It’s The (Domain) Economy, Stupid

One of the most successful and “cut-through” one-liners in a political campaign was used by Bill Clinton in his successful bid to become President of the USA back in 1992.

“It’s the economy, stupid” became folklore – and helped him defeat a sitting one term President.

Since that time, this phrase has been adopted by many in order to “justify actions” and “explain situations”.

It’s No Different For Direct Registrations

There were many reasons proffered as to why direct registrations should get the nod this time around.

This from the official announcement:

  • make available domain names which are shorter, more appealing and more memorable
  • give Australians more choice in deciding what domain name to register
  • respond to market demand
  • be more attractive to natural individuals than the current option,
  • strengthen the “.au brand” in a globally competitive market
  • add value to all three main categories of users – registrars and resellers, registrants and ultimate users of the .au domain name system.

Blah, blah, blah. Spin machine in overdrive.

The reality is that it comes down to the last bullet point, and the first user group mentioned there (in my humble opinion). And as I wrote earlier, there are also two important groups forgotten from this list. The Registry and the auDA.

Excluding auDA, the business model of the others has stagnated, and they need to grow the market. This was admitted to my face. That’s why direct registrations are happening.

Personally, I believe that the management of auDA is ambivalent as to whether direct registrations happen or not. Ultimately though, auDA’s decision making is governed by the Board – and pressure has been exerted (in my opinion).

No Sense Crying Over Spilt Milk

The decision has been made, and whilst many don’t like or understand it, I believe we all need to accept it.

We can moan and groan and bluster on forums and blogs, but the die has been cast. It’s not going to change unless something unforseen happens. The fact is, as individual domain investors / domainers, we are no more than a vocal, insignificant minority. That’s how we are viewed by the “powers that be”. Sure, we will be given lip-service as to how important our views are – but the reality is quite different.

We don’t have a group or an association – we are just noise which can be ignored.

By contrast, look where the power lies. It’s the registry and registrars (and by extension their re-sellers).

  • They are well organised and resourced
  • Ability to mass email a large client base with their own message
  • They have representatives on the auDA Board

By contrast, domain investors; small businesses and individual registrants have none of the above.

Let’s call a spade a spade – that’s how it currently is.

Am I Giving Up?

Absolutely not. Having been on the Names Panel, I was always aware this was going to be the result.

It happened in the UK and in New Zealand (even though there was no real demand). It’s the domain economy, stupid! Though you don’t need to do much googling to find out that they have been dismal failures to date.

So what we need to do now is:

  • Not panic – there is a long way to go yet
  • Save our energy for the real issue ahead (which is the implementation debate)
  • Get organised and get smart (just like the registrants successfully did in the UK)

More on this last point very soon …


Disclaimer 2

9 thoughts on “It’s The (Domain) Economy, Stupid

  • April 21, 2016 at 10:02 am

    Ned, I hate typing and saying .com, what should I do?

  • April 21, 2016 at 10:06 am

    I agree completely Ned, especially with the last section.

    It will be far more beneficial for domain owners to band together to help ensure the implementation works well for us, rather than just jumping onto forums and crying about it.

  • April 21, 2016 at 10:34 am

    You cant stop the big business corporate train once that gravy train takes off all the corporate pigs will be aboard . Money drives all we stomp our feet loud but as time goes on our noise becomes softer

  • April 24, 2016 at 7:30 pm

    Look at the margins many Registrars must offer these days to be competitive, versus the fixed rates that auDA / Ausreg get from every transaction.  It’s patently clear who will be getting the lions share of this wonderful innovation.



    • April 25, 2016 at 11:02 am

      Good point Cam. As with most commercial things in life, all one has to do is follow the money to see who are the true winners.

  • April 25, 2016 at 12:59 pm

    So a new competitor for Ausreg is clearly in everyones best interest.

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