.au Domain Administration Ltd (auDA) is the policy authority and self-regulatory body for the .au domain space.

In December 2000, the Australian Government formally endorsed auDA as the appropriate body to administer the .au domain space and auDA continue to regulate the Australian domain name space to this day.

auDA develops and implements domain name policy, licenses 2LD registry operators, accredits and licenses domain registrars, implements consumer safeguards, facilitates .au Dispute Resolution Policy, technically manages of the .au zone file and manages and maintains a secure and stable Domain Name System.

In January 2018, they wrote a blog entitled:

Key Principles of .au Domain Allocation

Before someone who wants to own a particular domain name goes ahead and wastes their time with making a complaint against someone who currently and legitimately owns their dream domain name, one should read the following information that features on auDA’s recent blog post:

“The rules determining who can register what .au domain names follow some key principles which help ensure the .au namespace is accessible, equitable and trustworthy.

In .au, and most other top level domains (TLDs), domain name licences are allocated on a ‘first come, first served’ basis.

If you’re the first person to apply to register a domain name you’ll be able to register it subject to your eligibility. (You also need to remain eligible for the domain name licence for the entire duration of the licence period – but that’s another topic).

If you’re starting a new business, we recommend registering any corresponding or relevant domain name(s) when you register the business with ASIC. This doesn’t mean you have to have a website ready to go or even use the domain name but it’s a measure which can potentially save some hassle in the future.

There is no hierarchy of rights in the DNS, which means a person has no better entitlement to a name in a namespace than any other person.

In practice, this long-standing principle means that ownership of a particular business name, trademark or brand DOES NOT give you greater right to a particular domain name than anyone else who might be eligible for it.

Similarly, your ownership of other domain name licences – whether .au or not – doesn’t grant you any more rights to use a particular domain name.

For any given domain name there may be multiple people who, in different ways, meet the eligibility requirements to use it, and no particular use of a domain name licence is considered more valuable than another.”

In summary, this means, as long as a domain name is owned legitimately, your best option to own your dream domain name is to offer to PURCHASE IT.

A legitimate domain name owner is anyone who owns a generic-word or geographic-word (or words), or their business name has a “close and substantial connection” to the domain name, and they’re not attempting to pass themselves off as another company and are not infringing trademark law. (Owning a domain name in itself does not infringe a trademark!)

Legitimate domain name owners TAKE GREAT OFFENCE to potential buyers who ATTACK THEM and try to STEAL their domain names (digital assets).

Domain Names are “digital real estate”. Imagine if someone knocked on your front door, at home – where you live, and told you that you had to leave your property because they wanted it instead or else they were going to sue you?!

If you need help figuring out the best “current market value” price to offer for the purchase of your dream domain name, you could try asking your Registrar or search for a qualified Domain Broker.

10 thoughts on “Legitimate Domain Name Use

  • January 13, 2019 at 3:08 pm

    Reverse name hijacking rarely happens. There are many consequences if the complainant loses:

    1. Respondent will usually ask 5-10 times more than they might have sold the name for previously.
    2. Complainant looks pretty stupid on the public record -an impotent muppet.
    3. Complainant’s counsel look even stupider -hacks / bush lawyers who obviously back losing clients because they can’t attract winning clients.
    4. Complainant loses several months fighting a losing battle instead of acquiring the name legitimately and putting it to use straight away. Several months is a long time in business.
    5. Whether or not a finding of reverse hijacking is found by the arbitrator or arbitrating panel, the losing complainant ought to/will look over their shoulder for the next few years as the respondent has every right to pursue them for damages including legal costs, business interruption and any reputation damage from the vexatious complaint. Respondent may take action in the Federal Court -a finding of reverse hijacking would be a nail in the coffin.

    There may also be consequences if the complainant wins and the respondent loses the name:

    1. Federal Court appeal, which can drag on for 12-24 months. (Again, what is 12-24 months worth in commercial terms?)
    2. Damages for loss of the name (tens of thousands of dollars, sometimes hundreds). The ‘sales results’ that are made public are wholesale prices achieved in fire-sale 24 hour auctions between die hard domainers who usually only pay 5-10% of what a name is really worth or would be worth to end users. Those who network within the industry and who have received six figure offers on .com.au and .net.au names (yes, .net.au names – it has happened eg. RealEstate.net.au) can produce plenty of evidence to substantiate a claim for damages (of 6 figures) for the loss of a prized name.
    3. Other unintended consequences.

  • January 13, 2019 at 3:44 pm

    I agree Rick,

    The vast majority of the time the Complainant loses, after spending around $3000 on the administrative process and another $10,000 on their lawyer, and then the price either skyrockets or the Complainant NEVER has a chance at owning the domain name ever again.

    To quote one of the greatest generic-domain-name sellers in the world, Mike Mann;

    “We won the UDRP domain name dispute for GroundUp.com of course. Price quadrupling now. Bastards. Any lawyer and client who goes after me is entering dangerous territory.”


  • January 13, 2019 at 4:05 pm

    Some funny ones in this article:

    NZ.gov coughs up NZ$1m for newzealand.com

    “However the UDRP rules were laid down for trademark holders so even [the domain arbitrator] was unable to bend its rules. The South African government didn’t get its domain and despite apparently offering $10 million for it, it is still owned by Virtual Countries.”

    • January 13, 2019 at 5:12 pm

      Oh wow, I’ve seen so many Complainants lose and pay so much more for the domain name, but I can’t believe I haven’t seen this one before?!

