Has auDA hijacked Registry.au and WHOIS.au before Direct .AU Registrations even exist?
auDA (.AU Domain Administration) is the governing body of Australian domain names.
They are currently under Government review. The Sydney Morning Herald wrote this headline late last year: auDA is “not fit for purpose, government agency finds“.
auDA created a special committee called the PRP (Policy Review Panel) late last year in an attempt to create Direct .AU Registration implementation rules. This means, they are trying to enable domainname.au to exist, along with the current standard of domainname.com.au(.)
Due to eratic ideas like “a lottery system” and an “April 2016” cut-off-date, as to who would be allowed to own a Direct .AU matching version of their .com.au domain name, the PRP publicly failed:
So much so, that one of the initial PRP Panel Members resigned, stating: “I no longer have confidence that the panel can proceed in a manner that is in the best interests of the Australian internet community” – https://www.theluckycountry.com.au/wp-content/uploads/Resignation-from-the-2017-Policy-Review-Panel.pdf
Now things have gotten worse, if you can believe it.
auDA seem to have hijacked two Direct .AU domain names before they’re available to the general public. Instead of waiting for the “first come, first served,” and “hierarchy of rights” procedure, as per auDA Policy, auDA’s CEO has determined that auDA is entitled to WHOIS.au and REGISTRY.au before Direct .AU Registrations have been approved and implemented, and against their own policies.
auDA were appointed their administrative position by the Department Of Communications in the year 1999 and are governed by their constitution.
In Section 3.1 of auDA’s constitution, it’s notes auDA’s principle purposes are to “be the administrator of … second-level domains”.
Section E of auDA’s Principal Purposes state auDA should: “manage the operation of critical technical functions including:
- the primary and secondary .au name servers;
- zone files for second level domains; and
- a searchable data base containing information on registrations within the .au ccTLD.”
Section 3.2a states:
- “ensure the continued operational stability of the domain name system in Australia”
I can only assume these are the various sections Cameron Boardman (auDA CEO) will attempt to justify his approval of self-registering and locking out the future use of domain names WHOIS.au and REGISTRY.au for the not-for-profit company?
If this is the case, it’s clear to see he has made yet another bad and ill-informed decision here.
Firstly WHOIS.com.au is owned by a private company. Dreamscape Networks. Which is actually owned by Crazy Domains. They also own the trademark WHOIS PTY LTD. How are they going to feel when they find out auDA have pre-emptively locked them out of ever owning their matching WHOIS.AU domain name?
Registry.com.au is owned by myself, under my Registry Australia Pty Ltd company. How do I feel knowing that after spending ten’s of thousands of dollars in preparation of launching my generic-word Christmas registry, drone registry, gift registry, wedding registry, domain registry and business registry platform, that I now have no chance of owning my exact-match Direct .AU version of my brand?
I’m sure you can imagine.
There are also other current owners of Australian domain names who could be entitled to WHOIS.au and REGISTRY.AU(,) including the current owners of Registry.net.au and WHOIS.net.au and Registry.org.au as a few examples.
It can quite clearly be argued that WHOIS.au and REGISTRY.au do NOT have to be registered to “ensure the continued operational stability of the domain name system in Australia“.
AusRegistry have been contracted for the past 18 years to maintain the single database that stores every Australian domain name, of which there are currently 3.1 million.
At no point in the past 18 years have AusRegistry made an attempt to purchase or obtain Registry.com.au or WHOIS.com.au – because IT HAS NOT BEEN NECESSARY TO ENSURE THE CONTINUED OPERATIONAL STABILITY OF THE DOMAIN NAME SYSTEM IN AUSTRALIA.
The Australian domain name WHOIS service, for the past 18 years has been located at: whois.ausregistry.com.au
You would think, now that Afilias has been handed the contract to take over the administration of the Australian domain name database, their logical choice would be whois.afilias.com.au and whois.afilias.au(.)
There are also no other examples where the term “Registry” is being used as “necessary to ensure operational stability” by any other ccTLD in the world.
- Registry.com – privately owned
- Registry.ca – privately owned
- Registry.nz – privately owned
- Registry.cn – privately owned
- Registry.co.uk – privately owned
- Registry.uk – privately owned
Which brings us to this very important question…
Why has Cameron Boardman, on behalf of auDA, approved the locked-out pre-emptive use of WHOIS.au and REGISTRY.au for Afilias, a multi-million dollar American corporation FOR FREE, without obeying auDA’s constitution, its policies or by running the decision by the auDA board or the PRP (Policy Review Panel)?
As mentioned at the start of this article, auDA is under government review for the first time in its 17 year history.
auDA are currently preparing themselves for a member-requested SGM (special general meeting) to be held on July 27. This is the second SGM requested by members in the past 18 months. An SGM is generally called when members are unhappy with how an organisation is being run. At the last SGM, members were successful in ousting the auDA Chairman. At this coming SGM, members are seeking to oust three auDA board members, including the new Chairman, as well as voting for “no confidence” in Cameron Boardman, auDA’s CEO.
Many members are disgruntled that auDA have been ignoring members and making decisions without any input or transparency to members.
Does this not just look like Cameron Boardman is again doing whatever he feels like without going through the appropriate channels?
You can read all about the previous and historic upcoming SGM by visiting Grumpier.com.au
For now, Cameron Boardman and auDA should be put on notice to reverse the decision to lock-out and pre-register (technically called, hijacking) WHOIS.au and Registry.au(.)
This story is still developing.
Robert Kaay – 29th May 2018