Names Panel Is Over

International Country Code Sign - AustraliaLast Thursday was the final Names Panel meeting. As usual, I travelled down from Townsville to participate in person (the only meeting I missed was when I was at DomainX Conference in India in August).

As most people are now aware, the main issue for this panel was the issue of “direct registrations” – being able to register a domain name without putting the .com in front of the .au. eg. rather than

It’s been an interesting panel – a good mix of people representing the majority of stakeholders in the industry. I made some new friends – and, it is fair to say, I “strained” some previous friendships with my minority stance on a few of of the issues. But I’d like to think that we still all respect each others right to express opinions.

The panel was ably chaired by Derek Whitehead who I believe had an unenviable task of trying to mould some form of majority consensus on issues. As usual, Jo Lim was the calm, methodical and respected administrator who tied it all together.


  • It’s no secret that the consensus of the Names Panel was that direct registrations be permitted. That was the basis of the Draft Recommendations sent out for public comment back in August 2015.
  • Following robust discussions last Thursday, the Final Report is now being drafted. This will be submitted to the auDA Board for their consideration – and, depending upon that outcome, it should be available publically in due course.
  • The Names Panel Terms of Reference specifically excluded us considering potential implementation mechanisms. However, we were able to make comments and suggestions to the auDA Board regarding issues that we felt should be considered as part of implementation. The Draft Recommendations from August felt that not affording any prior rights to existing registrants would be considered to be unreasonable and unfair.
  • Should the auDA Board accept the Final Report, then there will probably need to be a further working group or panel that makes implementation suggestions.

My View

I respect the process of the Names Panel; and the views of the majority.

However, I’m still against direct registrations. My reasons have already been well documented on Domainer; and I will continue to publicly and privately advocate against the need for them.

I am definitely in favour of opening up the .au space to Australian individuals that may not have an ABN. That can still be done without the need for direct registrations.

I’m also disappointed that the auDA did not find ways to engage many more registrants in this process.

For such a profound change to the .au domain space, I believe more effort should have been made to contact small businesses and “Mum and Dad” registrants.

My comments were noted; and I believe the auDA will find a better way to address this situation in future.

For what it is worth, my recommendation is that there is still time to do this before such a major change is finally determined.


Whatever happens, I don’t believe anything will happen too quickly. Even if direct registrations were ultimately agreed to, then the chances of it happening before 2017 would be remote.

So carry on regardless! And  remember, is king!

Worrying 1


11 thoughts on “Names Panel Is Over

  • November 16, 2015 at 5:11 pm

    Thanks for the update Ned. It is interesting that Brett Fenton has said publicly that he doesn’t see the auDA board approving .au, despite its recommendation by the panel. Things get very dicey when you mess with the speeds, and I don’t think auDA wants a class action spearheaded by CarSales, REA or someone else. Litigation financiers make it all too easy these days..

    • November 16, 2015 at 9:08 pm

      Paul, I think there is a long, long way to go in this process. You have to remember that Nominet had three goes at getting .uk up and running – and their versions one and two were simply unacceptable to the majority owners of .uk domains (represented by the approximately 93% of registrants who had People power ultimately changed perceptions.

      • November 17, 2015 at 12:38 am

        Yes, it would be a long, long way to go if .au WERE approved by auDA this time around. However it has been rejected by the auDA board twice in times past. Today the namespace is larger and even more important, so unless auDA directorship has changed significantly, I, like Brett Fenton, don’t see this getting through.

        The .uk stats are interesting. In Australia, I’ve heard it said that only 6% of name holders don’t have the corresponding (Very similar). So if .au WERE to proceed the implementation process would almost assuredly follow the .uk model and holders would have first rights to .au. This is good news, as the .uk results to date are pitiful (reflecting lack of interest in having a pure ‘.uk’ address) -only 4.25% of holders have bothered registering the ‘.uk’ equivalent in the 17 months that have lapsed since its inception.

  • November 16, 2015 at 10:41 pm

    I think you’re a great representative for the Australian domainer community. I constantly find my views are similar to your own and glad you’re out there batting for us.

  • November 16, 2015 at 10:55 pm


    Fellow domainer here. You are completely wasting your time with (or .au, for that matter) and should simply go with the global gold standard, .com

    • November 17, 2015 at 6:01 am

      At least you didn’t suggest any of the new gTLD’s. 😉

      As the saying goes, “when in Rome …”

    • November 17, 2015 at 7:55 am

      ‘Domainer’, please save your funnies for Friday. Or go for a drive, catch a train or turn on the TV or radio. “” is King in Australia. Visit for examples.

      • November 17, 2015 at 8:09 am

        @ Richard – totally agree that is King in Australia.

        And just for clarification, that comment by “Domainer” is not me (Ned)! Someone from Florida according to the IP address.

        But it’s great that he / she showed an interest in posting. 🙂

  • November 17, 2015 at 5:28 am

    Average man in the street has no clue this is going on. Shame on auDA for not spending some of their massive fortune on reaching out to all registrants. How hard would that be?

    • November 17, 2015 at 6:09 am

      @Cliffie – I totally concur.

      As I alluded, I think you will find that auDA will now look for a better way to engage more people. Some suggestions being bandied around are to use a market research company to properly poll a wide cross-section of registrants. I would support that idea.

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