      This sentence is pure gold:

      “what [the NZ Tourism Minister] didn’t mention of course was that the $1m price tag included a premium [price tag] because the government had already tried to take the domain by force at the domain arbitrator – and was actually found guilty of domain hijacking.

      [The Domain Arbitrator] panel of three unanimously decided that the New Zealand government (acting under the name of The Queen) not only had no rights over the name, but had acted in bad faith and were guilty of reverse domain name hijacking.”

      Although the article mentions the tax payers were cross that $1 million NZ was spent, I still think that is a great deal for New Zealand to own the exact-match domain name for their country. We are talking about the year 2003 though here…. It would be worth way more than that now if a private seller was selling it!

      They would have secured the domain name cheaper if they hadn’t tried to steal it.

      Their website looks really good too! But the moral of the story is, NEVER take the dirty route of trying to STEAL a generic/geographic domain name from someone…. Contact them with respect and PAY THEM once a realistic current market value price has been agreed upon.

  • January 14, 2019 at 6:37 am

    I agree, I think they still got it pretty cheap.

    I remember America.com had an asking price of $30m at the time. Probably more now.

    In your article / comments above you refer to “current market value”. Such is relevant perhaps only where the domain owner has the domain listed for sale or actually wants to sell it. In reality, many prized domain names are held by those who have no intention of selling the name. A funny example is https://www.germany.com/

    “Current market value” is completely irrelevant to those who are not interested in selling. They may have big plans for the name or see its value appreciating much further in the future, so are happy to hold.

    So “current market value” doesn’t usually cut it, and if a buyer is genuine about actually getting the name then the best thing they can do is calculate what the name is actually worth to them in use and the (often significant) intangible value it will add to the business both now and in the future.

    • January 14, 2019 at 12:50 pm

      I get what you’re saying, Rick, true… In the fact that a large majority of domain name owners don’t ever want to sell their domain name at all!

      A potential buyer should consider themselves already “half-lucky” if the domain name owner will consider selling the name at all!

      I do like the term “current market value” though, because some domain name owners wrongfully believe their domain name is worth $10 million… when in fact it’s really worth $1500… assuming, of course, the domain name owner intends to actually sell the domain, as opposed to keeping it.

      The best way to price a domain name, is to compare it to other relevant sales. And I’m talking about other relevant “end-user” sales… not recent sales from domains that have dropped on the drop-platform market. It’s not hard to work out why drop-market sales don’t count… Good domain names will almost NEVER appear on the drop-platforms… This is where I get my “current market value” concept from.

      • January 14, 2019 at 1:44 pm

        Completely agree that it’s a win for anyone if the name is capable of being purchased in the first place.

        But na mate, value in use all the way.

        The right domain name will add more value than an extra (support / admin) team member. What’s that worth, $75k pa?

        The right domain name is also much better than flushing money down the drain on a new fitout or leasing floor space that is not required.

        The right domain name also let’s you retain a capital asset on the balance sheet, and one that may appreciate in value -quite different to SEO or Yellow Pages spending. (Usually $12-36k pa). When you exit the business you may well receive more than you paid for it.

        Market value is too vague and difficult to arrive at because so few sales are actually published. Most sales of quality names are subject to NDAs, and even when they’re not the seller usually doesn’t tell others because he wants to buy more names and do it all over again.

        Other than value in use, a buyer might otherwise do some research and consider who else might be interested in the name. Most of the time, a seller has this in the front of his mind when deciding whether it’s worth accepting an offer or not.

  • January 14, 2019 at 10:04 am

    This is slightly off topic, but a little similar in that I did feel at the time my domain was stolen from me…

    I’m just curious what are your thoughts on this scenario.

    I legit bought claims.lawyers from NameCheap. It was available.  I was looking for names, it appeared as available so I bought it and paid for it (US$32). I got a receipt for it which to me sealed the deal.

    However within 24 hours they just gave me a refund and said oops you should not have been able to buy a premium domain for that cheap.  See our premium partners if you want to buy it, you can buy it for US$50,000.

    To me they stole back what was a legit sale.  A legal transaction where a financial payment was made and accepted. However after going back and forth a few times I got this a final email (after which I gave up).

    “The issue with the domain in questions is covered by our Universal Terms of Service. The purchase failed at the registry level, it was rejected and voided from the beginning. This information can be checked HERE at paragraphs 19 and 20.

    In addition, our liability, if it existed in this case, is clearly limited to any amount paid. In our case no money was paid in the end.

    Basically, a sale for a domain is not final or legally consummated until the registry agrees. Regrettably, the Registry did not agree to approve the purchase; the money was refunded because the registry voided the sale.”

    So I was a little miffed at that – NameCheap should have taken responsibility for making the domain available to me in the first place.  To me it was their responsibility after having taken money for the domain to make sure it was finalised.


    • January 14, 2019 at 2:26 pm

      Let it go, the name isn’t worth $0.32 let alone $32 let alone $50k lol

      PS. Legally they’re right, but consider yourself the winner here as you’re not stuck with a dud name. New TLDs are junk.

  • January 14, 2019 at 3:01 pm

    Unfortunately some overseas Registrars do indeed include these fake “Buy It Now” fishing buttons, only to write back and inform you that, “Oh, we’re sorry, we can’t sell it to you for that price!”.

    I have definitely seen my own domains on a certain famous Domain Market with a Buy It Now price, even though I’m not actively selling the domain and wouldn’t accept that price if someone paid it!

Comments are closed.