Last 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. Domainer.au rather than Domainer.com.au.
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.
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, com.au is king!