Monetisation 101 Part 1: .au Policies

Monetisation

Monetisation is a key source of income for many domainers. I was a monetiser long before I became a domainer and my developed sites are still a very good source of income.

For .au domainers, monetisation is actually required in order to meet auDA policies. This is both good and bad. It’s good because otherwise domainers wouldn’t be eligible to hold most .au domains (so maybe ‘great’ is a better word!). It’s bad because it means that the usage of domains is dictated by policy, which is not ideal in my opinion.

My personal opinion is that usage should have no bearing on determining the eligibility of .au domain licenses (registrations), because all this does is limit the capacity for innovation. In an ideal world, the allocation criteria (see below) would be completely removed, focussing instead on registrant eligibility.

In order to register (and retain) a .au domain, there are two sets of criteria that must be met (paraphrased for readability):

  1. Eligibility – is the registrant eligible to license the domain name?
  2. Allocation – is there a legitimate reason for the domain name to be allocated to the registrant?

The Domain Monetisation Policy applies specifically to the second set of criteria, which provides two legitimate reasons for allocation:

  1. exact match, abbreviation or acronym of registrant’s name; or
  2. otherwise closely and substantially connected to the registrant (known as the “close and substantial connection rule”).

The Domain Monetisation Policy allows domainers to register .au domain names, for monetisation purposes, under the close and substantial connection rule. Without this policy, domainers would not be eligible to hold most or indeed all of their .au domain portfolios.

There are also other conditions that must be met, including that:

“the content on the website to which the domain name resolves must be related specifically and predominantly to subject matter denoted by the domain name”.

auDA applies a ‘reasonableness test’ to determine if the content satisfies this condition: “would a reasonable person regard the content as related specifically and predominantly to the domain name?”

You can read about the auDA policy requirements in detail here (section 11) and here.

Monetisation options

As the title suggests (i.e. ‘Part 1’) – there are many ways to monetise a domain. The Domain Monetisation Policy accounts for this, as illustrated by the excerpt below:

11. ALLOCATION CRITERIA – “DOMAIN MONETISATION” IN COM.AU AND NET.AU

11.1 In the com.au and net.au 2LDs, in addition to the categories of close and substantial connection listed in paragraph 10.5 above, it is also permissible to register a domain name for the purpose of domain monetisation under the close and substantial connection rule. Examples of domain monetisation include:

a) resolving the domain name to a website or landing page containing pay per click advertising links (also known as “parked pages”);

b) resolving the domain name to a website or landing page containing content such as general information, news articles, product reviews, blog posts and images, with the primary intent of generating revenue from third party affiliate or commission programs or pay per click advertising;

c) resolving the domain name to a website that contains directory listings;

d) redirecting the domain name to another domain name under a third party affiliate or commission program;

e) using the domain name to provide featured advertising services; and

f)  using the domain name for traffic optimisation purposes.

Up next…

I’ll be delving into the various monetisation approaches in future articles – so stay tuned!

We’ll start with domain parking in part 2 of the ‘Monetisation 101’ series.