What I mean by “fake registrations” is that I believe some people are using the ABN or ACN details of legitimate companies or businesses to purchase domain names at the expired domain auctions.
I’m not sure how many times this has happened, but I first raised this about a suspicious transaction supposedly involving the National Australia Bank. Have a look at my Daily Snippets post back on 2nd May – “Is This Legit?“.
Then I noticed that a domain investor raised a similar issue on DNTrade earlier this month. This has apparently been reported to Netfleet by the legitimate owner of the business. And not just once either – ticket after ticket apparently goes unanswered.
So I did some further digging, and now believe this is more of a widespread problem. And not only for the person above (where I found at least a further dozen names that had also been purchased using his details).
I have so far discovered a number of highly suspicious registrations, and I believe I am probably only scratching the surface. For example, health-clinic.com.au and bestofwa.com.au were recently bought at the expired auctions by a company supposedly called Bremco Metal Products based in Queensland. If you compare the WhoIs details of these two domains with that of Bremco.com.au (the website for Bremco Metal Products), there is one subtle difference. You guessed it! It’s the email address.
Now I may be wrong, and if I am, I apologise. However, this just doesn’t pass the sniff test.
It seems to be only happening on Netfleet, though in fairness to them, once again I may be incorrect (perhaps it is more noticeable given that they win 95% of drops). Hopefully, they will now take some action.
I must stress that I am not accusing Netfleet of doing anything untoward – it’s just that their platform is being used (by some) in a manner that it shouldn’t be.
How Does This Happen?
- Select any random business and get their ABN or ACN.
- Create throwaway email address with someone like Google or Yahoo or Outlook.
- Purchase disposable or rechargeable Visa or Mastercard debit card at somewhere like Woolworths or Coles. Or even worse, use someone else’s credit card details without their knowledge.
- Armed with the above, create online account with Netfleet (takes a couple of minutes).
- Start trading.
How Does This Affect The Integrity Of The .au Namespace?
Do I really need to bullet point this? 😉 Oh alright, here’s a few reasons:
- The .au namespace is highly regulated by auDA in order to protect it’s hard won integrity. Therefore, every registrant must be eligible to purchase a domain. No ifs, buts, or maybe’s.
- Registrants must be Australian; or at least eligible to do business in Australia. i.e. they must for instance have an ABN or ACN; or a trademark / trademark application.
- An unsuspecting business owner could unwittingly become a cybersquatter by virtue of some “nice person” using their details to purchase a domain name that used to belong to a brand or business.
- These “new buyers” could outbid genuine businesses who are seeking to purchase a domain name for their operation.
There are plenty more when you think about it.
As the administrator of the .au domain namespace, one of auDA’s primary responsibilities is to preserve policy integrity.
Here are two relevant clauses from the 2012-04 – Domain Name Eligibility and Allocation Policy Rules for the Open 2LDs
4.1 It is the responsibility of auDA to preserve the integrity of the .au domain by ensuring that the policy rules are applied correctly and enforced as necessary. auDA reserves the right to revoke any domain name licence that has been granted, or subsequently held, in breach of the relevant policy rules.
5.1 Where auDA considers on reasonable grounds that a registrant has made a false warranty to the registrar regarding their compliance with the policy rules, or otherwise acted in bad faith in order to obtain the domain name licence, auDA reserves the right to revoke the domain name licence.
So I believe auDA needs to step up to the plate here, and nip this type of activity in the bud.
What do you think?
Disclaimer by Ned O’Meara – Webmaster