I respectfully ask that you instruct the registrar to reinstate the domain name please.”
The Policy Officer at auDA (Liz) was great. Within 48 hours, I received an email from her telling me that auDA had considered my response, and determined that this was not a misspelling in terms of their policy. The domain would therefore not be deleted.
Whilst I’m happy with the result – and the professionalism and courtesy of Liz at auDA – I once again wonder why is such a policy really necessary? It takes up valuable resources of auDA that could surely be used in better areas.
auDA does not need a misspellings list – and certainly not one that contains some brands and not others. There is just no consistency in this approach.
Brands and businesses are already protected under auDA policy – see Schedule C – Clause (3b).
Ned O’Meara – 16th January 2017